BMW 430d xDrive – the best all rounder?

Aside from BMW dropping the 3 series coupe post the e92 and instead introducing the new 4 series. How does this new car fare?

The new BMW 430d features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine. This new engine pushes out an impressive 258bhp and 560Nm of Torque. In the M-Sport trim with some very tasty M Performance carbon fibre upgrades, the car I drove had the looks to go with its performance.

The biggest difference from the old e92 330d, is the introduction of BMW’s four-wheel drive system, called xDrive. This is the first time I’ve driven a BMW that is not rear-wheel drive. Luckily, or unluckily the weather was appalling when I drove the car out in the Brecon Beacons, which meant I was really able to test the new xDrive system.

Having owned and driven a host of Audi Quatto’s before (S3, A4 3.0tdi etc.) I had expectations of an understeer machine with very little involvement. But that all changed as soon as I jumped in and got on the move..

So lets take a look in more detail

Steering

The steering whilst not the most full of feedback did have a very nice weight to it, particularly in the more firmed up Sport/Sport+ settings. It certainly felt better than most Audi Quattro’s I have driven, which surprised me. It was still very precise in the firmer settings.

Handling and Ride

Ride quality, even on the M-Sport suspension and 19-inch wheels, was excellent and, even in the appalling conditions we were contending with I never felt like the car was out of control, even when pushing on. A characteristic of some new BMW’s I have drive is that over bumpy roads they become unsettled but not this, the 430d just turned in with no fuss and then you could get back on the power quickly and fire out of the corner exit.

This car offers great levels of comfort, where you could quite comfortably do long motorway cruises, or cross country road trips and this car would just eat up the miles whilst leaving you comfortable and relatively refreshed.

Performance

This car is honestly like a rocket ship. It’ll race from 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds (three tenths faster than the rear-wheel drive car), while the massive 560Nm torque figure means pick up anywhere in the mid range is frankly astounding. If you lose concentration even for a second, it’ll easily have you doing illegal speeds with you right foot pressed.

It is impressive the power modern diesels produce.

xDrive

The xDrive system will send 60 per cent of its power to the rear most of the time, making it feel much like a normal BMW from behind the wheel. As the road conditions got trickier, however, you can feel it pushing more torque to the front to shore up grip where it’s needed most.

I was really surprised by it, it’s a really well sorted system, and at times can show an all-wheel-drive Audi it’s sporty behind.

The extra grip is obviously most welcome in bends, but don’t get confused in thinking that it will make the drive boring… Sport+ still allows slip so in the soaking went you could enter a sharp hairpin slowly, pin the throttle and get the rear end rotating. It can be a bit snappy sometimes but generally if you know what to expect it is easy to have some fun.

Interior

The interior was pretty standard BMW, nice high quality materials throughout and a well thought out drivers ‘cockpit’.

My only ‘criticism’ – I use term loosely – of BMW interiors is that they all almost look and feel the same, I admit some of the materials in the 1 series aren’t as nice as in the 4 but on the surface of it, it looks and feels the same.

Final thoughts

So overall I think the new 430d xDrive is great to look at, particularly with the splashings of carbon fibre courtesy of BMW M performance parts like the car I drove had, and surprisingly even better to drive.

The 430d offers blistering real world performance whilst returning reasonable economy. It will happily eat up motorway miles whilst you sit in comfort or alternatively will enjoy a B road blast, with the new xDrive system adding a new driving dynamic and allowing you to press on whatever the weather.

 

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