Sorry folks, it’s been a while! But rest assured the BMW has been kept busy since the last update in, um, January – yikes. It has been ages. The 335i is nearing in on 10k with us already (and it’ll only have been ours a year in August), but with a house move, the birth of my son and his newfound appreciation (already!) for a drive to help him settle to sleep, the miles have been racking up.
Fortunately, I still love the Touring. Perhaps more than ever, in fact, having slept in it at the hospital, taken baby home for the first time in it, and packed junk in it to move out from London to Oxfordshire. I’ve never really owned a car long enough to have those significant experiences, and it’s great to be able to do these memorable things in a car I’m really fond of. To my eyes it’s still a great looking BMW (even if it’s never as clean now as it should be), I still love the interior, the straight six gurgle when it starts up and the fact it’s so rare – I’m yet to see another 335i Touring out there. (Though I have seen plenty of F31 Tourings in colors more appealing than Mineral Grey.) Some of this fondness will come from familiarity, of course, though I maintain this is actually a really good BMW as well. Which, thank goodness, does fit all the dog and baby paraphernalia in that’s required. Imagine the embarrassment if the family estate hadn’t been big enough. Longer trips away will be another challenge, but we’ll deal with that when the day comes. Certainly I can see why lots of 3 Series Tourings have roofboxes…
The tire fiasco seems a long time ago now, but I’m pleased to report the Michelin Pilot Sport 4s have been excellent; quieter, comfier and perhaps a tad grippier than the Continental run flats that were on there. I’m not sure they’ve done anything for the steering, which is seldom a non-M BMW strong point, though they haven’t made the sense of disconnection any worse. The rate the miles are going up I’ll need some new rears soon! Though they can wait until the MOT, tax, and insurance – all due in August – have been paid for, hopefully.
Speaking of costs, and however perverse it might sound, I’ve been using more super unleaded (there’s a Tesco with Momentum 99 pretty close), and it seems to be making a difference. How much is the desperate hope that so much money is actually doing something and how much is reality I’ll discover with some actual testing, but the car feels perkier, and the trip computer says MPG is up a tad.
I’ve also been using the 335’s drive modes more, given the roads around where I live now are no longer 20mph streets and the North Circular. Sport works when things are smoother and the steering heavier can sort of complement the firmer suspension but, honestly, it’s used seldom – the additional weight doesn’t bring much benefit to the experience. Eco Pro has probably been more useful, not least because it gets cross above 75mph; without trying, its softer throttle, advice on lifting off and more efficient air-con apparently add another 15 miles to a tank. Which isn’t nothing.
But it is a bit dull. With proper A- and B-roads to enjoy now the BMW feels much more at home, even if it is still left in Comfort. It doesn’t like rapid direction changes (or successive bumps) instead feeling right at home in longer turns where it’s really nicely balanced. As well as fast enough and just the right sort of size – the old ZF auto still works a treat, too. I know it could be made better to drive, less floaty and more precise, but that’s not going to come cheap. And it’s far from bad, really. With everything else going on right now, any desire to tinker with the BMW has been dulled somewhat.
One thing that will be sorted by next time, however, is the steering wheel. Only eight months later. I’m on Royal Steering Wheels’ site as we speak, because the leather is gross and really needs sorting. I promise that update will arrive rather sooner than this one did…
Because: 2014 BMW 335i M Sport Touring (F31)
Run by: Matt
Bought: August 2021
Purchase price: £19,500
Last month at a glance: Dog wagon becomes a dad wagon