Ride On a Smooth Road
|09/13/2012||Posted by under Carburetor Parts|
The ride is excellent on the standard dampers (higher-spec Evoques get adaptive items), the resistance to lean surprising and the lack of 4WD all but unnoticeable. But 148bhp really isn’t enough to provide the kind of urge to keep you sane, let alone amused. You’d get annoyed with this after a bit, and although the 29,710 189bhp version is better, it only comes in mostly unnecessary 4WD format. It’s a quandary not easily answered here. Meanwhile, the DSS is again a surprise, but this time for the wrong reasons. The engine and transmission are innocuous enough to go unnoticed – punchy, but not fast, slick, but not involving – arguably a good thing in a car like this. But where I was expecting something soft and graceful, the antithesis of the 3-Series’s perceived thrusting dynamics, the DSS’s ride is actually annoyingly harsh.
On a smooth road, the Citroen almost gets away with it, translating the stiffness transmitted through the good-looking but ride-exploding 19- inch wheels into a flat and grippy attitude, but it feels like a vortex of mixed messages. You’re sat in a lovely escapist pod, expecting beautiful isolation, and you find yourself shoved back into a world filled with potholes, speed bumps and expansion joints. Because, believe me, you feel every one.
It almost pains me to say this, but the Three Twenty Dee is imperious and annoyingly good. Even on the optional Sport 19-inch wheels and run-flat tyres, it rides with an easy slickness that must turn the other manufacturers green. The body control is a wonder, the way the engine thrums through the rev-range as lag-free as it gets for a turbodiesel. It feels more like a broad-shouldered, low-revving GTI. In fact, it feels so together, so jigsaw-tight, that you forget it’s an ‘average’ diesel saloon and just enjoy driving it. And that’s enjoyment wafting down the motorway or having a bit of fun down a lane. It’s also fast: 62mph in 7.5 seconds – roughly a second quicker than the CC, two seconds quicker than the DSS and three-and-a-bits the Evoque, helped by a trim kerbweight of ISOS kg; S2kg fewer than the CC, 120 fewer than the Evoque and an enormous couple of hundred fewer than the DSS.
And there are other nails for the group coffin. Trawl the figures, and the 320d is the cleanest car here in terms of CO2, kicking it into the lowest VED band. It has the highest quoted combined mpg and isn’t even the hardest to insure at Group 31 – the Range Rover being one group higher at 32. There are other model variants for each of the cars here that can beat the BMW in specific areas, but no one model runs it close on every parameter.
The CC is fairly easy to ignore. If you want a German saloon that’s not a BMW, then you’re better off just going for one of the usual suspects from Audi or Merc. The Evoque is just too slow in 148bhp format, even though the 2WD chassis is perfectly capable and the styling supermodel-worthy, And, although I’d love to be brave and go for the really quite fabulous DSS, the ride quality means it gets relegated to joint second with the Evoque. A car whose overarching spread of talents hands it the win, no matter how far you cast the net. There are viable alternatives out there, but when it comes down to it, BMW still has the bases covered.