Thursday, May 17, 2012

Car review: BMW 318d Touring (MY2010)

Car: BMW 318d Touring (MY2010)
Engine: 2.0 Liter R4 Diesel engine
Exterior: Titansilver Metallic
Interior: Leather Dakota Black; Interior trim Black high-gloss
Optional equipment: Steptronic automatic transmission (6-speed), 16-inch alloy wheels styling 283, Xenon headlights, ParkDistanceControl front and rear, Panoramic sunroof, Navigation Professional with BMW Online / Assist, Bluetooth, USB-connection, Exterior lighting package, Extended luggage features, Extended storage 
Price (in 2010): €48.980,-
Performance: 143hp / 300nm - 9,7s from 0 to 100km/h
Top speed: 210km/h
Fuel consumption: 7.3l/100km (32mpg / US)
In 2008 BMW gave the 3-series, internally know as the E90 (sedan) and E91 (Touring), a facelift. LED-technology modernised the design, the front was slightly reworked, and the newest communication technology was incorporated (new SatNav Professional, BMW Assist / Online).

1. Exterior

For the car manufacturer, the facelift always poses a dilemma. On the one side, existing customers should not get the feeling to drive an outdated car, while the car needs to be updated with recent technology in order to compete with more modern cars.

When comparing the 3-series (2005) against its direct rivals, the Mercedes Benz C-class (2007) and Audi A4 (2008), it is obvious that the 3-series the oldest one is. In the then available model range (7-series E65 and 5-series E60, the previous models), the 3-series was designed in a more conservative way. However, when introducing the facelift (also known as the LCI - Life Cycle Improvement), BMW did not try to match the competition, but to surpass it.
The exterior design has lost its sharp edges as the curves have been redesigned more "smoother". Looking alongside the hood, several lines have been added to represent a more muscular design, the front spoiler also has been "smoothened" and has been integrated deeper into the design of the car. These smoother lines represent the departure of the steep curves that Chris Bangle used in the BMW-design. Unfortunately, due to EU-regulations, the sleek rear-view mirrors have been replaced with larger "elephant ears".

Apart from the aforementioned changes, LED-technology has been introduced into the front and rear indicators, the rear lights (with LEDs in the distinctive "L-shape"). In contrast to the competition that fixed LED-technology "onto" the car, BMW was able to make it an integral part of the design.

Instead of the standard rims, this BMW 318d Touring is equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels. Although the small size, the styling 283 rims still give a good impression and are able to fill out the room in the wheel arches very well.

Styling 283 16-inch alloy wheels
2. Handling & Engine

Handling of the BMW 3-series is good, the car gives the driver enough feedback to the driver in order to feel what is happening. Although the car handling is good, the ride never is too hard or uncomfortable. Therefore the BMW 3-series is an excellent car for driving long distances. When comparing the handling to the Audi A4, it is very comparable, the main advantage for the 3-series stems from the rear wheel drive.

Although the BMW 318d has 143hp, one should not expect the performance of a 6-cylinder engine. It provides adequate power for most situations, while only on the highway the performance could be better, as the diesel engine loses its momentum at higher revs.

One of the main strenghts is the fuel consumption, including fast driving segments (160km/h+) on the German Autobahn, an calculated average of 7,3l / 100km was the result. But when driving at routine speeds, the consumption may even fall below 6,0l / 100km/h without becoming an obstacle to the other traffic. Lastly it is not only the fuel consumption that matters, but also the range you have without needing to stop for refuelling. Driving for 1.000 kilometer without having to refuel should be possible, when driving on secondary roads and on the highway.

3. Interior, multimedia and communication

BMWs standard seats are a constant object of discussion. Especially taller people view them as uncomfortable, while the seats are perfectly ok for people with a regular height. The interior itself has quite a fair amount of plastic, however it does not feel cheap, compared to the plastic in different brands / lower classes (Asian cars, Opel / Peugeot etc.). In direct comparison the interior of the Audi A4 is feeling somewhat better, while the Mercedes Benz C-class has risen to the same level after introducing the facelift in 2011. But the interior clearly represents the previous generation of BMWs, that now has been replaced with a new interior design. On the high gloss black interior trim dust and scratches are easily seen, therefore the aluminium trim might be a better option when selecting a dark upholstery.

Another excellent feature is the panoramic sunroof, both closed and opened it is a great additional feature to the car. Because of its sheer size, the car interior receives a lot more daylight, giving the impression of a more "open" and "larger" interior. But when opened the roof is only useful on secondary roads and in the city, as on the highway too much wind noise develops.

Combined with the facelift, the BMW 3-series also received an updated navigation system professional with an internal hard disk. It is the same that has been introduced in the new BMW 7-series F01 / F02 (in late 2008), with not only an upgrade regarding the iDrive-controller but also the software and interface of the system itself.

One new feature it the possibility to show the map with a satellite view
Together with the new navigation system Professional, BMW also introduced "BMW Online" for the 3-series. This gives the driver access to a wealth of online information, ranging from the weather to the new. As can be seen in the video below, the new also can be red to the driver in order to keep the focus on the road.

One point of bother is the placement of the USB-connection inside the armrest. As can be seen on the picture below, it causes an USB-stick to be placed vertically, therefore it is unable to close the armrest. You either need to have an extra USB-cable in order to let the device rest horizontally, or keep the armrest open.

4. Final thougths

The 2010 BMW 318d Touring LCI is a very good car, there are no major points of bother. The facelifted design, the modern navigation system Professional that included BMW Online / Assist and connecting the car to a large amount of information, the economical engine, the BMW 318d is even after having been on the market for 7 years a remarkable good car. Only a few minor details tell its age, while it still is not less then the current competition (Audi A4, Mercedes Benz C-class).

Although it has a steep price of almost €50.000 new (including the options this car has), you still should be able to get good discounts on a new E91, as its successor is only a few months away from introduction. If receiving a good discount, the BMW 3-series E91 is still a very good car that gives excellent value for money.

5. Videos & Pictures

More pictures of this BMW 318d and other 3-series can be found here: BMW 3-series LCI E90 / E91

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I bought one, a 4Y old 318dA
with goodies,



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