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This would be more of between the 316i and the 320d, with the 320d being the one I went for in the end, but for the most part they apply for both.
Design wise, I have to say it is probably one of the best looking 3 series yet. Daring yet not overdone, sharp yet not too dramatic, the 3 series is like a tailored suit from Saville Row. There's really no angle that puts the car in bad light, visually. The predator like front is very nice at night, and so are the LED light bars in the rear. In comparison to the Audi A4 (which I did have), the F30 looked better IMO, even in comparison to the new A4 coming soon. Personally, the car looks best in Sport or M Sport line, not so in the Luxury line.
Driving experience is something you'd expect from a BMW, and boy does it not disappoint. From the time you set off to the time you arrive at your destination, the 320d really feels pretty much perfect. Steering feel is good compared to the A4, though between the 320d and the 316i itself, I did find the 320d had a better feel to it. On the M Sport 320d, the M steering wheel completes the whole car really. The paddle shifters are a nice touch too, and while the transmission is very smart, having the paddle shifters there is just nicer.
In terms of powertrain, the 320d didn't disappoint. Not only is it efficient on long distance runs, it is very responsive in town as well. There is no turbo lag (not noticeable) unlike other diesel cars, and it is very refined all the way to the top of the rev band. The Sport Auto in the M Sport also is a nice to have, and gives almost DSG like shifts without the low speed judder of a DSG. Not to mention, in terms of reliability, so far I have yet to have any issues.
Overall practicality and comfort is pretty good for the F30 I would say. The boot itself is large enough though the lack of split folding seats is something to consider. Honestly I have never used split folding seats in the sedans that I have had so this wasn't a deal breaker. There is reasonable amount of space and the glove box is a decent size. I wouldn't say the cabin is huge, but it is pretty class competitive compared to the A4.
Visibility wise, the F30 scores really well with good sized windows. While a reverse camera is an option, I honestly don't miss it one bit as the car itself is very easy to park and manoeuvre anyway. You do get parking sensors all around, which is really all you need.
The 3 series lineup actually does have pretty good value, especially with the 5 year warranty/5 year service which is not offered by any of the other German marques. Also considering dealer promotions, you can get a good deal indeed. I personally have not had any issue with dealing with my dealer (Wheelcorp/Ingress), though I have not had pleasant experiences in the larger ones.
Specifically on the 316i, the lack of power is noticeable. When you pull away and merge, you are reminded you bought the smaller engined 3 series. Not too big of an issue if you are coming from say a Jetta or Civic, but from another BMW product, yes, you can feel it. You need to rev the engine a bit to get moving. The steering and suspension too is very comfort biased on the 316i, giving it a bit of an odd feel.
Noise insulation is honestly subpar. In comparison to the rest of the BMW family like the 5 series, the 3 series feels quite noisy honestly. The diesel clatter too can be a bit odd.
Equipment wise, on the 320d there are 2 issues, one being no adaptive suspension on 320d M Sport compared to the 328i - a shame as for me the whole point of the M Sport is to have the adaptive suspension. There is no iDrive Pro with Nav unlike on the 328i as well, which is a weird oddity considering the price point. Understandable for the 316i since it is the base car, but for the 320d M Sport, not so.
The lack of lumbar support is also a bit of an issue in general, especially paired with the average seats in the 316i. In long drives, it can get a bit annoying.
There is another problem, the interior leader, the Merc C class exists. The C Class has a lot of showroom appeal with it's looks and interior, which feel like 2 classes above compared to the F30. While the C Class is forgettable in the driving department (slow transmission), the gap between the F30 and C class interior is a bit wide. The leather used is also really disappointing, but that is sadly now a norm for BMW.
Interior quality could be improved, with better fit and finish and better quality materials.
Suspension could be improved for rebound and noise insulation should be improved as well.
Also, probably introduce some new features like Blind Spot Assist and Adaptive Cruise as well, as this would set the F30 apart from it's peers.
good fuel efficiency
engine is very willing to rev even though it's a 1.6L turbo
handling is superb
very quite cabin, NVH not felt even at 140km/h
my car has no knocking or any funny sound at all, though some 3 series owners experienced it (probably I'm lucky).
auto off engine on traffic light or traffic jam (but you can switch it off)
if reverse camera is standard, it'll be much better
The F30 328i is simply a driver's car. The raw power of the 245HP (and 350Nm torque) powertrain provides an incredible spirited driving experience. Of course, you will not have the luxury of having the road all to yourself, and knowing the daily driving situation in KL, there's bound to be traffic lights, traffic congestion, or just plain being stuck behind a Sunday driver. For this, switching to ECO PRO mode programs the drivetrain to downtune and try to keep the RPM below the 2,000 mark. I managed a neat personal record of 860KM on one full tank of RON95 petrol (mostly highway). Most cars have different driving modes but rarely used because of the indifferent feeling of different modes, but the driving modes (ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+) in the F30 are practical, and I can safely say I play around with it as the mood hits.
The F30 is also very grounded around corners. The rear-wheel drive F30 is weight balanced, so you always feel in control when attacking corners at moderately high speed. Again, when switching to Sport mode, the suspension stiffens further so that there's not so much roll, and the car becomes more responsive. Simply fun!
The run flat tyres eliminate the need of having a spare tyre. I actually had a puncture once while driving, but I did not panic, and had full control of maneuvering the vehicle. Of course, the tyres are pricey, but I feel safer with them.
This is the biggest 3er ever produced. Leg room is sufficient for a small sedan, trunk space is adequate for one full sized golf bag placed horizontally (with additional space around the golf bag).
The interior finishing is plain and simple. Some people see this as a negative, but I'm a practical minimalist, so it works out for me. Compartments are exactly where they would conveniently be.
I also like the fact that we're moving away from bulky 6-CD changers. The F30 has an internal Hard drive for you to store music files to play on the go. The single CD player can convert CDs into the MP3 format and store them directly in the hard drive. Another nifty feature is the ability to play DVDs as well.
With the good, comes the "not-so-good". The first pain point is knowing that this SKD (Semi-Knocked-Down) unit from Kulim has a lot of nifty features taken out for the sake of cutting costs. Comparing with a 328i in other countries, owners of this locally assembled car will not be able to enjoy HUD, Adaptive Lighting, Keyless Entry, Lane Departure warnings, Harmon Kardon sound system, and quite a number of other features. The embarrassing thing is that the Korean manufacturers have made some of these features mainstream. Boo!
For the advertised price, there are "quality" issues which you may not expect in a BMW. Squeeky doors are common, dislodged rear headlights, knocking caused by faulty steering racks, occasional "chirping" sounds coming from the A/C. Mostly small issues that present themselves as annoyances, rather than real problems. If you're not picky, then forget about this point. What really gets me is the arm rest compartment. The armrest is held by a plastic clip. Think of it as a gigantic tic-tac box. Yup, no spring, no soft close. Only a matter of time before the clip breaks, or it becomes annoyingly loose.
Lack of storage space. In the front center is where the cupholders are. Yes, that's more or less all you get to keep keys, coins, your mobile phone. If you actually have a drink, you'd have to clear the cupholders to fit your cup. Ridiculous. Of course, there's the arm rest compartment, but unless you have good flexibility, lifting it up is a chore because of the longish shape of the arm rest. I try not to keep items i use all the time like the smart tag, because of my fear of breaking the clip that i mentioned before.
iOS integration. An advantage if you're a hardcore Apple fan, not so hot if you're using Android devices.
Unreliable, outdated, unintelligent Navigation. There's no live traffic information, an alternative route that takes you to Holland, inaccurate search capabilities. I guess if you're a Wazer, you will be disappointed and end up not using the GPS navigation.
Intentional or unintentional, there's a feature called ASS, which stands for the Automatic Start/Stop system. It suspends your engine (and cuts the fuel) when you're at a traffic light, or simply at a stop-and-go traffic jam. Sounds cool, but when this happens, the car's electronics (radio, A/C) fully runs on battery power. The A/C reduces in airflow in order for the car to "balance" the power to the rest of the electronics. I guess this feature makes sense to save fuel, but in this country's hot and humid nature, it doesn't give too many benefits. Although there's a button to deactivate this nonsensical feature, it's always on by default. No thank you, I will just forgo the fuel savings.
I'm a tech junkie, so I would very much like to see more integration with Android devices. Even with the iOS integration, there's still a lot more that can be done like the concept of "mirroring" your phone interface so that everything can be done from the car without the need to take out your mobile phone.
Call it ego, but it's not acceptable that mainstream features like keyless entry is not a standard offering. My perception of BMW and other similar marques is that the technology and features should always be state-of-the-art, and not the opposite in the name of cutting costs.
-Straight line accelaration
-Great fun to drive when pushed
-traction control works well and doesn't interrupt too much
-very easy to use idrive
-easily goes past 200 km/h
-very fuel efficient (have done 700+ km in one tank)
-black oil can be checked through the idrive
-plenty of storage spaces
-there are 2 choices of interior lighting (in idrive settings)
-gets noisy in bumps
-ride is quite bumpy
-suspension a little soft
-only 6 speakers
-bass can only be felt in rear seats
-run flat tyres are too hard
-ugly engine noise
-ugly rim design (for 238800, i expect better)
-weak rear air-cond (barely anything can be felt)
-rear seats are a little upright and hard
-rear seats cannot be folded down
-include better speakers
-a longer warranty and BSRI would be great
-improve cabin insulation
-add an alarm system
-include rear view camera
-get a proper keyless entry system
-lower the front parking sensors (like the audi a4) so parking would be easier
-include a spare tyre
I love the straight line acceleration
Pricing wise its affordable against competition
Warranty period is only 2 years.
my suspensions has failed once in 2 years
my tyres were delivered with a buldge (defect)
my steering make knocking noises
my suspension makes thumping sounds
poor sound system for price
handling not as good as E90
steering too light at speed.
increase warranty to 3 or 4 years (Merc is here already)
Provide optional Harmon Kardon for 3 series
Improve soundproofing. my friend's Lexus IS250 is way way way quieter.
Improve handling, seems to be playing catch up now that competition has caught up.
1) iDrive interface is clear, bi, functional
2) Reasonably ok on high speed on dry
3) Looks dynamic and sporty
1) Cabin wind noise
2) Grip and confidence when wet
3) Not as well planted compared to AWD sedans
4) Creaking noise around the cabin
5) Very bad brake modulation
6) Sluggish respond in Comfort/Normal mode.
1) Better brake system
2) Scrap the run flats
3) Better interior build
It's a beast when I need the power and it's a little puppy when I need some calm and quiet driving.
Throw it into a corner and all you find is grip grip and more grip
Front seats well contoured for the driver
Top end power and torque is delivered effortlessly (160kph+)
Rear seats are a bit upright and not terribly comfortable for long journeys
Road & Wind noise creeps in at 140kph+ and gets really loud at 170kph+ (perhaps quieter tyres could help)
Slight hint of turbo lag at times during rapid acceleration at low speeds
Cabin storage bins can be better laid out, do away with the glove box phone snap-in accessory (no one uses that ever!)
Rear seats could do with a more comfortable seating position
- Stylish and elegant look
- Good fuel consumption without sacrificing the driving power
- Rear boot lid loosen within one month of driving
- Wind noise
- Unlike the BMW sold in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the CJK (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) characters are not supported. I have no idea what is the song I'm playing although I'm having tons of MP3 in CJK file names
- Two years manufacturer warranty
- Substandard BMW Professional Stereo
- To be on par with Mercedes Benz by having at least four years manufacturer warranty
- Better QA
- Wind noise reduction
- True BMW Professional Stereo
- CJK (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) characters supported
It's great value for money. you really get a quality car for the amount you are paying.
Handling is superb. Gear changes are as smooth as it gets.
Interior space is beyond your wildest imaginations
The suspension is a little bit on the hard side even on comfort mode. This leads to the ride being a little harsh over bumps. Other small niggles include the wipers which does not have an intermittent speed range and the automatic sensors are not sensitive enough in my opinion.
Fix the cons and we should be looking at a perfect car given its price.
- Power is there when needed.
- Corners very well.
- A comfortable long journey cruiser as the ride is not hard.
- Good fuel saver for a rather sporty sedan (can go up to 650km on one full tank)
- 2 years warranty (shortest in today's market)
- 3 years BSRI is complete rip-off (free every 30k km only)
- Quality control over CKD products
- Constant squeaks in cabin even after rectify, again & again.
- On 320i standard Bridgestone's tyres, it can get really slippery when wet.
- Better service rep. especially at some of your service centre.
- Have all the common parts problem ready, no need to wait delivery from Germany.
- Transparency when it comes to part changes, sometime I don't know if the part is changed for real or just on paper.
- Be clearer about your 3 years free BSRI, as I was shocked that you only get 2 free services for that duration. Every 30k km in this weather? You gotta be joking!
Although the 316i only has a 1.6l turbo engine, it doesn't feel slow at all and the handling prowess of a BMW is evident in this model even at high speeds or twisty corners.
CKD quality is poor and is plagued with interior noise the day you get the car. At this price range one would expect to have comfort access/keyless entry, some form of build in navigation, reverse camera and a decent sound system.
The NVH of this car is also poor, even at 100kmh you can start to hear the wind noise coming from the side mirrors and the engine and road noise seeps into the interior too.
After sales service isn't always professional nor are they competent enough to troubleshoot the car which in return waste's the owner's time to keep bringing it in for troubleshooting no thanks to poor QA/QC when the car left the factory.
BMW Malaysia will need to improve its QA/QC techniques in the factory and the standard 2 year warranty is too short compared to its main rivals.
The after sales experience isn't that great either with many of them do not have sufficient experience to solve issues with my car. I have to waste time and pay them multiple visits to rectify issues and most often, the issues still persists.
No, I would not recommend this car
Date Reviewed 21 May 2014
Ride & Handling
Bought new, Owned for 1 Year
Fuel Economy: 7.5 km/litre (13.3 L/100 km), RON95
Great car to drive,especially on sports mode. Manage to save about 15km on eco mode. Well worth the price if composted to Japanese made. 2 memory seat which is very useful if sharing with wife.
ICE file arrangement is by alphabetically order. Can't change to recently modified. Korean word not readable. Dashboard a bit plasticky. The icontrol is of spec if compared to more expensive model. IPhone charger not practical in the glove compartment. Shallow compartment in the middle. Currently limitedcolors to choose from. No silver or white.
Well balance chassis as the same as any other BMW, so you have confident during any cornering maneuver. Excellent Fuel Economy with average of 7.2l/100km combine - mostly Urban, while on the highway is possible to actually achieve the 4.5l/100km. Generous amount of cabin space and boot space making it the perfect family car.
Diesel engine clatter noise could actually be heard from the cabin during warm up. Can't feel that in a 520d, meaning the NVH done on this 3 series is less. Start Stop function doesn't work that well with vibration feels quite bad during the re-start of the engine. In Malaysia, I think this function is pretty useless especially in a bad traffic condition in KL.
Steering rack has been an issue that has not been resolve. This happen to majority of the 3 series on the road right now. The damper rate could be adjusted to avoid the car bouncing especially during a hard cornering on an uneven road.
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