We couldn't say this is the best car for strolling around in the city, for a number of reasons. First of all, the overall visibility is OK, but you do get to sit lower than in other cars, in true BMW fashion. Some people may like this, while the ones who rely on their 360 degree visibility may not. Most of us fell in the second category.
Second of all, our test car wasn't equipped with parking sensors, making the whole “parking between two cars” idea a bit far fetched at first. Fortunately, parallel-parking is made much easier thanks to the automatic tilting rear view mirror from the passenger side. Everytime you put it in reverse, the mirror tilts downwards in order to let you check out how much damage you can make to your 18-inch alloy rims against the kerb. Pretty useful gadget, albeit it shouldn't be confused with something original and it's certainly not a substitute for parking sensors.
Also, the ground clearance isn't all that kerb-loving since the whole suspension setup is designed so the car can hug the road at higher speeds, providing better aerodynamics and a lower center of mass. With this said, the 330d xDrive is obviously not the automotive equivalent of a panacea and it certainly doesn't take care of your every single need, providing that among those needs are a life of continuous city driving (and parking).
Don't get us wrong, even with all the downsides already expressed and the fact that it has a manual transmission (one of the enemies of comfortable city driving), our test car wasn't THAT out of place on the busy streets. The problem with it is that it sure demands an open stretch of road, or better yet some mountain serpentines to put those adjustable side bolsters to some real work.
We know we have to say it almost everytime, but here it goes: Our test drives are rarely done in a fashion which would lead to a good fuel consumption, since we usually encounter either heavy traffic or/and a heavy right foot. With that in mind, the overall fuel consumption we managed to achieve in the city was between 10.4 liters per 100 km (US 22.6 mpg) and 13.5 liters per 100 km (US 17.4 mpg). Considering this is a 1700+ kg (3748 lbs), all-wheel drive car that can get to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 6 seconds, the fuel economy isn't half bad.Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
Some would say that I take after my father, who was also a lover of all things that are German, especially since he used to own quite a handful of Nazi memorabilia. When I was little I remember that he also used to own a Sachsenring Trabant 601 S. Fun little car, too bad I totaled it right after I took it for a test drive following a forced convertible-transformation with my grandfather's chainsaw. Oh well, I was only fifteen and my dad understood... right after he opened a huge can of ass-whooping.
Read the full opinion and flame the editor →