Car Reviews Commentary & Observations

Lockdown-Cars We Owned- 2005 Mazda NC MX-5 6sp Manual

The Lockdown series continues with me and my 2 driving buddies, Alfred & David, also sharing our experiences, comments and reflections of the different cars we have owned.

David’s 12th car, brings us to one of the most iconic and successful sports car- roadsters made and sold of all time, the Mazda MX-5. Bang for buck, this brings driving purity to the masses with all the reliability and affordability that Mazda could bring.

This car is not about the power, its about perfect 50:50 weight balance, the blend of chassis and engine, the driver extracting and learning the limits of the car together. The chassis, steering, manual gearbox and the convertible connection with the wind blowing through your hair. The car and driver as one. Dare I say, “its about the VIBE!”.

Another car that has bound all three of us together and lays the bench mark to what the purity of the driving experience is all about. To call it a “hairdressers car” is really missing the point. What it showed is that you didn’t have to spend a fortune on a Porsche or Lotus. You could experience the joys of pure motoring pleasure with reliability thrown in, that anyone of any age or capability to enjoy.

If this reminds you of a special car you have owned please share your experience or just name it or just “like” ours.

#mynextcarbuying #melbourne #automotiveadvocate #lockdown #carsweowned #mazda #mx5 #mx5nc #mazdamx5 #mietta

2005 MX5 NC series 1

2 litre twin-cam 4 cylinder 6 speed manual

118kW 188Nm

0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds

We are now getting to the modern era where we have shared and talked about these cars already so I will not go into an in-depth review. Instead I will just give a brief “feel” of what the car meant to me.

The MX5 imbibed the happy spirit in everyone whether they were into cars or not. Friends and people at work all noticed this car and continue to ask about it to this day. Driving it kids would wave and other drivers were always happy to let you in the traffic. Maybe it was because it was small, maybe the bright red paint, maybe because I drove everywhere with the top down even in the dead of winter, this car always made people smile.

It proved to me that a car doesn’t have to be aggressive to feel sporty to drive. There was nothing aggressive about the MX5 but I rate it as one of the great sports cars to drive.

Richard comment:

Yes, we have discussed the merits and the joy of driving and owning the MX-5 and all agree they NC was the pick for size and I thought the best looker. I had never seen a picture of your car and now recall it was Red like a Alfred’s. I wished I had the opportunity to really drive it the way we have our recent cars in the last couple of years.

Alfred’s brief nine month stint of ownership allowed me to dabble but never really connect the way we did even as recently with the Hyundai i30N. Its dynamics did make it very easy to drive and steering was razor sharp. I think it would only take a few drives to really connect with it. But nothing has come close to the almost instant connection the Toyota 86 gave and I must say the i30N is not far away on that account. I’d say a close second.

Alfred comment:

The MX5 was the cornerstone car for me in my driving experience that changed everything for me. It moved me away from thinking power was king and everything that defined a car for me. It made me appreciate that handling was the number one most important thing for me for my satisfaction as a driver.

The perfect 50:50 weight distribution came into my life together with the appreciation a car being balanced with the right combination of power and handling was the sweet spot. The icing on the cake was that the manual transmission was a key ingredient to the DNA of my driving fun and personal unique expression as a driver. And finally the Mx5 gave me the 4th dimension of driving bliss of no roof, openness to be connected to the beauty of the world, igniting all my physical senses of sun, rain, warmth, wind, incredible engine, exhaust and physical sounds.

In a nutshell a sensual freedom and bliss of feeling alive and with a smile on my face and deep in my soul every time I would try and find any excuse to drive that beautiful red sports car.

Lockdown-Cars We Owned- 2012 BMW 318d Touring

The Lockdown series continues with me and my 2 driving buddies, Alfred & David, also sharing our experiences, comments and reflections of the different cars we have owned.

David’s 11th car, continued the diesel theme! Now we move to the Touring/ Wagon option that may go against the popular trend of buying SUV’s for family duties, mostly.

However, the enthusiast always finds the value equation to this motoring recipe. You will find that you can have your cake and eat it when you own a wagon.Practicality, drivability & driving enjoyment while hauling a family. Who said you had to go without!

If this reminds you of a special car you have owned please share your experience or just name it or just “like” ours.

#mynextcarbuying #melbourne #automotiveadvocate #lockdown #carsweowned #bmw #bmw318d #touring #wagon #diesel

2012 BMW 318d Touring
2 litre turbo diesel 8 speed auto
105kW 320Nm
0-100km/h in 9.2 seconds

Perfect family car. Practical, economical and with a bit of luxury, feel good factor thrown in.
Initially I was sceptical about the 318d because looking at the numbers I thought the detuned engine might feel like there was something missing compared to the previous 320d I had owned. But the 318d always felt muscular with plenty of go for a family car and still retained the nice growl as it revved to the red line.

A classic example of performance figures not always telling the whole story. The 318d was actually a little nicer to drive with what felt like a lighter, more nimble chassis. Any power deficit was more the made up for by the much improved 8speed ZF gearbox. This particular car also had some nice features like bigger wheels, sports leather seats and a panoramic sunroof.

On the practical front, I think a station wagon is still king and the BMW touring had lots of little touches that made it easy to live with. The touring also had a longer wheelbase giving more leg room in the backseats. I think the 3 series Touring looked pretty good too, especially with the 18 inch sports wheels.

Very comfortable cruiser that rode well even on run flat tyres and we racked up plenty of miles driving to basketball games over the 5 years we had it. Fuel economy was exemplary and I personally recorded 4.2 litres per 100 kms on the freeway from Greensborough to Geelong and regularly hit 6-7L/100kms around town. There were no reliability issues whatsoever, with more than a 100,000km on the clock and the servicing wasn’t too bad once you got away from the BMW dealers. Sue’s favourite of all the cars we have owned and that’s got to mean something.

Richard comment:

There is no doubt that Wagon /Tourers are still a nicer place to be than a SUV with styling uncompromising and natural flowing lines allowed to finish. You get all the benefits of sedan handling and the plus of an extended wheelbase that allows for more room, comfort and a more absorbing less twitchy chassis. Your BMW always looked good to me with the optional 19” wheels. Though, not as powerful as your previous 320d, that torquey diesel with its free revving characteristics and grunty sound. Undoubtedly an enjoyable driving experience, especially, when often in that compromising family hauler mode. Some of the best iconic performance cars are in wagon form like the Audi RS6 wagon.

I would never rule one out for its practicality but I know it wouldn’t be at the expense of my driving pleasure and performance.

Lockdown-Cars We Owned- 2010 BMW 320d Sedan

The Lockdown series continues with me and my 2 driving buddies, Alfred & David, also sharing our experiences, comments and reflections of the different cars we have owned.

David’s 10th car, may be a surprise. It’s a diesel!  Does this go against the grain of a sports car enthusiast? Having a family sometimes means compromising your personal car driving experience.

However, the enthusiast always finds an angle to maximize the drive experience. Starting with a BMW always helps as the chassis & handling will satisfy the driving experience. Torque is god’s gift of pulling power. So, it seems the feeling of being pushed back into your seat when you press the accelerator is something no car enthusiast is going to reject. The diesel experience bound Alfred, David and I more than I would have imagined.

If this reminds you of a special car you have owned please share your experience or just name it or just “like” ours.

#mynextcarbuying #melbourne #automotiveadvocate #lockdown #carsweowned #bmw #bmw320d #diesel

2010 BMW 320d sedan
2 litre turbo diesel 6 speed auto
130kW 350Nm
0-100km/h in 8.0 seconds

The car that introduced me to the grunty joy that is a modern diesel engine. I had read about diesels in Europe at the time but was deeply sceptical. More efficient and economical sure but how could something heavier and lower revving be any fun to drive? I test drove the 323i and 320d back to back as they were identically priced and I was surprised to find I much preferred the diesel. Not only did the diesel feel much faster on the move but the mid-range torque made the throttle feel much more responsive. It even revved freely and happily to the redline with a sexy growl to the engine note.

At the time I thought why are people wasting their time with electric hybrids instead of just driving diesels? I know now that all diesels are not this good and I was being spoiled by what was probably the best diesel on the market.

The other thing about this car is that it introduced me to wonders of Teutonic engineering. Different nations really do impart different characteristics to their cars. Italians are great at making exhilarating, free spirited, “good time” cars that deliver a great driving experience but often give little regard to the practicalities of day to day life. The 320d on the other hand felt so well engineered with everything methodically laid out in a logical and intuitive way. The responsive drive train, comfortable driving position and excellent rear wheel drive dynamics meant the driver in me was well catered for. It also had up to the minute tech and general practicality meant it also served the role of family car very well. As Chris Harris said in a review once “does anyone need anything more than a 320d?” Interestingly I didn’t have a problem with the run flats and thought the car rode well with a good balance between sporting and comfort.

My only negative was that one of the reasons I moved from an Alfa Romeo to a BMW was that I was hoping to improve residual value and I did not find this at all. I’ve since learnt that the best value is to buy a good quality demo and sell privately.

Richard comment:

When I first met you David, in our basketball days, you had this BMW320d. A Diesel would not be my first preference for driving. I disliked the traditional diesel clattering and lack of revability. However, I have now driven a few diesels including the 2013 F30 BMW320d, VW v10 R50 Touareg, VW Amarok, Cx-5, Passat ,Kia Sportage GT-Line, SANTE Fe & Land Rover Discover. The torque and the better diesels now rev out smoothly to 5000 rpm and pull like freight trains. In fact, because they are less stressed can even be quieter, more refined and sounder undiesel like.

The 320d handled pretty well considering the natural heavier engine & front-end weight bias diesels can give. This is probably thanks to engine not actually being much heavier at all as still a 2litre and the turbo working it’s wonders. I’m sure Alfred will agree with your assessment as he highly rated his Xdrive BMW 330d wagon and loved the grunt of the torque filled 500nm giving V8 like shove. I agree with all the accolades of interior design, chassis engineering and the way everything comes together as a driving machine is spot on. As for depreciation, it does dive but make it can be your friend when it comes time to buy.

Alfred comment:

Rich mine was the 530d station wagon x-drive 2005 model. No one could tell inside the car it was a diesel, only at idle standing outside. It was 160kw / 500nm from about 1800rpm. 0-100kmph in 6.9 seconds and got 1000kms to the tank on the way to Italy for holidays even driving through the famous Swiss pass mountain roads as part of that journey. Still probably the best diesel BMW has ever produced.

We use cookies to help us improve, promote and protect our services. By continuing to use the site, you agree to our privacy policy