DTW is underwhelmed by the overwhelming.
I was recently treated to a lift in my boss’s 15-plate (actually, he has a personal plate on it), 335d X-Drive Touring (car model names are so stressful and exhausting these days), which he has had “chipped” by DMS to deliver an unfathomable amount of BHP and torque.
To be too honest, I had long had the green-eyed monster over this car. In saloon form, or, moreover, the Gran Coupe mode, this really is my kind of car. I can even claim to being to blame for the man buying the thing in the first place, as I put him onto the benefits of driving discrete, powerful, AWD saloons – my Legacy (sic) Spec-B of 2006 (why did I sell that car?) – at a time when he was largessing it in an AM V8 Vantage (‘chipped, of course). The in-line-six, 3-litre, twin turbo-diesel is legend, and the 3 Series is THE sports saloon/ estate is it not? And AWD … so helpful to keep everything on all-fours on the mud/ ice/ dust caked roads of rural Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. No?
Well, yes, absolutely, but it was a strangely “Lego Movie” experience for me: very clever, great quality production values, but I was unmoved and left detachedly disappointed. From the front passenger seat, I thought there was a lot of road noise, the seat seemed small and the interior un-special – nice quality, functional, just a tad dull. The infotainment is a thing of wonder, and the auto-cruise control very impressive, and the ride was better than I expected in Comfort mode, but the engine made an industrial (not symphonic – even for a diesel) noise for all its power. The thing pulls like a train, but it’s a bit anodyne.
I’m being a bit hard, right? It’s a crushingly competent car with stunning performance and still excellent economy (45 MPG on average, says the Boss), but, I walked away pretty unmoved. Maybe I had just built it up too much in my head – I was expecting some other-worldly experience? – but I came away thinking it was not worth the premium over a lower-spec’d car; yes, maybe that’s what left me a little gutted.
So for all of you out there who, like me, have made the choice not to partake of the BMW 335d X-Drive Touring, you can now rest easy, you’re not missing out on that much.
I wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2016.