Living with the new F20: Hits and Misses and Loves
We have just done a 100 miles in the new F20 but I am already enjoying driving this car more than I ever did the E87 we retired. I am not saying my regular F07 or the Maser are being left idle just yet. But this is an incredibly competent car for what it does (and does well). I am sure all of you feel the same way so we made a good choice!
There are the 3 things i am not so impressed with:
1. Ergonomics of the dashboard display: the bottom line of the OBC info display is completely obscured by the top of the steering column in most steering positions. The Black-Panel Dashboard option on the F20 - which is not half as good as the F01/F07/F12/F13 versions - may be a bit better.
2. The standard internal lights are poor. The ambient lighting that comes with the extended lighting package should be standard - I am going to try and look for a retrofit atleast for the front!
3. The servotronic power steering is over-assisted at low speed and I had a few confused seconds a few times when the steering didn't seem to correspond with the actual wheels! It needs to be weighted a bit, keep it a bit more natural.
The car has crystallised for me that:
1. You definitely want to tick the VISIBILITY PACK option: brighter, clearer vision and a good cornering function, plus makes the car look infinitely better
2. The DRIVER COMFORT PACK adds cruise control and servotronic power steering, surprising how both add so much to the premium feel and driving characteristics (and partly why I love this car more than ever!)
3. BMW ECOPRO is more than marketing spin; impressed how the full raft of efficiency measures adds miles when the relaxed driving style is appropriate, especially in town driving. Not recommended on A-roads and motorways though.
4. The additional rear legroom and bootspace makes this car more practical and usable.
5. The 116i has a lot of go (for an engine that size) and you should check it out before presuming you need the 118i or 120i. The 116i appears to have more usuable torque than the 116d or 118d at the lights.
For the F20, I am not sweating it on the:
1. Professional SatNav: The Sept 2012 iOs6 release will add turn by turn navigation and SatNav with rich 3D graphics on the iPhone and iPad - also voice assisted by Siri
2. Leather seats: this is my first BMW with cloth seats and though i have it treated with Supaguard, i am finding they are quite good: comfortable, easy to keep clean.
Futureproof you car with:
1. DAB/DAB+ radio - it is absolutely fab, better still with Audio HiFi
2. BMW Apps (requires Professional Media) because BMW are adding more and more interesting functionality every 3 months
I thought the headlights would be a bit of an acquired taste but surprisingly in the metal, with the contoured long bonnet, it looks quite good and better still with the LED corona rings.