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About CorporalCarrot

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    Shank's Pony
  1. I Love the M button....

    Hehe I can relate to that. I had absolutely no intention of buying an M3 until I took it for (what I thought at the time at least) a "time waster" test drive. I had been all set to buy a new E90 3er, when I saw a used M3 with great spec, low mileage at a decent price. Took it for a test drive and was totally hooked. Went home, did the sums with the missus, knew the fuel consumption was awful, knew the tax and insurance were frightening, knew that I can't really use the capabilities of the car 95% of the time, and yet here I am driving an M3. So I reckon that salesmen know this and hence are often willing to give people test drives in such cars (provided of course you look like you could possibly afford it). I wouldnt want to show up at my local BM dealer in a track suit and a pair of trainers for example. They would laugh you out of it. C
  2. Best of Topgear

    a couple of weeks? When does it return? I thought it wasn't till 2006. C
  3. Had another look at the E90

    Folks One of the dealers here in Dublin was having an "Approved Used BMW" day today so I went out to have a potter around. While I was there I saw they had an E90 in the main showroom and I decided to have a second look. I posted a review here a while ago where I was decidedly disappointed with the interior of the E90 so I was surprised to find myself liking it much better this time around. The test car was Black Sapphire, with 18"s and the Lemon Dakota leather interior & brushed aluminium trim. If you had said this to me beforehand I would have scoffed since I always believe visually that the trim colour should directly contrast with the upholstery (i.e black leather aluminium/wood with beige etc)....but it really "worked" and made me "get" the new interior design. The light coloured leather substantially brightened the cabin and made me feel far more positive about it. Also the brushed aluminium is so superior to the poverty-spec "Matt Titanium" its not even funny. I know BMW has always been about basic spec cars that force you to spend money on extras but the basic "Titanium" trim is a joke and an insult to the brand. I also had a really good poke around all the trim bits, surfaces and switches and for some reason felt the interior was of a much higher quality than I thought the first time around on the cars I test drove. I think this just goes to show how important an initial impression is. I would highly recommend to anyone thinking of purchasing an E90 to seriously download the configurator cd and play around with all the options before choosing your interior. It really is critical and I am sure in a couple of years will affect the resale. Having sat in a few of these now, I think the lighter coloured upholstery options are the way to go, but if you absolutely must have Black Leather, DO NOT GET THE WOOD TRIMS. The overall effect is so dark its depressing. Brushed aluminium is your only hope here IMO. A few of my conclusions about this car are as follows. 1) Sports seats are an absolute essential. Even if you don't like sporty driving, they are just so much more comfortable than standard its a shame BMW charges extra 2) Sports Steering wheel - ditto the above. The standard wheel which is straight off the 5er is pants. 3) Stereo - it was lunch time today so the place was quiet enough giving me a good chance to potter around in the car without interruption. I decided to test the standard hifi and was surprised that it was ok. The E46 standard headunit I always thought was fairly dire and I got the HK unit for it, but by playing around with the bass & biasing the fade towards the rears managed to get a fairly powerful sound out of the E90 unit. First station I got was playing Born in the USA by the Boss which is a fairly rockin tune, and I thought it was pretty decent. Wont satisfy an audiophile because the definition wasn't great and a bit blurred/wooly sounding but it will be fine for most people. People who like like long drives to Classical will want the HiFi or Logic7 Upgrades though. 4) The money you save on the Stereo needs to go towards 18" rims. I can't tell you how much better the car looks with a set of 18"s. Now this has always been the case with BMW's but where many of the 17" options looked great on the E46, (and I dont know whether this is cos the arches are much bigger or more flared on the E90), they look puny on this car. 18" is the new 17" im afraid but the cost to upgrade to them is much greater on base units compared to the 6 cylinders. 5) The other dealer I had gone to, the demo cars had the boot storage package with the laptop tray that all the mags seem for some unfathomable reason to be raving about. This car was just standard and the boot seemed so much better it was untrue. I could really see you stuffing a few golf bags or sets of luggage in there whereas the laptop tray seriously restricts usability. Its worse than the Harmon Kardon subwoofer on the E46. I can't understand why people would pay to restrict their boot space like that. Cheers C
  4. New 3 Series Configurator Cd

    Folks Just thought I'd share this little nugget I found one day while idly surfing. Its the new 3 series configurator cd. It alloys you to play around with all the different exterior and interior options (including paint colours, alloy's and interior trims). Great if you want to buy a new 3er but are unsure what a particular combination would look like. Its about a 65mb download and you need to unrar it and create a cd with it. Heres the page; And heres the direct download link; Cheers C
  5. Almost Embarassed to Ask this :)

    Folks I'm on the lookout for a new car and am in somewhat of a dilemma. I currently drive a 2002 BMW 318ci (company car) but am opting out of the company scheme shortly (cos it makes huge financial sense). I have been considering 3 options. 1) Buy the company car off the company. Hugely attractive cos I can buy it for book value (Which is substantially less than mkt). I know its a clean car which has been immaculately maintained, has only 20k miles on it and I love the interior (I have all the toys, leather, harman/kardon sounds blah blah blah). Downsides are that its obviously not new and I am on private servicing now, plus its a manual and we've recently switched offices to a place where a daily grinding commute is part of my life. I wish I had gotten an auto at times. 2) Get a new 3er. Not sure whether I'm that impressed though. See BMW forum for my test drive review. Can't get one here in Ireland until September at this stage anyway which means January 06 really. 3) I recently took the golf GTI for a test drive and I must say, it was the best fun I have had in a car in ages. It also appeals to me cos I can get the DSG and thus have the best of both worlds (sort of) as regards auto for my daily traffic grind with a bit of quasi-manual fun for back road blasting. Also, where I live is on street parking so I like the idea of having something thats much easier to park. My ONLY qualm about the GTI and this is where the embarassment bit comes the size of the boot I play golf every sunday and give a lift on alternate weekends to a mate of mine. I have serious reservations about my ability to get two sets of clubs plus 2 powakaddys in there. So I wanted to ask the question, is there anyone else out there who carries similar loads......I presume this can only be done by folding down the rear seats. I know that sounds simple in theory but I wonder would it become a PITA in real life? Please don't kill me for asking this question. I know a true GTI owner should be driving his car and not poncing around with girly sports like golf etc etc but unfortunately I'm hooked on both. Plus the Sunday morning 28 mile backroad blast to the golf club is actually the most enjoyment I get out of a car. C
  6. irish experience MK5 GTI

    Jr Whats your insurance like on it??? I have been out to Belgard motors and they only have a manual for demo. I am dying to try the DSG. I have vowed that my next car will be auto or quasi auto at least (I love driving but my daily grind through Dublin traffic is getting wearing and I am sick of the old, ride the clutch, realise I'm not going anywhere, into neutral, handbrake on for a couple of minutes, into first, advance forward 10 yards, repeat process for 40+ minutes routine) C
  7. E90 Test Drive

    Hehe M3me I agree with you....kinda like those Mr Kipling's apple pie carriers. But on the Lexus yeah for once I think it really could be an option. Having seen the pictures I think it looks pretty good and at least as good as the new three series. A friend had an IS200 and while I know all about the reliability etc it just didn't look special to me. I liked the dials in the interior but the rest of it was not inspiring. They look to have sorted that now and you know it will come with pretty much everything you could want as standard so it should be a compelling package. If it drives well also, and knowing lexus the noise suppression on the diesel will probably be class leading, then it should be a winner. The torque figure on that 2.2 diesel looks unbelievable. Only thing is, from what they have said there wont be an automatic option for the diesel which will put a lot of people off. Also, here in Ireland because we have an absolutely and utterly ridiculous Vehicle Taxation system, the diesel hops into a higher VRT bracket than the other sub 2 litre vehicles in the class which will load an extra few €k on to the price. C
  8. E90 Test Drive

    M3me Just a couple of points of clarification on my test drive. Firstly, although I don't like the look of the new dash in general, it seemed to me to be as well screwed together as the previous version and I'm sure it will prove to be as rattle free for most people. I just felt the plastics on the top half of the dash (which is now sort of stippled rather than the old "worn leather" type feel) were a bit...well Japanese frankly. Also, the 320i had I think a titanium trim (probably the default) and it looks very cheap. The 320d had the wlanut with black leather and it looked very dark and oppressive (even though for some reason I liked this combination on the previous three). I think the point is that people need to be very careful choosing their trim combinations with this car more so than any previous three. The best I have seen is the brochure beige leather/walnut combo. I think its no mystery BMW are using this in most of the promo shots and it looks quite nice. Just looking at the brochure, the beige leather combo also gets you beige headlining which means there are less clashing colours. I seem to remember (although I can't be positive) the 320d had a light grey headlining which clashed. I think the best combo with the black leather is the brushed aluminium trim which looks miles better than the titanium...they had this combo in a fully stacked 325i (which wasn't available for test drive). Which gets me round to the iDrive. TBH, I hear what you are saying about the iDrive but both the 320i/320d I drove didn't have it and the dash looks even more boring without it. Sure there are a few more buttons here and there but BMW interiors were never really overloaded with them anyway. I think the iDrive actually adds something to the look of the interior, but this is an irrelevance for me since I absolutely hate the thing and if it ever became compulsory on BMW's that would be reason enough for me not to buy one. Finally, I am sure the 325i you saw was the same as the fully loaded one my BMW dealer had. It had absolutely everything (electric sports seats with lumbar, sports steering wheel, idrive/nav upgraded hifi etc etc). You always need to be wary when falling in love with these since many peoples actual cars fall far short in spec with the showpieces. I think two things are essential though; the sports seats (they really are that good) and the sports steering wheel. It felt great and the standard one is boring. C
  9. E90 Test Drive

    Hi Folks Just thought I would post my impressions of the new E90 after my test drive on Saturday. Before I start I just wanted to say that before I went on this test drive, I had made my mind up that I would buy a new Three, the only issue being what type of engine to go for. I am saddened to say that I have come away unsure of whether I want a new Three Series at all, not because of any single particular failing but because the whole package left me feeling rather under whelmed. Anyway the test took place on Easter Saturday, which was great because the weather was fine and the BMW dealership was empty. They had two test cars available, a 320i Automatic and a 320d Manual. The salesman suggested a quick spin around the block in each of them. I asked whether I could get a decent drive in them and we settled for quick spin in one, followed by decent drive in the other. Since I am familiar with the 2 litre petrol engine from my 318ci, I decided the quick spin should be in the 320i, reasoning that I had less to learn about the performance of this car. Anyway, the car was fine and pretty much what I expected. The drive we went on was not long enough or on roads varied enough for me to say much but the engine is quiet, refined and probably a fine choice for people who don’t want/need major performance. I have to say though, it seemed far less lively than my 318ci. This is probably due to the automatic gearbox which I don’t think really suits an engine with as little torque as this one. I took a much longer drive in the 320d covering a variety of roads including motorway, fast smooth A roads and some twisty little B roads. The car covered all of these with aplomb and there were no surprises. The handling is very good, body control is great (I think it corners even flatter than my E46), and the ride quality is (to me at least) perfectly fine. If I hadn’t been told I wouldn’t have known there were runflat tyres. In terms of performance I must admit, when it gets up to speed this diesel is frankly astonishing when you consider its just 2 litres. There is so much torque on hand it doesn’t matter what gear you are in just put the foot down and it takes off. Overtaking is a total breeze and I am sure this puts most petrol engines to shame. The 330d is going to be unbelievable. In fact, unless 0-60 or traffic light bragging rights are your thing, its almost hard to see why anyone doing major mileage would ever choose a petrol when this is available. I say almost for two reasons. Firstly, taking off in first still sounds a bit like a tractor. Do not believe any of the reviews that say you can’t tell it’s a diesel without test driving first. You can. It still sounds chuggy and sluggish until it gets up to speed. The salesman said the diesel auto was much better in this regard but I can’t confirm or deny this. But it could be a problem for me because I do a lot of stop start driving in traffic so I could be hearing this a lot. Once you are in second or third however this disappears and its absolutely fine so if you do 20-40k miles per year of long distance etc its going to be perfect. Secondly, the pricing. I don’t know about the UK but here in Ireland, the 320d is €3,500 more expensive than the 320i in basic spec, and €4,500 more expensive than the 320i in SE spec. Yes you read that right. I queried it with the salesman and he confirmed it with a rather sheepish expression. The 320d and 320i are the exact same spec of car except engine. Adding SE spec to both (yes I confirmed it is the EXACT same additional equipment on both) costs an extra €1k for the diesel. How fecked up is that? Talk about blatant BMW exploitation of what they know is going to be the volume seller. I would be interested to learn if the same applies in the UK. So as you can see, if the performance doesn’t matter to you, the €4,500 you could save on the diesel could buy you a lot of toys so the 320i might be the better buy. So anyway, performance, ride and handling are all as expected so why am I disappointed? Well I must say, I absolutely HATE the new interior. Both cars I tried were absolutely manky and looked so low-rent it’s unbelievable. Audi won’t be quaking in their boots for another few years at least. I am one of those who loved the cockpit like feel of the old 3 series and the way the controls angled towards the driver. The new one looks so flat and uninspiring it just doesn’t appeal to me at all. The 320i had the basic (non-brushed) aluminium/titanium? Trim with grey leather and it was putrid looking. The 320d had Walnut trim with black leather ( a combo I didn’t mind in the old 3) and it just looked incredibly dull and oppressive. Neither felt like places I would want to spend a lot of time in. I also felt that the plastics have taken a turn for the worse, particularly those on the top half of the dash which have gotten harder and more of a stipple-like effect compared to the previous generation. The best interior trim combination I have seen so far is the one in the brochure with the Walnut/Beige leather. A few other annoyances. Indicator stalk. A couple of times while indicating I found the indicator didn’t cancel when the steering came back to centre like I expected. Then trying to manually cancel it I found it difficult to find a neutral position and often found myself indicating in the other direction. After a while I asked the salesman if it was just me and he said a lot of people had commented on it, and he found it difficult to get used to himself. It was caused by the new “lane-changing” feature where a quick flick of the indicators not down as far as the détente point gives you a few quick flashes for motorway lane changes. He said you get used to it after a while. Cruise control; Now on a stalk below the indicator. I don’t know what was wrong with the old system. Kept hitting it instead of the indicator but again I am sure this is something you would get used to. Start Button. Talk about a complete and utter instance of “innovation” for the sake of innovation. If anything, this is less convenient than the traditional key. Boot; while it has gone up in size a few new cubby hole dividers I think are going to prove to be a PITA when I am trying to load up a few sets of golf clubs. The 320d had the new laptop storage shelf in the boot and I reckon this totally obstructs the load area and will make things very difficult for people. Would not recommend it. Overall, the new three is probably a fine car, but it just didn’t wow me. I probably expected too much and the fact that I found the interior totally uninspiring was a big disappointment. I am sure it will sell in bucketloads though, and over here we are already looking at September delivery. This totally takes the decision out of my hands for the time being because our reg plate system really penalises cars based on year of registration. A September car is effectively one year old just 3 months later so theres no way I am ordering one yet. In fact, I think I shall wait and see how the coupe versions and the new Lexus IS250 turns out before making my mind up.
  10. Help me choose an engine for a new 3 Series!!!!!!!

    Thanks Folks I know a couple of you are sceptical but believe me, in Ireland at the moment for practically anything its a sellers market and car dealers are no exception. Sayerbloke, Its not that I didn't get on so well with the 320d loan car...its probably that I had such high expectations from all the reviews I had read which had said you couldn't tell it was a diesel. This is simply not true. Although as redlion has alluded to, the new 320d is supposed to be something special & I have heard that the sound insulation is better again than the previous model. Just wondering about something though from people that understand these things better. When I look on the BMW website, the 50-75 figure in 4th for the 320d is quoted as 6.5 seconds (same as the 330i) whereas the 325i gets just 7.5 seconds!! Does the 320d really trounce the 325 by that much or are those figures a bit misleading?? i.e. in the real world the 325 driver would probably drop to 3rd gear and his time would probably be faster whereas cruising in 4th at 50 the diesel drive is probably right bang in the middle of its optimum torque. Do I have this right? C
  11. Hi Folks I’m off to test drive the new 3 series on Saturday but am totally stumped as to what engine to order. My heart says get one of the sixes, my head says get the diesel. I live in Dublin in Ireland, do a mix of stop-start city driving and the once or twice weekly fun blast across country roads to the golf club which is the only time I get to really enjoy the performance of a car. My annual mileage is only around 8-10k so I have no real need for the fuel economy advantages the diesel has to offer. So why am I even considering it? Well because if you forget the 0-60 times, the in gear-performance (30-50 and 50-75) figures of the 320 diesel are (on paper at least) on a par with the 330 and substantially better than the 325. Then when you factor in that over here, the 320d is some €2,250 cheaper than the 325i and €7,450 cheaper than the 330i (due to our penal Vehicle Registration Tax system which penalises cars depending on cc), the diesel becomes a compelling option. Particularly as some of those savings could be piled into some nice options like the Logic7 sound, heated electric seats, nicer alloys etc But I am worried that if I order the diesel I will come to regret it later. My father in law has a 525 and I just love the silky smooth feel of the engine in that. Also, I know more and more car mags are claiming “you really can’t tell it’s a diesel” and so forth, but this is horses#%t. Last time my 320ci was in for servicing I had an E46 320d as a courtesy car and you could definitely tell the difference. I am sure some of you are wondering why I don’t just let the test drive sort it out. Well again, I don’t know what its like in the UK but here in Ireland, BMW/Merc/Audi dealers have a bit of a take it or leave it attitude. You are lucky if your “test-drive” gets you around the block. They won’t let me take two cars out back to back for half an hour each on my favourite roads. So with this in mind I was looking for opinions from people who have faced a similar dilemma. Can this 320d be considered a “performance” option? Do the quoted in gear acceleration times tell the whole story or are the sixes really faster when you factor in dropping cogs etc? Is the 320d good on twisty stuff or does the narrower revband show and leave you out of optimum gear? And finally, for the first time ever, I am considering getting an automatic. Heresy I know, but our office recently moved to a place where each day I face a certain amount of horrid, stop-start crawling traffic and the convenience appeals to me. Does any of the above even matter if I choose to get the auto option? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.