Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

{Compact with a Brutish Streak} {with Brutish Attitude}; You Could Almost Rip Up the Road with This Firm, Thrifty and Seriously Cool Little Beemer Beast

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

{Compact with a Brutish Streak} {with Brutish Attitude}; You Could Almost Rip Up the Road with This Firm, Thrifty and Seriously Cool Little Beemer Beast

Article excerpt

EVER wondered just how far diesel power has come in recent years?

Stand next to the BMW 330d while the oil-burner is launched. Or go one better, step into the driver's seat and squeeze the accelerator. Both will leave you impressed and smiling.

The Bavarian car maker has been a trail-blazer with diesel technology over the past decade, and this barnstorming compact saloon is a tribute to BMW's "high-performance, low consumption and low emissions" philosophy.

It's the first 3 Series sedan offered Down Under with a straight-six diesel engine - delivering more torque than the hallow M3 while sipping less fuel than the majority of four-pot petrols getting around.

And that fuel frugality helps with the bottom line too.

Courtesy of the government's green vehicle concessions, you don't pay as much luxury car tax.

The 330d is cheaper than the top-spec Mercedes-Benz equivalent, but still a high-end offering at $87,250 before on roads.

Comfort

Run-flat, low-profile tyres make for a firm and sometimes uncompromising ride. There is also some tyre noise on the highway, but that is about the only complaint in a cabin which is predictably well built and comfortable.

The console layout is simple yet effective and the improved iDrive system is easy to operate.

Navigating your way through the computer system can be done quickly without causing stress.

Both front seats have electric adjustment, while the steering wheel has rake and reach adjustment to enable drivers of all shapes and sizes to find a good position. It's called a compact sedan for a reason, and the back seat can be squeezy for tall adults or if you are packing in a trio.

On the road

The benchmark in this category for years, BMW has shoehorned the big straight-six into the compact shell and this thing hammers.

You feel the bumps and lumps, yet there is a positive side - grip.

The chassis is brilliant, and when combined with hulking torque and ample power it produced one little brute of a performer. Under the skin is an all-aluminium, high output, turbocharged 180kW engine that has an amazing 520Nm of pulling power. That peak torque is available low in the rev range and you just about rip up the bitumen when you put it to the test.

Stability control is among the standard features and steps in if things get too hairy on the bends. You only really know it's working when the yellow signal flashes on the dash. The brakes feel pretty good too, courtesy of vented single piston floating calliper discs.

Steering feel is brilliant, especially when you're working the car hard, although our test machine had a tendency to feel heavy at slow speeds and especially while parking.

What do you get?

BMW has made no secret of the fact this is the most specified diesel 3 Series ever offered in Australia. …

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