BMW 318d Review and Road Test – The Road to Venlo

By Christian Stampfer on 1 February 2011
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In Roman times, the Netherlands city of Venlo (then known as Blariacum) was a major trading post.  Today, thanks to the city’s location directly on the German border, Venlo attracts shoppers from Germany thanks to low prices on a variety of merchandise, and many companies have a large presence, there including Océ, a global leader in digital document management. Filling up one’s car is also much less expensive thanks to lower taxes there.

Recently, I had to visit Océ on short notice and it was the perfect opportunity to take a BMW 318d for a 680 km (422) mile drive.

THe 318d was well equipped. It had a navigation system (professional version), xenon headlights and an USB interface on board. Despite the 1.8 designation, the 318d has a 2-liter four cylinder diesel engine that develops 143 hp (105 kW) and 236 pound feet (320 Nm) of torque. It takes 9.1 seconds reach 100 km/h (62 mph) and can go up to 210 km/h (130 mph). It only used 4.5 l/100 km (52 mpg) and emited 119 g/km in the combined EU test cycle. On our drive to Venlo we will see how well the 318d performs in real life.

The BMW 318d comes with numerous EfficientDynamics features to help lower fuel consumption including brake energy regeneration, electric power steering, auto start/stop, and on-demand management of ancillary units.

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For the drive to Venlo, I decided to take the route with the shortest distance, and a few minutes after noon we started out on the A99, a ring road that encircles Munich connecting multiple Autobahnen.  We then entered the A8 in the direction of Stuttgart. Thanks to the light Sunday afternoon traffic, a completely rebuilt Autobahn (this section of the A8 was upgraded to three lanes in each direction in 2009), and no speed limit, I was able to reach Augsburg within 17 minutes.  (Augsburg is 50 km / 31 miles away from Munich.)

After passing Augsburg to the west, I continued on the old, two-lane A8, which had been built in the mid 1930s, for the next 220 km (137 miles). During this portion of the drive, the BMW 318d and I experienced several types of weather conditions, ranging from light rain in the area near Stuttgart to heavy snowfall in the Schwäbische Alb (Swabian Alps). As a result, for much of the drive, our maximum speed was limited to 80 km/h (50 mph). Despite the inclement weather, I always felt that I had complete control of the car, even when passing slower traffic in the left lane.

Click here to continue to Page 2 – No Speed Limit

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