PH Blog: Hopping continents in the new 3 Series

Snow in the Pyrenees, but roads perfect
Snow in the Pyrenees, but roads perfect
In retrospect, 730 miles was a bit too much. Despite starting off from Valencia at 6am, and despite - er - pushing on during the quieter stretches of autopista and autoroute, my run up to Poitiers was a 13-hour slog.

Healthy diet crucial
Healthy diet crucial
But it was my Red Bull-addled brain that suffered, rather than the new F30 BMW 335i. I arrived in Poitiers twitching with caffeine, and red-eyed, but having experienced one of the best drives of my life.

Why? Because the 335i lapped up everything I could throw at it. Prior to setting off I figured the mind-numbing monotony of thinly-trafficked continental motorways (and the gendarmes' habit of hiding on bridges like snipers) would not be good for my sanity. To stave-off looming madness I therefore decided to use the (genuinely excellent) sat-nav to plot in sections of twisty single carriageway routes departementales and routes nationaux.

Saw the sign. Made a stop
Saw the sign. Made a stop
The 335i proved itself a master of all trades. It was totally at home cruising at motorway pace, delivering 35-ish mpg. Switch the 8-speed auto into 'S' (or even the manual setting), wind up the 'Driver Performance Control' to Sport and switch the traction control off (but leave the ESP to catch you) and it would tackle twisty mountain passes with gusto (and a gloriously gurgly straight-six soundtrack. And for the inevitable trundles though towns and villages, there's the start-stop mode, refined drivetrain and cosseting cabin to keep you a) frugal and b) comfortable.

When the roads were boring, our particular 335i had plenty to keep me entertained, too, with the usual iDrive iPod hook-up complementing a cracking sound system. The gadget count was through the roof, too, with a thoroughly effective head-up display (a class first) auto-dipping headlights, camera-based speed limit detection system, cruise control, reversing cameras (back and sides), lane departure warning, electric seats, an electric sunroof and plenty of other fiddle-worthy goodies.


So the moral of the story? Don't voluntarily attempt a 700-mile one-day trek on your own (at least without caffeine-based support). But if you do have to do it, it's hard to think of a better tool for the job than the new BMW 335i.

Riggers

PS - full and 'proper' driving impressions coming soon

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Comments (51) Join the discussion on the forum

  • jkhamler 14 Feb 2012

    I want to work for PH!

  • robinessex 14 Feb 2012

    Er, average speed = 53.15384615 mph. Once upon a time, you could floor the gas pedal on the continent, not nowadays. Anyone read the epic CAR article on 3 Lambo's being driven from the factory to the UK. Speeds were +150 some of the time.

  • Riggers 14 Feb 2012

    robinessex said:
    Er, average speed = 53.15384615 mph. Once upon a time, you could floor the gas pedal on the continent, not nowadays. Anyone read the epic CAR article on 3 Lambo's being driven from the factory to the UK. Speeds were +150 some of the time.
    A legendary article - and a feat we can't really repeat in the 21st century frown

    Aye, but that does include at least 250 miles off the motorway (Perpignan to Foix is a particularly lovely stretch for those who are Google Maps inclined... )

  • New Scot 14 Feb 2012

    Happy days! Reminds me of when I used to do London-Leeds-Manchester-London in a day in my company Capri 1.6XL! Long time ago, the mid '70s...

  • Garlick 14 Feb 2012

    Nice one Riggers.

    I remember doing Turin-London in one slog in the PH Mini Cooper S in 2008. Was a great drive until I realised that fannying about in the mountains wasn't getting me very far, and had to head to the autoroutes to make my channel crossing.


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