This car is assembled in Kulim, Malaysia for the Malaysian market. It is a facelift model from the previous year. There are some cosmetic changes, quite noticeably the tail lamps. The white portion tail lamps which was prominent on both sides is now gone. In its place is a slimmer profile of red coloured tail lamps. Other cosmetic changes which are more subtle are on the headlamps, kidney grill and bumper. Overall the car looks more aerodynamic.
Once inside, its nice and cozy. The high quality leather seats are firm, comfortable and are electronically adjustable. The dashboard features the Aluminum Glacier Silver interior trim with all the fittings, instruments and safety features which you expect from BMW.
One major addition to this 2009 model is the I Drive which was only available in the 5 series or higher previously. The I Drive features a controller knob at the centre console with an 8.8 inch monitor mounted in the dashboard. It allows you to access/control the car’s internal climate, entertainment (CD/Radio), car diagnostic system and Navigation (GPS).
Start the engine and you’ll notice it’s quite loud from the outside but relatively silent inside. As this is a 6 cylinder engine, it idles smoothly. Being well insulated, you’ll generally not hear much engine noise unless you push the car hard.
If you are light footed like me you might notice a bit of a power lag at certain times when you step on the accelerator. I don’t think this due to the lack of horsepower or torque (this being a 200hp car) but perhaps a combination of other factors like the ECU program, the weight and being a rear wheel drive car?
Nevertheless, this does not impair the car’s performance. The lag in power may be a good thing especially when you start up and drive the car at close quarters as this will give better control with no sudden acceleration. Once the RPM hits above 2k there is a surge of power and speed, and it is easy to breach the speed limit.
This car has the M leather steering wheel design with gearshift paddles. I prefer this thicker rim as it provides a firmer grip compared to the other steering wheel designs.
This sample model comes with 6 speed automatic transmission with options for manual mode via the gearshift paddles or the Steptronic gear change. It took a while to get used to the gearshift paddles. You’ll need to time your acceleration with the gearshift paddles to derive the maximum benefit otherwise you may end up slower than driving in full Auto!
You can also engage the car manually using the Steptronic gear change instead of the gearshift paddles. I found that the car was more responsive using the Steptronic gear change in manual mode.
The feedback from the steering is good and you get tons of grip and good traction due to low profile tyres and firm suspension. Being a well engineered and built, the car is well balanced on the road.
Wheels are 18 inch low profile run flat tyres which gives firm grip at the expense of some discomfort when you go thru bumps on the road. Perhaps 16-17 inch wheels with slightly thicker profile tyres may have been more suitable for the car? A point to note, this car rides quite low. Do not go thru large humps on the road in a hurry unless you want to risk hitting the undercarriage.
The sound system is better on this model. The previous year’s model tended to sound bass heavy by default and I had to tone down the bass to make it palatable. This time, the sound is better balanced without any major adjustments.
Driving at night is a breeze with the Xenon headlights. At night, the main dashboard lights up in amber. Hopefully for future models BMW would consider upgrading the design of its dashboard as it appears a bit ‘dated’ compared to its rivals.
|Engine:||6 cylinder in line petrol engine with Valvetronic|
|Acceleration 0-100km:||7.7 sec|
Source: BMW Brochure
Note: Please reconfirm the above specifications with an authorized BMW dealer.