I’ve always been a Jaguar man. I’ve had a succession of Sovereigns and more recently a V8 S type, so it came as a bit of a surprise to find myself the proud owner of a BMW 330Ci.
I attribute this change of heart to my wife who has always craved a convertible. Being an obedient and loving husband (I hope she’s reading this), we looked at the Audi, Jaguar XKR (oh yes please) and the BMW as our top targets.
The XKR is a truly wonderful car and with its supercharger has a phenomenal amount of power. But our two teenage sons and their assorted rugby and football paraphernalia meant there had to be a concession to practicality. Sadly the Jag was out of the running.
The Audi was up next. A good looking car with plenty of space and Top Gear-approved build quality, but it doesn’t have enough power.
However, don’t think for a second that the BMW was the best of a bad lot. It offers a splendid combination of space and power.
I’m proud to say that in a rare reversal of roles, while my wife was imagining driving through country lanes on a balmy spring night with the roof down I had an attack of the sensible and purchased the optional hard top.
Right now, with the British weather doing what it does best at this time of year, we are mightily glad of it. Aside from the heat and security the hard top provides added protection, which is welcome on long journeys.
The BMW has low profile tyres and firm suspension. This makes the car harsh on uneven roads and around town. But truth be told, I don’t need the ultimate driving experience on the way to Sainsbury’s.
Once on the open road the car comes into its own. The engine makes a glorious noise when given a bit of attention up through the semi-automatic gearbox, especially in sport mode.
BMW has been pretty generous with the gadgets too. I must admit that the heated seats proved to be a welcome luxury during a recent week of freezing mornings.