Date Weekend with a BMW 320i

April 15th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

By David’s Flatmate

People ask me where are you living these days. Well, due to Heidi Klum not returning any of my many emails, txt’s or skype calls I’ve ended up with David Farrar as my flatmate. Shoot for the ground and you can’t miss I say.

Now, evidently he has a little known/read blog which I think is called “Kiwioil Meathead Captured Cooked”…I’m not too sure as I tend to engross myself in the IRD’s Blog titled “How much do I owe in Child-support to my numerous ex -wives”.

Anyway, I digress. So David’s my flatmate, and flatting with him is like living with a born again Richard Simmons. I’ve known him for well over 20 years and seeing him turn into a Health food zealot often borders on Monty Python-esque humour.

In fact, a typical evening’s conversation from David goes along the lines of….”Hey did you know I ran 673 kms at the Gym, came home, devoured a brussel-sprout and am thinking now I’m thin and skinny I’ll get married”.

Too funny right! I know, but pretend I’m laughing at Southpark which is the only television programme we watch…..he’s none the wiser…… poor man.

So, last Friday night he actually surprised me, I was expecting the normal… “G’day, today I ran 49 billion kms, ate a single uncooked grain of brown rice and am thinking of walking to Antarctica this weekend”…Instead he said “Come look at this I need you to write up a Car Report for me….. have given me this white car and you know a bit about cars, so take it for a drive and write the report.

I said…. “Dave, I’m a good looking guy, I’m single and it’s Friday night…I have options”……He pointed out that I’m an Orang-utan with many ex-wives and that a white BMW was about as lucky as I was going to get on any night.

So, like the cool young hip things we are, we jumped into the latest BMW 320i and went Friday night cruising in Wellington.

BMW0003

Dave’s driving, and it seems an opportune time to begin the review.

Ok, so this is where we review of the bad stuff first. Like any good motoring journalist you have to put the ‘boot’ (cleverly hidden car pun right there) in somewhere. And as we are both nowhere near ever becoming motoring journalists I think it’s best to get the negatives out the way first.

The first major drawback of the car is that it’s a 320i. And this was compounded by the fact that it had the 320i badge on the back. Sure, it’s true, Dave and I have no shame, but seriously Mr BMW person, you could have saved our dignity and given us something with a big donkey in it. The one saving grace is that it has tinted windows, so we didn’t lose our cool.

Then there is the English lady who was on the Sat Nav. It was like listening to my English mother…she kept mispronouncing Wellington Place Names. So that was worth a laugh. However I don’t blame BMW about that, because after all this really is a Remuera car, and I’m sure the English voice settings are perfect in its natural environment……probably something like…..“Benson Road Cafe, 20 metres, and you have reached your gorgeous trophy wife”. I sooooo miss Auckland.

The next major drawback was that the stereo immediately picked up David’s iPhone song list……. Turn on the car and being accosted by Sonny and Cher’s – You got me Babe was a low moment. BMW, there are apps to jam both Sonny and Cher and the Carpenters.

It gets worse…..seriously.

So Dave’s driving the car right, and he’s trying to sound like he knows what he is talking about.

This is a verbatim record of his observations about BMW’s most popular car; “Fuck, it’s got bright indicators”. “The Brakes work”. “It turns tight“. “It goes fast”. “I like this car”.

So, those were the low points of the drive.

Now for the good bits of the 320i. We know Mr BMW is hanging on our every word so as to use one of our quotes in their next NBR advert.

I take over the driving from David. NB: I will declare my interest in BMW’s…I love them, having owned three in the past.

BMW0002

This 320i really is a great car to drive. I it just feels at home on the road and nothing phased it at all. We didn’t even bother looking at the instruction manual – mainly because we know that Whale’s a big follower of this blog and would take our man cards off us if we even knew where the instruction manual was.

On the Sunday, we headed off to Petone foreshore to kayak over to Soames Island. However, we get there and it’s cutting up rough…southerly, rain, freezing…a typical Wellington summer day…and we were trash talking how we will make it to the Island.

In between the trash talking I was playing with the entertainment system, audio and sat nav etc. It is easy to use and very intuitive! We even changed the clock settings due to Daylight savings giving me an extra hour in bed. So, all the crap that Jeremy Clarkson goes on about not being able to work BMW’s thingamabob icontrol button system, seems to be nothing more than that of a man clinging tightly to his iPhone 4s and not embracing new technology.

Ok, so it’s blowing a Southerly, the trash talk is getting up there, then Mr Kayak man turns up.

We get out of the snug Beeeemer and are ready to go!

“Ah…sorry, it’s too rough for you to go out there”. Said the Kayak delivery man. Farrar sold out and was back in the car ready to go home. I pushed a little harder and explored the options. The response from the kayak man was soul destroying and a salutatory lesson in listening to the experts…..”Listen, I would go out there but I’m a pro, you aren’t and I kinda like my kayaks”.

So, back into the car and off to Days Bay in Eastbourne in atrocious weather.

BMW0001

Driving round to Eastbourne in a Southerly is a real test of any driver’s mettle, the car feels solid on the road, and the pounding rain doesn’t phase the car.

After a quick café stop, where David said to the waitress…”Hold the ice, I don’t eat solids” …seriously, I don’t make this stuff up….. we went off driving.

And the driving part is actually fun in this car. The 320i doesn’t feel like its underpowered or lacking in get up and go -I was genuinely surprised. We headed up into the twisting hills of Khannndaaalaaaah….as our Sat Nav woman pronounced it and this car just felt a delight to drive.

Another thing, when driving was that everything felt familiar in the car. As I said, I’ve owned 3 BMW’s and when I jumped in it seemed so easy to know where things are. So anyone who has owned a BMW in the past will quite happily feel at ease in this cockpit. Can I say cockpit? Oh, yeah I can, because I’m not a real journalist and this is a little read blog.

Now, I know that all 2 readers of this blog want to know the more ‘grunty’ stuff about the car…or techy bits. So, for all you detail nerds out there, here are some of the more technical aspects:

  • Engine stuff…have no idea, we didn’t bother lifting the bonnet, but it goes well and sounds quiet.
  • Fuel consumption was care of BMW’s fuel card, so it was fucking fantastic!
  • Co2 emissions ….not sure as we never ever looked in the rear-view mirror.
  • The boot looks like a boot. Dark, uninteresting and no doubt can hold 400 litres of whatever they measure boot space with.
  • Full or space saver spare tyre? LOL, like who cares.  The last time I got a flat tyre was when I was rally driving dad’s Mark 5 Ford Cortina Sport on Waikato Roads.
  • Reverse camera with guidelines and even radar……shows just how close you really are.
  • Lots of leg room behind David when he’s driving.
  • And of course the most important thing that us motoring journalists focus on “Is the car value for money”. I’m of the opinion that if you can afford this car brand-new, then you have a sound grasp of the value of money.

So, Mr BMW, thank you for lending us the latest BMW 320i to test drive.

And judging from the feedback, all 2 out of 2 Kiwioil Blog readers agree this is a great car.

Anyone who wants to read more about the 320i, and I have no idea why, because I’ve said it all and more…here is the link to the official website:

http://www.bmw.co.nz/com/en/newvehicles/3series/sedan/2011/showroom/introduction.html

No doubt will be full of boring advertising speak like…”So you’ve finally made it, why not go the extra step and really finally make it by driving a BMW, you deserve the best, no seriously you do, because you have finally made it…now punch the air”.

So that’s the review, and while having to hand back a cool car, I begin to doubt myself and think I haven’t finally made it, but my melancholy is rapidly replaced as I walk back into the flat and see the child-like delight on David’s face as he beams proudly;

“Hey, did you know that each individual pea is less than a calorie?”

I think how can life not be great!

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31 Responses to “Date Weekend with a BMW 320i”

  1. GPT1 (2,042 comments) says:

    This is a verbatim record of his observations about BMW’s most popular car; “Fuck, it’s got bright indicators”. “The Brakes work”. “It turns tight“. “It goes fast”. “I like this car”.
    Brilliant. My interest in cars is about as quality as David’s driving but I enjoyed that.

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  2. Judith (5,660 comments) says:

    Hey, I was overtaken by a car exactly the same on Bowen Street this afternoon. Same colour and everything, had a red flag on top which said Labour. Was that you DPF?

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  3. Judith (5,660 comments) says:

    Oh yeah, and DPF’s flatmate – please know you are doing the world a wonderful favour. You will of course like most heroes, be recognised for this after you are dead.

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  4. Cactus Kate (538 comments) says:

    If the review wasn’t so funny I would be abusing you by pointing out its a 2 litre car. That’s what the 2 stands for. Ok for a Mazda or a Ford but a disgrace for a BMW.
    It’s not even fit to be a hairdressers car.
    You wouldn’t pick up a bloke in that car, let alone a chick.

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  5. Manolo (12,616 comments) says:

    Judith, the flags are interchangeable, one and the same, these days. :D

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  6. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Nice technical review.
    Overtones of fugitives from a deep fried moro bar binge eating session.
    One question. How does it compare with the 135i on handling? Convertible vs the Sedan.

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  7. brucehoult (185 comments) says:

    Just a minor sour note in an otherwise excellent review of a hairdresser’s car, but it’s “faze”. Thank you.

    If anyone out there actually has one — or even worse a 316 — and wants to tart it up it no end, I can sell you my “A BMW” plate for a nominal five figure sum.

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  8. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    A 320i doesn’t have enough donk to pull the tail off a chocolate fish.

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  9. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    Cactus is right, a couple of blouses drove a girls car…and a 320i at that.

    Now if it was an M3 you might be getting there, but blokes should really only look at 5 series (poor man’s 7 series) or the 7 series.

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  10. gump (1,228 comments) says:

    That’s a lot of money for the little badge on the front. The funniest line in the review was:

    “And of course the most important thing that us motoring journalists focus on “Is the car value for money”. I’m of the opinion that if you can afford this car brand-new, then you have a sound grasp of the value of money.”

    Because anyone with a “sound grasp of the value of money” wouldn’t contemplate buying this car.

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  11. iMP (2,147 comments) says:

    OMGosh, Top Gear in Wellington. Hilarious. Which one is the wee smiley guy who crashes?

    Arranging a new car for Domestic Goddess at mo. Her first quip about an option I’d saved on TradeMe, “Ooo, Is it pretty?”

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  12. Elaycee (4,059 comments) says:

    Jeez DPF… You’ve gone from reviewing the outstanding X5 (in Queenstown), to getting the flatmate write something about a 320i during a weekend drive to Eastbourne. [gulp]

    What on earth did you do to the good folk at BMW NZ? 8O

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  13. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    :-) Gave me a LOL or two. Excellent!

    Pity it hasn’t got a proper manual gearbox to enable you to wring that beautiful little engine out to the top (although I understand BMW automatics are a lot better at deducing when you want revs than most other autos.)

    If you can’t extract a reasonable bit of performance out of a 2 litre engine in a small-ish car then you aren’t much of a driver and probably should curb your comments on good cars like BMWs, and should certainly not subject one to the misery of your ownership :-P

    TBH the only BMW I lust after is the 3.0 CSi of the 1970s, back when BMWs were still long and low and beautiful with glassy cockpits and low waistlines and proper gearboxes. Before they became aggro cars for aggro people in the 80s.

    Cactus Kate –
    If I was single I might turn for Paris Hilton driving her Lexus LF-A. But probably not for grumpy Ms Corporate who has a slightly nicer BMW than all the other BMW-driving grumpy Ms Corporates.

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  14. OTGO (457 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t pull a sailor off your sister.
    Couldn’t pull the skin of a rice pudding.

    Quotes from my old man (deceased) about cars that weren’t V8′s

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  15. Cactus Kate (538 comments) says:

    RRM – BMWs are suitable for housewives who then hand them down to their kids to learn how to drive in. If there isn’t an M on the badge it doesn’t count. And don’t lie, I suspect you would gag for Paris even if she was walking home.

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  16. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    @RRm. You gotta try the 135i if you think they don’t make ‘em like in the 70′s.
    Any car review where the only downside is, “not enough boot space”, spanks it’s competition soundly for form.
    And the only downside about housewives having access to Reamers is that it is fucking hard to get Crayola off the all leather cow interior.

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  17. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Well that will just have to remain an unknowable thing, won’t it CK?

    A grumpy old Ms Corporate once asked if she could go through ahead of me at a supermarket queue. She seemed surprised when I asked if a child was in danger, and then once her answer was “no”, told her to go fuck herself then.

    As I was loading my groceries in the boot and she came storming down the ramp to her car it all made sense. X5 3.0 litre. Juggernaut Black. Since then she’s been kinda emblematic of BMW drivers for me…

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  18. Alfred (52 comments) says:

    Must have looked like a couple of queers cruising the Courtney Place mile. Did you have the bass pumping “Jump around”?

    Would be interested in the pick-up lines used during the test, and the success rate.

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  19. WineOh (428 comments) says:

    I had the previous model 3-sedan and thought it was a great car. I did wonder whether it was supposed to be for the fairer sex when some friendly person had hung a pink novelty advertisement for a random women’s product on the wing mirror… that is until I saw there was an identical one hanging from the beaten & muddy Toyota Hilux parked next to me.

    And you don’t have to go up to the M3 before getting a fire breathing 3-er. The 335i has plenty of juice with a 3.0 turbo under the hood and goes like stink.

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  20. Elaycee (4,059 comments) says:

    Monique:

    And the only downside about housewives having access to Reamers….

    Heh… That’s too much info, Monique….. way too much! :D

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  21. Hamish MacEwan (3 comments) says:

    Faze is the ghastly American spelling.

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  22. jonno1 (76 comments) says:

    3 series? Meh. Barely 115kW and a girly car to boot (metrosexuals might be happy with it though). Might as well buy a Porsche Boxster. Stick to the 7 series.

    And yes, the word is “faze”, not “phase” (Hamish, agreed it’s an Americanism from the early 1800s, but it’s not synonymous with phase which is an entirely different word). Unless of course it’s an electric car.

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  23. Cactus Kate (538 comments) says:

    RRM – she wasn’t much of a corporate if she actually asked to go in front of you. Think about it.
    An X5 is a Remuera housewife mobile

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  24. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    Nothing wrong with a 320i. Other than that a Golf GTi is better, faster and cheaper.

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  25. Steve (North Shore) (4,314 comments) says:

    Sad. Four on the floor, two in the glovebox and one in the boot – V8 is all that matters
    Otherwise it is a gay car for people who can’t drive a real car

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  26. pq (728 comments) says:

    far too much Farrar, get a social commenter like me, people who have something real to say, .. cars , BMW Audi big deal drivel

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  27. Johnboy (13,335 comments) says:

    Give it say five years and the ever mounting repair bill exceeding the rapidly descending resale value and you’ll be looking for an upwardly mobile Bro to flick it off to and wishing you had bought a Toyota! :)

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  28. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    Don’t know what everyone’s harping on about with the 7 series, fantasies of being a chauffeur? Next time see if you can wangle a drive of a 330D, great car that, practical and useful.

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  29. iMP (2,147 comments) says:

    “…an Orang-utan with many ex-wives…” classic, but “ex” plural suggests a better past hit rate than the driver.

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  30. The Stig (32 comments) says:

    “Flatmate” from the Waikato, I think I’ll call you Ross…. You might not have had a flat since your days driving Cortinas, buy I’m sure Farrar has with his driving.

    I would mock you for not having a convertible, but 1, you were with Farrar, and 2, you were in Wellington.

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  31. Phil (117 comments) says:

    Late last year the GF and I bought quite possibly the only manual 3-series (non-M3) in Wellington. It’s an ’08 318, but quite frankly it’s a fantastic car. Exactly the same engine as the 320, but not ladened down with all the gizmo’s and crap that make the other cars in the range too heavy.

    The 318 is light, nimble, corners like it’s on rails, and doesn’t chug down gas like Cactus with champers.

    Plus, it’s one of the few cars you can drive like a yob and still take your mother out for a nice lunch in.

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