walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Loaner car review: BMW 328i with x drive

So, I wouldn't have bought this car. But I have to say, if you have to get a loaner car in the winter time, this is pretty fucking awesome.

What happened, you might ask, that resulted in you driving this as a loaner car?

As regular readers recall, back in August I test drove three electric drive cars: the Tesla (nice car, hated the very reclined seating position -- remember this point), the Leaf (kinda gutless, but nothing wrong with it. Just A Car, basically, that happens to be electric) and the i3, which I bought in the Rex incarnation.

I continue to love the i3, however, early in December, the check engine icon came on. I initially freaked out, but then I went, wait a second. This is a relatively new model and has more electronics in it than, well, any other car out there except possibly the Tesla. I brought it in the next day and they said it was a sensor for the gas tank and not too worrisome, bring it back when they had loaners. Alas, I was out of town the 19th through the 30th, so the next opportunity to bring it in and get a loaner was yesterday. So, still not yet back to East Coast time, I rolled out of bed at 6 a.m. to be presentable for dropping the thing off at 7 a.m. in Sudbury, where they gave me the loaner car I am now reviewing. They had an i8 on the floor, which was the second pre-sold i8 they've had in. Apparently no one there has driven one yet and test drives are totally out of the question. Ah well.

Where was I? I really wanted to test the i3 in the snow, to determine whether I needed to order Blizzaks or whether the all seasons would be acceptable. But since they gave me the x drive, I thought, hey, let's go for a little drive in this loaner, now that there's some snow on the ground, and before the plows totally clear it out of the way. I took my son over to Talbot's to exchange some clothing, and then popped into EMS while we were there. There was a decent amount of coverage on the ground after an hour. If only I'd brought my snow tool (sweeper/scraper) out of the i3 and put it in the loaner! I cleared the driver window and windshield with a hankie and we continued, carefully, on our way.

I drove a moderate (20, give or take) speed home, occasionally drifting up near 30 when everything felt okay. There wasn't any bare pavement, and the turn I took without stopping (from 27 to Mass Ave) resulted in no drift whatsoever. Not sure if the stability control came on -- I didn't see a light, but I could have missed it. There was this feeling of ... something, which made me go, hey, this x drive is A-OK.

The seating position is more reclined than I prefer. The headliner feels real low. It has a sun roof; I hate those, too (I have sensory issues with high angle lighting, aka, the sun). I think the loaner doesn't have a navigation system, which is a bummer, but I'm sure you can get it as an option. There's a whole lot going on around the driver, which after the spareness of the i3 feels cramped, but isn't actually uncomfortable.

I used to date a guy who had a 3 series in the late 1990s, and taking that down I-5 to Portland to open it up somewhere south of Olympia on a nice, sunny day was a pure joy. No place around here to do that, and honestly, I'm probably too middle aged now to do it anyway. If I didn't hate sedans so much, I might really like this car. (I understand you can now get the wagon version even here in the states, which is kinda cool. That might be tempting. Except, you know, I love my i3.)

ETA: You know, between the tone of this, the Talbot's reference and the products being reviewed, I realize I sound like the kind of person who annoys the crap out of me. Sorry! My much more tasteful Secret Santa T. (thanks! Also, she violated the dollar limit on Secret Santa approximately as much as I usually do, so it's nice to know I figured out more or less how and when to violate that particular rule in letter but not in spirit) sent me beautiful clothes, alas, I'm too fat to wear them, so I went to switch them to a size that worked for me. I don't normally shop there, because I don't actually have taste.
Tags: not-a-book-review
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