Our Cars: BMW 330d xDrive Touring

13 December 2019: How do you fix a BMW folding door mirror?

The Details

Current mileage 1147
Claimed economy 49.6-51.4
Actual economy 40.5mpg

I first noticed something wasn't quite right when the offside door mirror started making a strange gurgling sound as it slowly folded out one morning. Then, as I was getting ready to go home from our office in the evening, it made a clicking noise as I unlocked the car. It then stopped working altogether, in the open position. 

On the face of it, a faulty but open door mirror shouldn't present too many problems, right? Wrong. The angle of the glass had adjusted itself and this meant I had to crane my neck everytime I wanted to check a motorway lane or reverse the vehicle. The electronic mirror controls - located on the driver's door had also stopped working, which meant I couldn’t make any adjustments.

On the plus side, I could actually drive the car. And this meant I could take it to my local BMW dealer in Cambridge to have it checked. And after a brief chat with the service manager, he came out and examined the door mirror and said "it's broken mate, you'll have to book it in."

To the dealer's credit, they managed to get me booked in within a week, but the diagnosis wasn't good. The problem was being caused by the door mirror housing. What’s more, it was apparently a common fault, too. The dealer was clean out of replacements and it's going to take three or four weeks to arrive. 

BMW Mirror 2

Given the premium status (and price tag), this is not a very good start to life with the BMW 330d. And if I was a proper customer - and not a test car journalist - I would be extremely disappointed that my expensive family estate car had succumbed to some form of electrical gremlins within a couple of weeks of delivery. 

Despite the problems, I do have to say the 330d is a cracking thing to drive. The six-cylinder diesel engine is a truly brilliant diesel engine and the mechanical set-up of the four-wheel drive system is also excellent, with the xDrive's rear-biased set-up ensuring that you get that the feel of a rear-wheel drive car for pretty much 90 per cent of the time.

This means the 330d xDrive feels very much like a traditional 3 Series on the road, with big kicks of acceleration from the rear and vice-like grip on the road, aided by its 19-inch wheels and sports suspension. The adaptive dampers will also lower the ride height by up to 10mm, to match the vehicle load and road conditions. In short, it sticks to the road like glue. 

Those swish wheels and sports car-like handling does sacrifice comfort on rough roads, with potholes thundering through the cabin. This is typical of most cars with adaptive dampers, with the system simply being unable to react in time to absorb the sudden and violent jolt of a small hole in the road. It's not ideal - some owners will hate this trait - but if you want sports car handling from your family estate, it is a necessary evil. And for me, the handling benefits of the 330d far outweigh the occasional discomfort of a pothole.

« Earlier: Say hello to our new BMW 330d Touring     Later: Happiness is a warm gunmetal grey 3 Series Touring »

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