05 November 2012 by Paul Clarke
Green Car Guide is always looking for the seemingly impossible – a car that combines efficiency, performance and a great driving experience – all in a practical package. So we’ve got a BMW 330d Touring for six weeks to see if it can claim to be the only car that you ever need.
Findings after week 1
The 330d Touring arrived. It’s in ‘Luxury’ spec, and in black. Compared to the previous-generation Touring in M Sport spec, it looks very understated.
On starting up the engine, a main reason for wanting to live with this car for six weeks is revealed: the soundtrack from the 6-cylinder, 3-litre unit promises a very different driving experience compared to most ‘green’ cars.
Some of the vital statistics of the 330d Touring are as follows:
a whopping 560 Nm torque, resulting in a 0-62mph time of just 5.6 seconds.
On paper this is a pretty amazing combination – will the car live up to what these figures promise in real life?
After driving for only a short distance it’s clear that this is a very well sorted chassis . Rear-wheel drive, steering with great feel, and the responsive powertrain combine to provide a driving experience that keen drivers will be delighted with.
But there’s more good news. A key area where this new 3 Series is improved over the previous-generation model is ride quality . The 330d Touring rides like a 5 Series, easily absorbing all but the most extreme of road surfaces in its stride.
The 330d comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. You can leave it in auto mode, or change manually using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. The new transmission is an important factor in the 135g/km CO2 emissions of this new 330d being substantially lower than the 165g/km figure of the previous model.
You’ve also got four driving modes: ECO PRO , which tunes the car for maximum economy; Comfort , which is the standard setting; Sport , which provides sharper responses; and Sport+ , which allows a greater degree of slip from the rear wheels.
Already it’s obvious that these driving modes make a lot of sense, as they provide you with everything you need. Our first stretch of driving on the way to North Wales, in ECO PRO mode, resulted in economy of 46mpg.
Switching to Comfort mode, throttle response is quicker than in ECO PRO mode. Selecting Sport mode turns the 330d driving experience into something more akin to that of BMW’s M range. Sport+ gives keen drivers the opportunity to really enjoy the handling of the 3 Series, allowing well-controlled adjustability of the car through corners on the throttle. The combination of this rear-wheel drive handling, the car’s engine note, and potential 40mpg plus economy is already looking like a winning combination.
It should be noted that this test car has Adaptive M Sport Suspension, a £750 option. After one week with the 330d, this seems to be an item of equipment that’s worthwhile selecting. This press car also comes with a somewhat long list of other options, adding a substantial amount to the car’s basic price of £36,300, but more of that over the coming weeks
So, after one week, the BMW 330d is turning out to be a very comfortable means of transport, with M3-like driving thrills on offer if you feel that way inclined. But what about real-life economy? Check back in one week’s time to find out more
Other BMW Reviews >>