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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, I've got it and it is in the garage having its first sleep. Picture(s) in Members' Cars.

Mrs cyclesax picked it up from Dick Lovett and got a bunch of flowers and the tank of diesel that I paid for. It had no dents and the right number plate (don't ask ... S*tn£r C1t& had trouble with this 2 years ago).

When I eventually got home from work I took the kids out for a drive and then my bank manager. Then wet the baby's head with a few jars and walked home from my local.

Right, that's the timeline so now let's get down to the detail.

Performance

Firstly I've got to talk about the performance. Now, don't forget that I've passed 40 and have got fed up with manual gearchanges so I've gone for the 6 speed auto. You'll be aware that the 0-62 time at 8.2 is only 0.3 slower than the manual. This is the same as a 325i automatic and, more to the point, is accessible to the clumsy old men like me with poor clutch control.

So, what is the performance like? Well, it feels like 8.2 to me ... not that I've timed it yet. The engine is very responsive and pulls very well. This auto feels faster than my manual new shape A3 2.0 TDi that I had for 367 days and faster than the 523i auto we've got in the cyclesax garage.

The sports mode does feel noticeably different to the normal mode but, as usual in my opinion, the manual shifting is a waste of time as it is relatively unresponsive. We need SMG for instant response to driver input. Kickdown is quick ... and I only read the manual after driving it and now know that I shouldn't have used kickdown while running in.

Took it onto the M4 and it is really refined at 70mph ... or a little more. Not quite as refined as the 523i, but not far from it. What happens when you push the loud pedal down at 70 mph? ... well, it surges forward, that's what it does, very enthusiastically.

What does it sound like?

It is quieter than the A3. You can only hear the diesel noise at startup and up to about 30 mph. After this it isn't easy to tell what sort of fuel you are using.

When the engine is working hard it has a muted sort of roaring noise. It is a noise compared to the 2.5 to 3.0 litre petrol 6i engines of course and it is nothing like as wonderful as the V8 sounds. I like it more than the A3 noise.

I'm not going to call it music ... need a Selmer Tenor Mark VI for that ... which I have not got.

Refinement at 80+mph (on a track of course) is fine. My bank manager says that it is quieter than a new shape Honda Accord 2.2 diesel.

Ride comfort?

Having agonised over the sports suspension / 17" wheels / run flats / cost issue I went for 16" wheels. They look ok to me.

Ride is noticeably harder than the A3 SE and that is a good thing. Feels more connected to the road. More like my old 325iSport than my sagging soggy A3.

But don't buy this combination if you've got a sensitive back or like the ride from a big Jag.

Handling

What a joy to be back in a rear wheel drive car. Oh I hated the understeer in the A3 and the tyres did too ... particularly front left in Swindon with all of the roundabouts.

I took the kids around a quiet roundabout a few times and then turned off part of the stability management the next time. Then read the manual.

First of all it handled neutrally. That's great for all of us. It also went a little faster and neutral with half of its brain deactivated. Then I went faster still and the brains started to slow me down, neutralise the accelerator and dish up some mild understeer. Later found out that you've got to hold the button down for 3 seconds to turn all of its "laws of physics" stuff off and I didn't know that at the time. On the second time the tyres made a little bit of a noise. Very little roll and communicative steering.

Now, I'm not sure what is going to happen when I turn the brain off completely and to get the maximum of fun I'll have to use the manual gearbox override too (which, as I said, I don't like). More to follow. It needs to go on a track for a play, doesn't it? Even with that autobox.

Then went out on my favourite bike ride route - a well surfaced B road - and really enjoyed the corners. This is a sporting hatch without doubt ... but I'd like another 60 bhp and SMG.

Brakes

Powerful and progressive. No chance to comment on fade on roads. Don't ask, I'll never have an answer.

Exterior Finish

Early days, but the finish looks and feels great. Solid and stable. Smooth to touch. $1m ... well, nearly £25k at least.

I used to dream of having a light blue metallic BMW 25 years ago when I worked for a chap called Tony (ABW). Great inspiration ... I've got one now.

Interior

[amendments to first version of this post - it is leather but feels like plastic :oops: ]

Oh I hate the standard steering wheel. The only part of my naked skin touching the whole car are my fingers touching the steering wheel and gear lever and they [feel like they are] are plastic. I don't like it and it is probably going to cost me £250 to swap the steering wheel [for one with a real leather feel]. I have not held a [genuine] plastic one since I had my £10k 205GLX [but this feels like it is plastic]. Perhaps I should take my clothes off and feel the leather seats to compensate.

Fuel economy

Well it is going to be better than the petrol. But since we got it we've used over 2 gallons to do 65 miles. Not doing 42mpg is it! 28.8 on the computer. Hmm.

[update] Just driven from Swindon to London along the M4 and it did 41 mpg. That's better.

Sound System

Sorry, didn't put my favourite CDs into the car and only listened to radio 4. Nothing special to report so far. (I've got the £355 upgraded speakers and £140 professional radio plus 6CD. Should have dumped the 6CD in favour of an iPod.)

[update] The manual says that the CD player in the dash can play MP3 and WMA files and this is true. Sounds good and shows the name of the tune being played. Now I really do regret the waste of money on the 6CD in the boot because I can get about 10 on a CD in the front.

Sports Seats with Electric Adjustment to Width

Bolsters seem a little small ... but I've lost weight recently. Electric control of the width of the backrest is fine. Put a bit more "grip" on my back before the corners came up.

Well, that's my brain dump. Ask me some questions and I'll have a go at a response.

Just a very short commute to work tomorrow and then a few more miles at the weekend.

I'll be back soon ... and with some daylight pictures too in "Members' Cars" section at the weekend.

:D :D :) :) :lol: :wink: :wink: :twisted:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
At last I see it in the light:




Light grey leather looks good alongside the Quartz Blue:


The MP3 player in the Professional Radio does its stuff:


Standard sport wheels are fine for me, even if only 16". Favourite make of tyres here - Continental - just like on my bikes:


The boot. Quality of materials here not up to E39 or E46 standards:


The holes. "They're all like that, sir".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Into the last week ...

Mrs Cyclesax is swapping this car for a used new shape 525i and I'll be driving her old shape 523i on the 3 mile trip to and from the station each day.

Stats: 16 months, 4800 miles, under 30mpg, one new tyre, one Corsa driver hit it ... and it has been the most expensive car I've ever run in terms of cost per mile. Lots of fun, but time for a change.
 
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