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Monday, July 29, 2013

BMW 320d- what you don't get at 38 lakhs

I spent a day with BMW 3 series, the cheapest variant in 3 series family, which is 320d. This car costs about 38 lakhs on road to buy, but misses out on several features found in cheaper cars. Obviously a cost cutting exercise to save some bucks and offer a cheaper variant is evident from stripped features. 320d is for those budget constrained buyers who want premium BMW brand value and a nice drivable car, without some of the fancy stuff, found in other cars and deemed standard on a luxury car.
Listing 11 things you won’t get in a BMW 320d, for about 38 lakhs INR on road…

1) No spare wheel. This sounds odd for Indians, because every other car is sold with a spare wheel. However, BMW sells cars worldwide without spare wheels, because of advancements in technology. BMW tyres can run for 200kms at a speed of 80kmph, even after going flat. (Not sure if this 200kms is on German autobahn or on pot holl filled Indian roads) So because of this, it might be possible to manage without a spare wheel. Most of the BMW customers would use it as city ride and hence this may not be an issue. But  during a long drive, having a spare tyre adds to confidence. 

While BMW may have full faith in its vehicle, technology and support, to what extent we can trust the Indian roads is left to the judgment of each customer. If it is me and if I intend to use the car as my primary transport, then I would prefer to play safe and buy a car which has a spare wheel. May be I am just being skeptical, because 1000s of BMW customers continue to buy the car and seem to be comfortable without the spare, so let us give some credit to BMW for having full faith in their technology and sticking to their stand of not providing spare wheels.

2) No sunroof. i10 has it, Honda city has it, Cruze has it, Merc C class, A class and B class has it. But BMW 3 series cheaper variants miss on sunroof. During a long drive or when weather is nice, having a sunroof helps take nice photos, enjoy weather and adds to appeal of the car. But 320d misses it.

3) No rear view camera in 320d. A graphical sensor is provided, but no camera. Higher variants of 3 series get rear view camera + graphical guidance


4) No cruise control. 320d gets a limit switch, but no cruise control. I am not a fan of cruise control, as it tends to induce lazyness. But if you're keen on this feature, watch out.

5) Uncomfortable seating for 5th person. BMW 3 series is comfortable for 4 passengers only (several other sedans, including Renault Fluence have this problem) and for 5th passengers, long drive is not really comfortable. The transmission shaft occupies most of the space and 5th person need to adjust with one leg on left side and another on the right. If you need space to carry more people, go for may be X1 or other cars.

6) No Day time running lights (DRLs)- This fancy stuff helps grab additional attention, available in higher variants of BMW 3 series and rivals. Hyundai i20 gets it and even HM Dost LCV has DRL now. But 320d doesn’t.

7) No Navigation system- available in higher variants of 3 series– rely on your smart phone for driving directions.


8) An un-customized owner’s manual. I had a quick look at the owner’s manual and I found it very generic across BMW 3 series. Not customized to different variants under 3 series and owners need to sort out the confusion among themselves, if there’re some differences in what the manual says and what is actually there in the car.

9) An un-customized India website. Bmw.in has all images with left hand side driving layout. I would have appreciated them customizing the website with India images (right hand side driving). I did a quick check- Mercedes Benz is showing right hand side layout, while Audi continues to have LHS images similar to BMW

10) No xenon headlamps. Headlamps in 320d is ordinary, nothing inspiring about it and illumination is normal. (Can be fitted after market)

11) No door lamps. Mercedes Benz, Tata Aria and many other cars get a lamp in the door, which lights up when open- helps provide some illumination when people get down/get in during night or helps realize that door is open.

Note that I am not even talking about high end features like night vision, self parking, massage seats and attention assist.

Bear in mind that annual insurance premium for 320d comes to about 1.9 lakhs, almost as much as a Tata Nano. 

I am not saying BMW 320d is a bad car. Standby for good things about the car and related information.

View more photos of BMW 320d * Review of the car

Updated: Dec 2013: Corrected on road price of the car to 38 lakhs.
Also read: BMW leasing options explained

23 comments :

Arumugam Easwar said...

OMG!I'm aghast at knowing the cost of the car.
Nice write with lot of inputs.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Sir

SEO Consultants in india said...

Very Beautiful & wisely Reviews.

vijay prakash said...

after spending 33 lac . we don't get all these then what it cost 33 lac
golden triangle tour

Neha Gupta said...

I truly liked this post. Good to read and easy to understand.- http://www.theconnaughtnewdelhi.com/

Praveen Singh said...

BMW is the big name and I am sure many people will go with this option because of the brand name, and nobody can deny that BMW have ever produced best premium cars whether its quality or safety.

It's good news for people who were looking for a good move. LED Manufacturers

kebhari said...

wow! It's a lovely car.....

Page said...

Wow, what an information about My dream car!!!!! BMW. Great information

vimalgiri said...

The vehicle cost what you mention is wrong on road price is 44 lakh a 320d sport and 320d luxury are same price

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Vimalgiri: Thanks for your comment. I was referring to the cheapest variant of 320d and this post is 9 months old. Price also varies by city and with time. So, please bear with me if the numbers are not 100% correct

Kaiser Raja said...

The only way to appreciate a BMW 3 series is to own one and drive one. It is impossible to drive any other sedan after that. The engine is just marvellous. If you go for the Sports version, you get leather seats, xenon headlights, sports steering wheel, sports seats and sunroof. Cruise control is not a big issue in India. I would have loved if it had rear view camera and navigation which is there in the 320D in Europe. I am trying my best to get an after market rear view camera installed.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Kaisar Raja

Thanks for taking few moments to write this comment.

Problem with luxury cars is that those who own it don't care to review it (of course there're exceptions) and those who review it can't afford to own it...

Anonymous said...

I like to differ a bit, you cant compare a BMW with non luxury cars, its the driving pleasure more than the features.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Anon: True..Driving is another aspect.. There're many things BMW offers but other cheaper cars don't.

ksm said...

Useful info ... Agree the BMW drive makes up for some of the fancy stuff missing.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks KSM

Sandeep Mallaram said...

Dear all please check out new 3 Series
It's coming with standard: Spare wheel , LED lights , Day time LED lights
2nd model : 3D Navigation , SunRoof , with iDrive Touch

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Sandeep

Alexander Senders said...

Right! BMW 320d is not a car having lots of features. Honestly saying, BMW is a good brand and has repeatedly provided cars with new technology and inventions but this model is not that good at its price. Though it costs 38lacks, so the functionalities should also be of that standard but disappointing. BMW specialist Green Bay, WI.

prem m said...

Can we can install navigation on the idrive for 320d prestige?

prem m said...

Hi,
I have purchased the BMW 320d Prestige and i was wondering if there is a way to upgrade my idrive to the navigation installed. it would be of great help if there is a way you can suggest.

thanks,
prem

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Prem- Unfortunately I do not have enough expertise to advise on this. What does the dealer say? May be you can check in various BMW owner forums/groups

@Alex: Thanks

Jenny Joseph said...

No where it is a doubt that BMW is a branded car. Its looking is eye catching but it has many defects as per mentioned in this article. For driving purpose it is safety but for directions we need a cell phone . There are no spare wheels, sunroofs, cruise control. It is having normal 320d xenon headlamps as like every ordinary cars. Its sitting arrangement is also not comfortable for five persons. Once my BMW car got stacked to a tree ,it was not in a condition to use also. After going through this i got better repair in Portland.car repair. Now it is running good and in a better condition also as no can say that car had been destroyed earlier.