BMW 116d SE

Do BMW actually make a bad car?

After my brief tango with the Mercedes C220d at the start of June, I found myself in need of another car for August, to move my things from London to Wales in preparation for their ultimate shipment from the UK to the US.
I rebooked with Sixt, choosing as I did before the Mercedes A-Class ‘Prestige’ option, for just north of £200. That gave me the car from mid-morning Thursday to early morning the following Monday, with full insurance cover.

I was pleased when I found out that they had a BMW 1 Series for me, instead of a Merc A-Class. I was less pleased when I saw, written on the receipt, what model I was being given.
Whereas last time I was upgraded to the pretty-swish and pretty-loaded C220d, this time I was being given a 116d SE. Or, pretty much, the bottom of the range.

There were a few options installed – a quick check of the BMW configurator reveals that the car currently sat on the driveway would cost just a shade over £28,000 to buy outright – but the initial impressions were pretty disappointing. After owning an M135i, and having spent the weekend riding in and photographing an M140i, this was a big step back.

Or so I thought. Continue reading “BMW 116d SE”

Mercedes C220d

A staunch BMW monogamist is challenged by a svelte mistress from Stuttgart

w7jOhHq - ImgurI just want to get it out of the way right up front; I HATE the Mercedes COMAND system. The entertainment and vehicle control systems that ship with modern German luxury cars are all pretty advanced these days. You have the BMW iDrive system, with its fixed tablet on the dash and rotary wheel with optional touch pad. There’s the Audi MMI interface which now supplements the central screen on most models with an awesome ‘Virtual Cockpit’ display that replaces the dials with a TFT to show all manner of data, including maps and navigation. Then you have the Mercedes COMAND system.

It’s just atrocious. A shame really, as the car itself is really very good.

Continue reading “Mercedes C220d”

The Beginning: A Prologue

In The Beginning, there was a job. And, for a time, it was good.

I had been working in IT for a software company for a little over two years and was, on the whole, loving life. I had spent a year living in London, occasionally enjoying all of the things it has to offer, with two lovely flatmates, and I loved what I did and who I did it for. I had travelled the world – well, some of it – with stints in Paris, Munich, East Germany, and the United States.
Colleagues had become friends who had become travel buddies, and along with the decent salary we had explored the snowy mountains of New Hampshire, the concrete canyons of New York City, the sun-kissed beaches of Miami and Key West, and were due a trip to Tuscany, Italy in the first part of the year and an even bigger trip back to the US in October.

OBeginning-BMWn an even more personal note, I was readying myself to take that next step into adulthood – buying my own property. I had just bought (well, leased) myself my first properly new car – a BMW M135i – after a few years of vehicular strife (that’s another long story) and during that process had stumbled upon a property being sold by a friend’s uncle.

I packed up my things, left London for a short stay with my parents back in (much more rural) Wales and prepared myself for the Next Big Adventure.

Then, everything changed.

Continue reading “The Beginning: A Prologue”