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  1. Its simple ,its obvious, its a no brainer , & yes it is the 328i Yes i was waiting for the confirmation about weather the N20 engine will be launched in India & as soon as it got confirmed i did make up my mind for the 328i sportline in " White" Any other considerations ? Yes the 530d i had a soft corner for & i would have gone ahead & bought the 530d if 328i wouldnt have been launched (Also would not have mind spending the extra if BMW had planned a 335 variant) Biggest Rival / Enemy - 520d Yes, i know this may sound as an obvious choice (not in case of BHPians) that any one would want an 5 series as after hearing that a discount of additional 1.75 lakhs was available on the 520d variant so my father was keen on the 520d , but yes it did take time convincing him where in finally he gave a go ahead ( thanks to the BMW for marketing the increased dimensions which helped me convince him & also a point where i told him that any way the 5'er is not supremely spacious anyway so this is not going to be a big loss in space ) PS - Did not want to highlight the performance aspects otherwise he would have panicked & put me under the scanner that why i want such a fast car & where are the roads etc etc , LOL The HUNT Two days after the launch i.e. on 29/7/12 i went to Infinity, Worli for the test drive, was completely floored by the performance. I was ready to book the car in " WHITE" Mumbai & ready to make the down payment (booking amount) I was flexible for the interior colors i.e. either Coral Red or Black Somehow i always wanted & desired a white Bimmer & so was adamant on getting a "White" only I was not been given the clear picture regarding the status / inventory of "White" by either of the dealers in Mumbai. They had the following reasons or may be spreading a rumor of the following ; 1) Infinity Mumbai say that the 328i Sportline production had stopped and BMW Chennai would not be making any further 328i's 2) Navnit Mumbai said that 328i sportline is available only in MELBOURNE RED & IMPERIAL BLUE no other color is offered by BMW on this variant ( But the brochure did not specify any thing of that sort nor anything was said of this regard when i had gone for the launch party held on 27/7/12 ) - Out of which point no. 1 was partly true as BMW had only approximately 50 units of 328i's allotted for 2012 and the next units would come in only by early 2013. - 75% of the 50 Cars (328's) which were allotted in the 1st lot for India were in Melbourne Red & Imperial Blue , the rest being other colors including White ( so chance of location a white got even difficult) ^ The above i was confirmed by Infinity GM where in he was very helpful & honest in sharing the information, infact he had a white which he had sold so that being the only white which was not available now so he had advised me to go ahead and book a RED before that runs out of stock too. I was heartbroken and was left helpless ( almost got myself convinced in going in for MELBOURNE RED) The only positive i had was that my car/s i register myself at " Silvassa " i.e. DN Passing, so like i did with sourcing my White Fortuner ( from Surat ) i started the hunt by calling up BMW dealers all across India. In a day i had called Delhi, Jaipur , Raipur, Pune , Surat , A'bad & none of them had the 328 in white. In my Question to them i was very specific in asking " their inventory " & not what they could order ( because i did not want to block my funds & have a no show or wait 4-5 months) In the meanwhile my brother ( 15 years old ) called me up & said " Hey theres one White with Coral Red available at Platino Classic, Kochi & he had called for pictures for proof etc. Within 30 minutes we got their e-mail with pictures attached & i did not think much and just sent them an e-mail confirmation regarding my booking & got their confirmation as well & the next morning i did an RTGS of the booking amount of 5 lakhs to their A/C & Reserved the car & what a sigh of relief it was Discount Offered ; 50 % Discount on Insurance of Car i.e. 50% off on 1.50 Lakhs so a direct saving of Rs 75,000 Handling Chargers (HC) of Rs 28,000/- - waived off , so more saving. Transit mode ; Biggest Question was how to transport the car safely to Silvassa (Gujarat) for registration. Option 1 ; Drive down - As the car was un-registered was not sure if i would be able to pass through all the check nakas / octroi posts without any hassles as i did not want to end up paying a hefty penalty and also second reason being road condition from Kochi towards B'lore. Option 2 ; Flat Bed truck : Infinity GM again helped me with this as he advised not to drive down and to let it come on a flat bed. The Deal : Rs 45,000 /- Transit Insurance : Rs 500 / Lakh = Rs 19,140 /- Did not mind paying the above as i already saved some money as Discount on Insurance & HC Dealer Experience ; 9.5 / 10 It took around 2 working days to get the loan approved. The entire agreement etc was signed and sent via courier and they received the payment on Monday i.e. 13/8/12 PDI was done that day itself. Insurance & TP was ready on Tuesday & i was confirmed the delivery on Thrusday i.e. 16/8/12 I reached Kochi airport on Thursday afternoon , Platino Classic had arranged a car ( Honda CRV ) pick up for me from airport to Show room , that was a good gesture. Pause : Let the pictures do the talking for a while ; Coming back to the story ; I had a flight back on Thursday night for Mumbai in the meanwhile there was a problem in the Temporary Registration A wrong name was mentioned i.e. instead of my company's name " Managing Director " was mentioned & that was not accepatable so i had to wait till next day afternoon to get it amended. This delay made me cancel my flight & Re-Schedule it for the next day. ( Cancellation charges @ Rs 1400 ) For the above episode i ranked the Dealership experience of Platino Classic 0.5 less i.e. 9.5/10 Otherwise all in all the experience was fantastic , the GM to the sales staff were extremely helpful & friendly. Coming back to the story ; I had a flight back on Thursday night for Mumbai in the meanwhile there was a problem in the Temporary Registration A wrong name was mentioned i.e. instead of my company's name " Managing Director " was mentioned & that was not accepatable so i had to wait till next day afternoon to get it amended. This delay made me cancel my flight & Re-Schedule it for the next day. ( Cancellation charges @ Rs 1400 ) For the above episode i ranked the Dealership experience of Platino Classic 0.5 less i.e. 9.5/10 Otherwise all in all the experience was fantastic , the GM to the sales staff were extremely helpful & friendly. Freebies ; At the time of delivery i got a gift pack which included a Keychain, a Box chocolates , BMW car care products free Other than that i got the following BMW Lifestyle items also free ; - 2 BMW T-Shirts with BMW Emblem on the arms ( Polo , 1 in Black other in White ) - 2 caps with BMW Emblem ( 1 white & other in Black ) - Laptop Bag ( Worth aprox 6500 INR) - & i was able to squeeze out a BMW M Watch Worth INR 16,700 The Drive It was a short one i started from the showroom went to the fuel station and got 1000 Rs Fuel filled ( 89 octane ) from there i went to my hotel. Apparently the accommodation provided by BMW did not have a good parking facility so i did not want to risk it & thankfully The showroom was just a minute drive away , so i put it back into the showroom in safety. I had informed the show room guards that i will be back late at night and will be taking the car out for a late night spin. I somehow held my temptation to do so again because the TP still was in - correct and so did not want to risk it. Key Observations in the short drive ; - Drove in COMFORT mode , the ride quality was decent enough to absorb the rough patches, throttle response was phenomenal ( Note : Have not red lined till now ) - Also the Steering i.e. the " Variable Sport Steering " turns from lock to lock in almost just above 2 turns , this was noticed while manoeuvering at the petrol pump & while parking. This came in handy, im sure it will weigh up nicely at higher speeds in the sport & sport + modes. The Loading ; The Temporary Registration with the amendments had arrived and now it was time for the car to load in the container. Trust me this was the most difficult part as i was so inclined towards driving it to Silvassa but here are some pictures of the loading ; The Truck started from Cochin at 4 pm it is expected to arrive at Silvassa (Gujarat) for registration by Monday & i was so looking forward to driving it back to Mumbai on the NH 8. D-Day (21.08.12) Also 21.08.12 happened to be my 25th B’day So on the D-day the truck had reached Gujarat (out skirts) I had jumped out of my bed @ 6 am and set out @ 6:45 from Mumbai (Mulund) towards Gujarat. I wanted to do the unloading before the Talasari check point. I co-ordinated with the transporter he confirmed he was standing 10-12 kms before the check post at an Indian Oil Fuel station , at a hotel called “AARAM” , LOL 8:15 : I reached the destination it was the most pleasant sight to see transporter standing beside the truck. So the first set of pictures are as follows; Love the angry Front look; 140 mm ground Clearance; ^ Evident increase in legroom : My brother almost 6 ft tall Registration; I Got the car registered and the number i got alotted was " 747 " , more than happy with that. We set of after the registration getting done to Mumbai at about 3 pm. So before wasting any more time here is my take on the 328i Review ; Performance; The 328i has the new N20 Engine. Many people (including BMW Sales staff) are misinterpreting the “Twin Power turbo“ as “Twin Turbo“. The fact is that the N20 is having a Single “Twin Scroll “Turbo. This engine is generating 245 hp & 350 NM of Torque @ 1250 rpm. What BMW has tried to achieve here with this 4 cylinder turbocharged motor is to deliver the performance & smoothness of 6 pot with FE of 4 cylinders, which on paper is tough to argue. You really have to drive it to believe it & im not too sure of the FE & i think it is too early to measure FE but the performance Oh Boy , Oh Boy this more than puts a smile on your face. I had driven the 530i no doubt it was impressive , also the sound / engine note was very sporty but had a very weak low to mid range. But with this the 328 the low end starts strongly & just gets stronger all the way to the redline. The Engine note is silent most of the times but gets throaty (in a good way ) past 3000 rpm & past 4500 rpm gets angrier. In most instances you don’t even come to know the way the speeds climb up in fact i was @ 185 km/h in Sport mode where in i never gave more than 50% throttle. Acceleration; Absolutely Savage Throttle Response. As the Peak Torque is so low down the rev range the performance is very linear for a Turbo Engine. As the company claimed 0-100 km/h of 6.1 secs (which i haven’t tried yet) but i am sure it will feel faster than the numbers suggest. Did not do much of spirited driving but did have a few short bursts and was truly blown away. Note : Though being a Turbo Very Linear., almost no lag. Overall i feel this 4 banger is mammoth fun. In fact after returning back to Mumbai i took her for a late night spin to BW Sea Link. Love On the NH8 ; Note : 5 series like REAR Note : Wipers were confusing to operate , also were slow for Very heavy showers Gearbox / Transmission; The Indian Spec 328i comes standard with the “ Sport Automatic Gearbox “ To be very frank i have never owned a Automatic Transmission Car (But have driven few of my friends) & have always been disappointed by most of them to be honest, but this one shifts & how. The gear changes are lightning quick, so quick that in the first 3 gearshifts it is very difficult to say when it changes the gear especially if you don’t look at the tacho. In Comfort mode it is always perfect, no uneven downshifts, always in the right gear. In Eco Pro it up shifts quite up which may not be useful on hilly areas (ghats) Also In Eco Pro there is a indicator (in Blue) which shows you how much kms you have gained by driving in ECO PRO mode , which i my case i drove aproxx 30 odd kms in ECO Pro mode and gained 5.9 kms on range, so thats a good feeling & will make you drive in ECO PRO for longer. Driving Experience Control (Modes); ECO PRO – As i explained earlier, does come in handy & more importantly it works Negatives - Eco Pro mode up shifts quite early (low rpm) which may not be useful on hilly areas (ghats) COMFORT – Was driving in this mode almost 50 % of the time, & i believe that this very well does justice to the “COMFORT mode“ , the power delivery was very sublime, thanks to the sorted mapping. The other good thing was that i never felt the lack of power / grunt & the need to switch to the SPORT mode, so this is the ideal mode for city & internal highways. SPORT – This did sharpen the throttle response & quicker gear changes, also weighed up the steering nicely for more precise handling , really loved this setting on the run. Also as soon as you shift from Comfort to Sport There is a downshift and the car selects the gear for the best acceleration from that speed, Killer tech ! Sport Display : When you are driving hard your eyes should be on the road & not on how much Torque Or Power your making so this TOY is good to show off & nothing more ; SPORT + : The only noticeable difference was that this switched off the DTC. Did not feel any more difference that the SPORT mode otherwise. I think it needed more pushing harder (which i didn’t). RIDE & HANDLING; Ride Quality; I have not spent much time in the E90’s but once i was being driven around Surat in my Uncles car & other time i was test driving a test drive vehicle (M kitted with mixed tyres) overall it was not an uncomfortable ride but yes Harsh. In the F30 its better but not the most comfortable ride ( Thanks to the 18”ers) But my opinion changed as the speed/s climbed into 1xx territory. It feels very comfortable as well as planted. I am sure in the 16,17" setups for the diesel the ride quality will be more comfortable for sure. Checked the Tyre Pressure today ( after returning to Mumbai ) it was @ 23 psi , so i think the rims were taking all the pain , now @ 30 psi it feels lot better and the suspension is now getting to absorb the bumps better. Run Flats; Globally this car in 18” setup is offered in the following tyre brands; Pirelli CintuRatu P7 RSC Bridgestone Potenza s001 RFT GoodYear Efficient Grip ROF Continental Sport Contact 5 ssr The above is depending on what tyre brand was delivered to the factory when the F30 was being made. My car is fitted with GoodYear Efficient Grip ROF , 225/45 R18 Grip Levels :As these Good Years are “touring” spec (surprised) but were pretty grippy acceptable but i would have loved having the Continentals. Note : Again i hadn’t got the opportunity to check the Tyre pressure as the pumps around were “ Out of Order” Tyre Noise : Very Silent Handling; The 3 series already has been legendary when it comes to handling so the F30 had a big task to better it & how , absoloute stellar handling thanks again to the Steering which acts sharp in the Sport & the Sport+ Modes , Very Precise. You wont believe the amount of speed i was carrying into the corners on the NH8 and this was my first drive , really gives you the confidence to push hard and when you have you push “ Harder “ Though the Indian spec version does not get sport suspension (which lowers the car by 10 mm) the handling is unbelievable. RWD & 50:50 Weight Distribution : These Attributes have always defined the BMW brand, but in my 1st sprint i could very well feel the difference of why these cars are so special. No tail out fun yet (except while taking a U-Turn i experienced it on full throttle & was in Comfort mode then too) , was taking it easy & not much of Sport+ usage till now which de-activates the traction & skid controls) Steering ; EPS, Variable Sport Steering (Exclusive to 328i) The steering precision is magical with the way it weighs up when you change from say Comfort to Sport. Also as i mentioned in traffic and parking the variable sport steering is very handy as the difference is that the no. Of turns required to reach lock & lock position (just about 2) is less that on a normal one ( just under 3) , this really aids maneuverability. Steering Feel & Haptics - Perfect size & thickness , Very Meaty ,& perfect button layout. Also a lot has been said about the EPS in the 'F' range , i agree it may not be as magical as the previous gen but still overall as a first time BMW owner i am overly satisfied with the steering precision & feedback & it still is the most involving car to drive in the segment ( comparing to the likes of C & A4 ) Interiors; Coral Red Interiors have got a mixed review, to be honest as i had mentioned i wanted the White with black combo but due to non availability of the same had to settle for the Coral Red option. But i was wrong these interiors are a blessing in disguise, in fact one of the best highlights of the car. They truly grow on you and match the character of the car. Also thanks to BMW to give a "proper" handbrake & not a button or a foot lever like they did in the 5 & 7 Front Sport Seats: These are bloody excellent. These do give the feeling you enveloped in proper bucket seats + being comfortable at the same time. Very supportive & kept me in proper place especially when the side bolstering is tightened. Rear Seats - The Rear Seats are comfortable , especially good on thigh support. 4 people can seat comfortably , for 5 not recommended for long journeys (as middle passenger will always be complaining thanks to also the rear A/C vents) Heads Up Display (HUD) ; Another feature exclusive to the 328 This feature takes the driving involvement to the next level. A big thank you to BMW guys for in-corporating this feature in the Indian – spec version. ^ Notice Dual Colors Observed. Note : The HUD Displays information such as ; - Speed - GPS Directions - Speed Warning Signal (As seen) - Radi / Audio selection details - Phone calls ( To Receive / Ignore ) - Door Open - Mostly all Notifications are shown HUD Color – The speed in Daytime it is in White & Night its amber (orange/red) Lights; Bi-Xenons are really impressive. Brilliantly bright & look amazing. They never have that aftermarket “purple/blue” tinge. Adaptive headlights are missed though Day Time Running Lights – Again Brilliant & Very Bright Also tried taking the picture of the DRLs running at night after my drive on the Bandra Worli Sea Link Ambient Lighting ; Interior - 2 setting one is " Classic" & 2nd is " Sport " Classic Setting is having fantastic RED LED lit door panels, floor & Gear console area. Music System; The 328 is equipped with the HiFi Loudspeaker system. It has a total of 9 speakers. One Speaker in the dashboard centre, 2 mids 2 tweeters on front doors, 2 subs under front seats & 2 mids on the rear doors. I haven’t heard the music system in the Diesel variants (which apparently is a different one i.e non HiFi) But Trust me this one’s real loud & classy, the clarity is impeccable and the bass is just apt, though i am not much into ICE but this system strikes all the right chords. Also i was able to pair my i-phone with the car very quickly & play music from my phone via bluetooth. I am sure the clarity will get better in CD's & once the songs are on the Hard Disk Other features; - 12 GB Hard Drive for maps & music - DVD Drive - USB & Aux In Support - Bluetooth ( Can play music from my i-phone via Bluetooth) I-Drive & Tech ; The Big Screen (22.3 cm) is nice & clear & the whole i-drive system is really easy to use. The Screen looks ultra cool & as if like an I-Pad is directly shoved inside the Dashboard. * Note : Many times mistaken for a touch screen , lol Park Assist ; The Park Assist is having a reverse camera and the usual audio function. Note : the Green lines ( which is the projected trajectory ) Move when you turn the steering , AWESOME !! Navigation: Maps look great & the resolution is good on the screen so its a joy to get directions,I am still getting used to it. BMW Apps : Will need a Snap in Adapter for that , will get it next month & report on it. Conclusion; So the new 3 with the sharp & fresh new look is faster, lighter, more economical, with better ride quality / comfort keeping the handling dynamics which truly defined the car alive. ULTIMAT3 is the best way you sum it up as. A special thanks to; The support car for the pictures & more; ^ Notice the Punto was grinning & happy to see the 328i & thanks to my brother for the pictures & spotting the availability of the model in Kochi, without which this buy would not have been possible. I am happy overall that this entire delivery process was very smooth i.e. the excitement levels of bringing the car down in a truck from Kochi to Mumbai etc , yes it was a big risk but the entire running around was worth it. Thanks for R3ADING !!!
  2. Front : 225/45 R18 Rear : 245/40 R18 Michelin Super Sports; These are the current best tires in the Michelin stable (Road tire); OE Fitted on cars like : Ferrari 599 GTO, BMW M5 etc Speed Rating : Y (>300 km/hr) Other options considered; 1) Michelin Pilot Sport 3; No stock in my size 2) Yokohama Advan Sport No stock anywhere Also considered as these were in stock; 3) Dunlop Direzzas - Were more than a year old (Manufacturing) 4) Potenza RE 050 ^ The above two available were 245/40s (square setup) - Was available for 21.5k/ Tire Note : OE Good Year Runflats were costing aprox 25k/Tire Eyeing the Michelin Pilot "Super Sports"; Ever since id seen these tires on an M5 i have had a soft corner for them. I got a quote in India for the SuperSports of Rs 1,75,000/- ^ That was way to steep IMO. So i did a quick research on the same on TIRE RACK.com & found out they were costing aprox < 1000$ Which made me wonder why not ship them in from the US I mailed tire rack and i asked them for a quote for a quote. I got an quick response from them within a couple of hours that the tires were available with them in STOCK & with shipping to India would cost 1431 U$. Promised delivery time 3-4 business days Which was aprox Rs 75,000 for a set (staggered) I thought of going ahead with the quote from tirerack.com & ordered them online where i had got an quote of Aprox INR 75,000(U$ 1431) The import duty & clearance charges had to be paid on delivery (which i was expecting it to be aprox (6k/tire) Payment; I did the payment through credit card during mid week (Wednesday night IIRC) & that day itself i was informed the tires were shipped through FedEx priority & i had received the docket number to keep a track. Delivery; 3 business days i.e. on a Monday afternoon i had received the tires at my door step. ^ now that was bloody impressive. Packaging - Surprisingly the tires came in naked, just strapped together. I was expecting some corrugated box packaging Duty; The duty with octroi which was to be paid was amounting to aprox INR 30,000 The split up of the duty is as follows; BCD (10%) + CVD (12%) + CESS (0%) + EDU. CESS (3%) + SAD (4%) + OTHER (0%) = TOTAL DUTY RATE (28.85%) Octroi : 6k (For the set of 4) Service Charge (by FedEx) = Rs 800 So all in all the net landed cost for the " staggered setup " was aprox Rs 1.05 Lakhs (for the set) Saving of atleast Rs 70,000/- as compared to local quotes Fitting was done at SUPER TYRES, Mulund (W); The tires took time to get on the RIMS. The compound was "unusually soft" (as noted by the worker) & was a task for the people @ Super tires to get used to. However after the 1st tire was in they kinda mastered the art. + the 245s(for the rear) snapped on in a fairly shorter time. ^ Fitting cost with balancing : Rs 800 Key observations post Fitment & after 500 kms of running in; 1) Ride quality; These Michelins are super soft & the way the car rides on smooth roads is of a different level altogether, also on the rough patches (not that i have tried going at high speed over the rough roads but still) the ride quality has increased to a great extent. 2) Increased traction; The stock RFTs in the 225 setup were struggling for traction off the line and somehow i felt betrayed when i got Good Year as OE when globally Conti Sport Contact 5 & Potenza s001 were offered as OE too. The supersports are doing the job really well. Thanks to the staggered setup the rear 245s are coping well with the launches & pedal to the metal action in the first couple of gears. Have a strange feeling that my sprint to the 100 has become better by a margin. Mind you the car still wheel spins in Sport+ mode (on concrete roads) but on tarmac it is crisp nonetheless. 3) Handling; The car feels very confidence inspiring now. Also another point here about the car not the tires is that sometimes it is so engaging to drive that one doesn’t even have time to look at the speed on the HUD display. I can now really throw the PSS-shod F30 into the corner and it would stick and rotate with minimal push. On the other hand, the OE Goodyears felt unstable, like it was bouncing or hopping, which was unsettling during hard braking. So in short the PSS do what you expect a high performance tire to do i.e. keep the car steady and controlled, letting you properly set up for your turn-in. 4) Bounciness / flat rear end; I had reported in my review of the F30 that the rear isn’t as flat/planted as desired. However now, thanks to Wider, stickier rubber at the back this has reduced to a certain extent. 5) Better Braking; Yes, noticeable improvement in the braking. Somehow i feel post fitment of the PSS, the Michelins allow harder brake pedal pressure before the ABS to kick in. 6) Stance Correction; The wider track offered by the rear 245 setup looks much more better & much deserved for the large 18"ers Was wanting to go for the 255's at rear but would have needed 8.5J rim width so couldnt have gone wider than the 245s. However the car is now standing with a more commanding stance. 7) Weight Reduction/Lighter Tires; The OE stock Good Year 225/45 R18 weighed 27 lbs/tire Squared setup set weight ( 27 x 4 ) = 108 lbs In comparison the Super Sports (new setup); Front – 225/45 weigh 22 lbs/tire , Rear 245/40 weigh 24 lbs/Tire Staggered set Setup weight (22x2+ 24x2) = 92 lbs Total weight reduction = 16 lbs (7.25 Kg) This reduction of unsprung weight has definitely helped handling