Cars & Bikes
Sedan strikes sudden
Readying for a bungee jump from the parapet of Macau's tallest tower was scary, even though I was safely harnessed. And it was over in seconds as I dropped spreadeagled rushing to meet people who till recently looked like ants.
Paragliding on a cool morning from the hills of Kamshet was a thrilling experience as the craft went down slowly to
meet the green carpet of the valley. Still, I wasn't ready for the smooth-as-butterdrive that I took on the world's finest
We were on the Baroda-Ahmedabad expressway at the invitation of Ahmedabad's Parsoli Motors on a February afternoon with hardly much traffic and it was a sheer driving pleasure that made me promise myself (don't know when this will be fulfilled): If I ever go for a sedan, it would be none other than the 325i BMW, preferably sparkling
| graphite! No, not Alpine White (makes you feel you're a politician) and neither a Black Sapphire (I'm not in the coveted Forbes list).
You can recognise a BMW with eyes closed. It is enough to run your hand over its surfaces, to feel its unmistakable
quality. The precise workmanship of the upholstery, the firm grip of the steering wheel, the high-quality chrome trim. Open your eyes, and the BMW 3 Series Sedan confirms your first impressions.
The 325i, like its lesser 3 Series siblings (320i, 320d and 320d Highline), looks impressive. In fact, it's a stunner on wheels. There's visual interest from every angle on the car. The bulbous snout with its nostril-like openings flanked by piercing headlights reminds me of a charging bull. The flared wheel openings and rising horizontal body lines along the sides of the car give a dynamic sense of movement even in repose. The BMW 3 Series Sedan is the expression of one idea: to provide a suitable body for the most athletic sedan in its class. Seams and gaps, beautiful chrome accents - there's not a cheap or chintzy detail anywhere on the 325i.
Making myself comfortable on the Dakota leather driver's seat that came with memory function – one can choose from different positions – I was ready. In fact, before the engine has even started, I had already arrived. How is that possible? Test the remarkably spacious, comfortable seats in the BMW 3 Series Sedan and you'll understand. The sports seats, with their excellent side support, are perfect for dynamic driving, and make the longest journey a relaxed pleasure.
Next, reach to the central console and touch the Start/Stop button with the tip of your finger. Instantly an electronic
signal wakes the engine to life. A tiny vibration, almost indiscernible, makes itself felt on your fingertip, and moves into your entire body.
Lighter, faster, more powerful and more efficient: no other element of an automobile defines its character as much as its engine. The all-new straight six-cylinder petrol engine, constructed from a combination of magnesium and aluminium, sets new standards for dynamic engineering. It runs with a sophisticated smoothness that belies its massive power output. It tells you: under the bonnet, the power unit of the BMW 3 Series Sedan is ready to take you anywhere.
Whoever said that taking the seat was easy but leaving it difficult was repeating a truism. We began at 40 kmph, moving very leisurely, with shrubs of bougainvilleas in pink and orange growing on the traffic island for company, when Sikanderbhai (our chauffeur from Parsoli Motors) goaded me to speed up.
I was touching 140 kmph within seconds (8.7 seconds I'm told). Camels carrying the villagers' loads on the other side became a blur. The decorations on trucks and lorries lined up on the edge of the road become a rainbow. It was only when I slowly applied the brakes to avoid a truck ahead that I realised we had crossed 180 kmph. Wow! A sports sedan indeed! I felt I was Michael Jordan on wheels!
The 325i grew on me like no other car I've ever driven. Indeed, the more I drove the rear-wheel drive 325i, the more enamoured I became. The car slices through traffic like a knife. In traffic, the 325i is civilized. Get some open road and you really start wishing for time on a German autobahn. At the upper ends of the speed limit (and, I must confess, a little above the speed limit), the 325i really settles in. Stability at speed breeds confidence in a driver, and the 325i made me feel like I was part of the machine.
On the luxury side of the equation, the 325i is quiet, smooth and elegant in motion. The sport suspension is firm, but still delivers a comfortable ride. The car is not plush, it doesn't overwhelm you with standard features - every detail seems designed toward making the driving experience purer. High-end features like rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic headlight control, automatic climate control all help keep your mind on the road.
Engineered emotion is how the Bavaria-based automobile giant explains the 3 Series, thanks to its visionary design and lightweight construction. Indeed, the car moved exactly where you wanted it to, exactly how you think it would.
Featuring 50:50 weight distribution and rear wheel-drive, the BMW 3 Series optimises car weight transfer while accelerating and enhances on-road handling. The sedan is prepared to take on any challenge the road has to offer; even
with a puncture or flat, with runflat tyres you can drive the car for another 250 km to reach a workshop.
The 3 Series has many features that ensure your safety. A precisely-designed network of suspension, engine manage-ment, brakes and tyres, plus an array of electronic sensors, all with one single objective: to keep the BMW 3 Series
Sedan safely on track, even in the most demanding situations. Its intelligent combination of state-of-the-art safety elements makes the BMW 3 Series Sedan one of the safest vehicles on the road. The six standard airbags are deployed as needed. The restraint system, featuring seatbelt tensioners and force limiters, delivers split-second protection for the vehicle's occupants, should a collision be unavoidable.
The latest generation of BMW's iDrive brings instant access to multimedia and comfort features, you can watch your favourite programme on Discovery or make your kid happy playing the Emosanal Atyachar song on FM as the ten speakers come alive. Handling these are very easy for the multifunction sports leather steering wheel puts instant control at your finger tips: Right to continue, left for back and turn to select. The new iDrive gives you full control over all of the BMW 3 Series sedan's functions, from the navigation system to the Internet. You can access the most important functions directly using the assigned buttons. Information is displayed on the Control Display above the centre console. This enables you to keep your eyes on the road and your mind free to concentrate on uninterrupted driving pleasure.
Though I did not do any night driving, I was informed that at night the xenon headlights move in harmony with the bend ahead: the beams of the 3 Series' headlights stay on the road. Sensors in the sedan monitor the rate of yaw, the steering angle and the vehicle's speed. The result: outstanding illumination and a more relaxed driving experience.
Adding to your safety, the highbeam assistant gauges the driving conditions around you and, if it is necessary, turns your car's high-beam lights on and off by itself. When the system is activated, an image sensor mounted on the inside of the front mirror checks the traffic and light conditions. Using the resulting images, this assistant decides if high-beam lights are needed. In oncoming traffic, when you are driving behind another vehicle, or if the ambient light is strong enough, the
high-beam assistant turns off the highbeam headlights. It's like driving during daytime!
You're driving up a hill and want to view the Ursula Major, use the car's remote control unit and the electric glass sliding roof with wind deflector brings the sky to you. Park Distance Control (PDC) makes parking in confined spaces a breeze. An acoustic signal indicates the distance between the vehicle and any obstacle. The electrochromatic anti-dazzle mirrors modify their permeability to light and darkness accordingly. The Dynamic Stability Control prevents the car from skidding
by subtly intervening and braking individual wheels as and when needed.
The 3 Series' long-running double act is truly extraordinary: It speaks the language of driving enthusiasts, yet its upscale image and comfortable interior give it unrivalled mass appeal. Taking your seat is so easy. Leaving it, however, never is.