Had a F30 330d for a few days, including over the weekend. Thought I would share some comparison thoughts on the key differences. ( my previous cars were a 530d then a 330d, so I have been looking forward to getting my hands on the new F30, especially as I had one on order before i heard about the M135i )
Now, i think the BMW 3L is the best diesel engine period and I used to really quite like the sound in my previous cars. But i have been spoilt by the 35i, really spoilt.
Cold startup on the 330d...hmm. Dag Dag Dag and as you pull away a surprising amount of diesel like noise. It soon quitenens down though and once warm falls into the background. When being thrashed there is a turbine like wine, before a gruff, but pleasant 6 pot diesel snarl from 3k revs onwards.
In comparison, starting the M-lite is a smiling inducing event that often involves leaving doors or windows open to hear that amazing cold start event!
The 330d dumps it massive amount of torque very early, which lights up the pretty awesome looking 19's. In fact I found fast starts quite a challenge (it did have summers on but the temp was 9.5c so they should have been fine). The 330d is really best when rolling and from 50mph+ its aneffortless cruiser that makes it a great GT. It changes up at 4.5k revs, so things never get too noisy or dramatic.
By contrast, the M-lIte feels quite a bit faster to 60, as it seems to be able to get all it power down - it hen bangs through the gears far morenoisily up to that 7.2k red line. (The book 0-60 times are 5.6 for the 330d and 4.9 M135i)
Both cars have the same Sport Auto, but the 35i seemsmovethroughthe ratio's slighter quicker (Is this just a trait of petrol engine) Its ratio's are also shorter...
At 70, the 330d is doing an amazing low 1,600 revs compared to 2,000 in the M-Lite.
Economy was roughly 10-15 mpg better than the m135i depending on the driving. i got 48mpg on one gentle run home and when I drove it like I stole it....it still averaged 35mpg! I think on the motorway this car will get comfortably get into the 60s. Of course this is offset a bit by premium Diesel being more expensive than Super UL, plus the 330d took about 15 miles to fully warm up.
The 330d is big car and you do feel the extra 100+kg. would say its not far off in sizeto the e60 5 series now (even the boot is almost the same size)....so the car feels more floaty and rolls a more compared to the m135.
However, it didn't have adaptive suspension, so not a wholly fair comparison. But overall. its got great balance and allows you to really flow around corners. The more I had it the more confidence I got, and the standard M Sport suspension is much improved ov the previous generation - although the 19s over potholes and even cateyes can jolt in th cabin. Again this aligns to my view that this so more GT, and when the 4 series coupe arrives it will then have the GT look as well.
The big surprise was the difference in feel due to the the lack of VSS (Variable Sport Steering). The normal rack feels slow and required a lot more movement to get out of the dealer car park. First few roundabouts again, car needed a lot more steering input to get it fully move. In contrast, VSS makes the M135i feel sharper and quick to respond...very impressed at this feature.
Equipment / Interior
I need to mention the adaptive lights. My M135i has this too, but the 1er auto dipping feature is very simple (it just dips when there is a carin front). The 3 series system will leave full beam on and shine the lights around the cars! This can means a cartravelingahead of you (or even towards you) is in shadow but either side of them is brilliant Xenon daylight - it's amazing to see and works very well (lots of YouTube vids like this):
Otherwise, the cabin and kit is more or less the same as the 1er. Except, they have enclosed the center front vents in the Alu trim - and this does look better.
The 330d has a oil temp gauge (still a huge miss on the m135i). It also had HK, which while better than the business free upgrade, wasn't the leap in quality I was expecting (the caveat here is, I may be age to tell more difference more when I go back to 'down' to the business system)
The 330d also had a sunroof - found myself using this quite a bit and the extra light is lovely.
The missus said she preferred the look of the 3 series, and i tend to agree. However, this imo is mainly down to the headlights - just spot on and much more aggressive.
Overall, I really liked the 330d... although it took a while to adjust after the petrol. But, I made the right choice with the M135i and for my mileage gives me a lot of fun, for reasonable running costs. Any more mileage or if I did a lot of motorway again (it seemed far quieter than the 1er), the 330d would be top of the list