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The Mercury Cars Guide : January 31st 2009
4— CARSguide Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au BMW goes from good to great Alittle bit of timecandowondersifyouwantto turn somethinggoodinto something great. KeithDidhamreportsontheBMWThree Series tles of a young cabernet from any one of Australia’s great vineyards. Try sampling one now and T put the other aside for a few years before revisiting it to see how the structure has rounded out — time adds complexity, but makes the wine more mellow. Since 1975, the BMW Three Series has evolved into some- thing which is classy, well designed and good mannered. But it wasn’t always like that. When Bimmer’s current hard-edged lines were intro- duced not that long ago, many thought the look was too confronting, too creased, too sharp. It was a time when car buyers were more comfort- able with softer, free-flowing forms from the Japanese. Today, the strong profile of the Three Series is no longer confrontational. In hindsight, the design was ahead of its time. HE design of BMW’s Three Series is a model of ageing well. Take a couple of bot- The latest evolution of the mid-sized range arrived in Australia just in time for Christmas and brought with it small, but important changes. For example, the often criti- cised iDrive function control- ler is no longer confusing nor cumbersome to use.BMWhas not had its own way in the sports sedan market in recent times; the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi’s A4 and the Lexus IS250 have all posed a threat to sales. It’s not surprising to see BMW fight back, adding equipmentas standard kitand repositioning entry level pric- ing. Leather trim, power ad- justable front seats, alloy wheels, rain sensing wipers, fog lamps and park assist are now all standard, as are USB/ audio interface, automatic air conditioning, trip computer, trick door lighting and Blue- tooth connectivity. Mind you, it’s the very equipment tech-savvy buyers now expect at this price level. AndBMWisn’t givingaway all the big profit toys in its equipment kitbag for nothing. There are add-on packages, which include smart naviga- tion, DVD, 80GB hard disc drive, TV andMSport styling and suspension kits. The latest Three Series models retain the hard-edged styling, but BMW couldn’t resist tinkering with the finer aspects for a fresher look. There’s a minor change to the front, a more elongated side profile and the rear tail lights are more contoured and no longer look like an add on. ON THE ROAD We’ve been driving the mid- spec 323i, which sells for $63,200, but that price quickly blossomed to $76,770 with op- tions including $1700 for met- allic paint, $2200 for light alloy wheels and rubber, $2920 for an electric glass sunroof and a hefty $6750 for the top of the range navigation/TV system with voice recognition. The 323i continues to be powered by BMW’s bullet proof 2.5-litre straight six, pro- SWEET: The BMW Three Series has evolved into a well designed and good mannered car. ducing 140kW and 230Nm of torque. It’s the same engine from the more potent 325 which is tuned to provide an extra 20kW and 20Nm. The 323i doesn’t offer quite the same acceleration as its bigger brother — it’s a full second slower off the line to 100km/h than the 325. But where the 323 excels is in mid- range performance thanks to peak torque being on tap from 3500 to 5000 revs. This is quite a sweet car to drive, even enthusiastically. But driving the 323 isabit of a balancing act. It initially feels sluggish—not helped by the car’s weight — but it changes character once you get up and running. The six-speed auto trans- mission is reasonably well matched to the engine with good positive kickdown when added acceleration is needed for overtaking. There’s certainly no major complaints about the comfort- able cabin, good-sized boot and what you get in thewayof safety equipment. The cabin in the test car came dressed in oyster col- oured Dakota leather with walnut trim, which helped to add some warmth. Previous 323 models leftmecold thanks to their austere overly grey ambience. Standard kit included just about every acronym in the motoring book: ABS, ASC+T, CBC, DBC, DSC and PDC. That’s anti-lock brakes, trac- tion and stability control, cor- nering brake control, dy- namic brake control and rear park assist, all of which com- bined are designed to make the car as safe as possible even when the driver loses the plot. The 323i stands up well against its competitors. We like it a lot. FAST FACTS BMW 323I Transmission: Six-speed tiptronic automatic Howmuch:$63,200 Underthe bonnet: 2.5l straight six,140kWat 5900rpm;230Nmtorque 3500-5000rpm Howquick: Zero to 100km/h8.7 seconds, top speed231km/h Howthirsty: 8.8l/100km (claimed), 10.2l/100km actual Saturday, January 31, 2009 WINNINGCARS. SPOTONPRICES. NOW FROM TUCSON DRIVE AWAY $23,990 • 2.0 CVVT TWIN CAM ENGINE • 8.0L/100KM^ • BLUETOOTH AUDIO • AIR CON WITH POLLEN FILTER • ABS WITH EBD • ALLOYS • POWER WINDOWS • ESP STABILITY CONTROL • TRACTION CONTROL B FROM i30 $ 19,390 A EXCLUDES DEALER DELIVERY AND STATUTORY CHARGES WINNER AUSTRALIA’S BEST MID SIZE CAR UNDER $ 28,000 • 7.2L/ 100KM^ • ESP STABILITY CONTROL • TRACTION CONTROL • ABS WITH EBD • POWER WINDOWS • iPOD & USB CONNECTIVITY • GLOVEBOX DRINKS COOLER • AIR CON WITH POLLEN FILTER hyundai.com.au/offers or call 1800 186 306 NOW FROM GETZ DRIVE AWAY $12,990 C 2007 & 2008 MOST AFFORDABLE LIGHT CAR TO OWN & RUN# • 6.1L/100KM^ • BLUETOOTH AUDIO • POWER WINDOWS • AIR CON WITH POLLEN FILTER • FULL SIZE SPARE • REMOTE KEYLESS ENTRY • IMMOBILISER & ALARM MOTORS PTY LTD HOBART CNR COLLINS AND BARRACK ST HOBART 6230 7220 Conditions: All carsmust be ordered and delivered between 1 January and 31 January 2009. Offer valid at participating dealers on existing dealer stock while stocks last. Prices for ’08 build vehicles only. Offers exclude fl eet, rental and govt. buyers and vehicles used for commercial purposes. Hyundai reserves the right to change, supersede or extend these offers. The unlimited kilometre warranty is only applicable to vehicles used for private and domestic use and is not applicable for vehicles used for certain high mileage commercial purposes i.e. courier, security and rental cars. ^ADR81/02 fuel consumption will vary depending on a combination of driving habits, road conditions and condition of vehicle. A) Recommended retail price for i30 petrol SXmanual. Metallic paint $320 extra. B) Recommended Drive away price for Tucson City SXmanual. Metallic/mica paint $320 extra. C) Recommended Drive away price for Getz 1.4 3 door manual. Metallic/mica paint $320 extra. #2007 & 2008 RACT Vehicle Operating Cost Survey for Getz 1.4 S manual model. HYUN1548/HM_10/01/09
January 10th 2009
February 7th 2009