Been an interesting month and a half, 430d was awaiting EGR recall parts, so Eastern BMW loaned me an LCI 435d for the first month of the wait. Very similar spec on both cars, but a surprisingly different driving experience.
So what difference does 1 extra turbo and 2 extra diffs/driveshafts make? Well, the engine and torque delivery really is quite remarkable, the internet folklore isn’t without justification. My god it likes to rev! Same core 6 cylinder lump but the 35d’s extra low down torque is very noticeable, it also revs way quicker and carries a very different engine note.
Never actually got round to sticking my vbox in to see what the acceleration figures were like to compare against my 30d. Equally, I can’t comment off the line, I’m not in to traffic light grand-prix and have never really believed in roasting the nuts off a car someone has been kind enough to loan you. From on the roll to legal speeds on motorways & dual carriageways however, the buttdyno confirms it’s definitely quicker, despite some internet theories of the 30d having nearly the same power to weight ratio.
Ride is not such a favourable review, however. The extra couple of diffs, well actually the transfer case, require additional ride height for ground clearance and that’s why I didn’t consider a 35d when shopping for my 4 series. From an aesthetics point of view as much as dynamics. You don’t have to push the car down a twisty road to feel the suspension is a bit more ponderous, the higher ride and more roll just don’t give the same feel even through fairly mundane corners. Also, on the motorway in cross winds, it’s amazing how much more it wanders with the additional airflow getting under the car.
An interesting comparison was pre-LCI vs LCI. Most interesting, to me, was the different feel of the gearbox. It’s the same ZF 8hp unit, but the LCI version seemed to engage “coast” mode far more readily. Now that I have my car back, I’ve noticed it operates very differently. In both the 435d and subsequent 420i I was loaned [more about that at some other point], at anything over 30mph in EcoPro, lifting would have the car go in to coast mode. The revs would drop to idle and the car was coasting with clutches presumably disengaged to enable this. When asking for some engine braking via the paddles, say slowing slightly for traffic on the motorway, the first pull on the paddle would actually bring the car back in to 8th gear, then you would start going down the box. On my 430d, the first downshift pull on the paddle, immediately pulls the box down a gear. I like this feature quite a lot and may well see if there’s a gearbox software flash update available for my car to put the LCI map on it.
Other notable differences and my feelings on them:
- rear light clusters, LCI ones look great, another potential purchase…
- indicator/wiper stalks, dislike, rather a lot actually. They have reverted to latching style indicator stalks and that feels like a backwards step, also think the pre-LCI buttons on the end felt nicer to touch. Wiper stalk, you now have to move up one latch for auto, vastly prefer just pushing the button on the end per the pre-LCI. Also is it not a bit pointless leaving the adjuster for intermittent speed on the stalk when auto over-rides it…?
- iDrive, the more tablet style layout definitely has cool points, the info displayed is better, satnav route display is seriously cool. But at the same time, it’s added faff in some areas. Resetting the trip computer (when you haven’t left the car sitting long enough for autoreset to kick in) on my pre-LCI car is a push and a click. On the LCI you are click, scroll, click, push, push half back, click
- Digital instrument cluster, wow, love it. Don’t entirely like the lack of rev counter on eco-pro mode but that’s about all I can say that’s negative. The amount of data on display without it being cluttered is excellent
Few things I missed about mine that were purely spec:
- I know keyless entry is supposedly the devil and any kid with a scanner and game boy can steal your car, but my god it’s convenient!
- Extended storage pack for seat back nets and luggage net in the boot, you don’t realise just how useful they are until you no longer have them