Fast, reliable & VFM car under 80 lakh to replace my 9-yr-old BMW 328i

The vehicles, including EVs, I have explored so far include the Mercedes GLA 35 AMG, Volvo C40, Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, BMW i4 and M340i.

BHPian nmn.070 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello everyone!


I have been a car enthusiast since my father got a Standard 2000 home. A black beauty which was our pride and joy. Fast forward a couple of decades and I got the chance to buy my very first car at the University. Found a stunning 2008 Mazda RX8. The rotary engine and the sportscar agility were leagues ahead of anything I had experienced until then. I kept it for 3 years before I returned home.

I again started looking for a car in 2014 after spending a few years just using available cars in the family out of which the Duster and dad’s Laura stood out. These cars were good but something about a RWD setup that is fascinating. FWD is just wrong in feel, regardless of the power output. Imagine if someone pulled you on a swing instead of pushing you.

Cutting short, I narrowed down to the F30 328i after some deliberation. It is the ideal car for a young enthusiast and I was lucky to be in a position to get one. The only one registered in my diesel-dominated state. RWD, red color, M performance accessories, BMW quality. It was perfect. The car still serves me after 9 long years. It’s been a joy and I have taken it places even a Creta would not dare tread. Now I wish to replace the car with another.


  • Rear Wheel Drive – I want a RWD or rear-biased AWD setup only. Call it a bug in my head but I can’t have it another way.
  • Reliable – I like dependability. The BMW was surprisingly good on this front. Father owned a Jaguar XF which was the complete opposite, so no JLR ever for me. This factor makes me curious about electric options because of fewer parts and general reliability.
  • Fast – I am spoilt by the RX8 and 328i experiences. Although I drive sedately 90% of the time, knowing that I can make an overtake whenever I want is something that is desirable.
  • Value for money – not everything expensive is overpriced. My budget is loosely defined. Anywhere from 40L OTR to 80L OTR. But I do not wish to overpay for the vehicle I get.

Usage will be mostly in the city. Occasional jaunts from Jaipur to Delhi. Should fit a family of 4.

The above list is also my criteria in order of preference. The cars I have explored so far are mentioned below with their perceived pros and cons:


  • BMW M340i – RWD biased AWD, fast, and value for money. However, reliability and dependability are still unknowns in the long run.
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 – RWD, value for money. But not fast enough.
  • Kia EV6 AWD – RWD biased AWD, fast but not VFM after knowing the price of its sister Ioniq 5.
  • Volvo C40 – RWD biased AWD, fast, reliable brand. VFM is something I’m not sure of as it is based on a much older platform than the Korean twins. EX30 around the corner.
  • Mercedes GLA 35 AMG – fast but not RWD and VFM I guess.
  • BMW i4 – RWD, fast, VFM considering the brand but not available for now.

Please suggest anything I’m missing out on. I feel EV will allow me to hold the car longer as I generally keep them for 5+ years with a low cost of ownership. Range is not a big concern beyond 300kms real world. I’m ambivalent about sedan vs crossover. I saw another thread on someone going ahead with the Volvo C40 in a similar predicament. All the help is much appreciated.

Here’s what BHPian iliketurtles had to say about the matter:

Hi there. I appreciate the quandary you’re in, it’s one I’m sure quite a few have on this forum and beyond, with most going for the M340i.

My advice to you would be to try and get an extended test drive of the 340i, and see how it handles the wonderfully rutted and pockmarked roads of your area. Those tyres (especially runflats) can easily give way thanks to the low profile nature of it, and the ground clearance isn’t much to write home about either, which becomes maybe even more of a concern with 4 aboard.

Those factors, plus (IMO) the sub-par sound system (compare it to the Burmester in the A and C Class) and questionable interior quality (feel the interior plastics below your waistline, in the door bins etc.) should make you question if you really want to spend 80 big ones on it. That engine is unmatched at that price, but walk in with eyes wide open. If that amazing engine blinds you to its faults, so be it.

From your shortlist, I would knock off the Ioniq 5, for the same reasons you mentioned. However, I would persist with checking out the EV6. It has a very well-balanced ride and handling for what it is (a proper 5-seater family crossover/wagon), with ride quality I would put at par with a 5 series. The issues with the EV6 are similar to the ones on the 340i; poor interior quality for the price point, and a mediocre sound system. But it rides beautifully compared to the 340i and is properly fast.

I would also eliminate the Volvos from your list. Being fast does not equal fun, the C40 is tuned for families, not thrill seekers. I would also encourage you to travel with 4 in the car and check it out, that sloping rear roof could be problematic for rear passengers on long drives.

Above all, I would highly encourage you to revisit the GLA35. It’s not VFM for sure, but it honestly is fun and fast, with superb interiors and a fantastic sound system. Take a test drive and keep an eye on these two factors, you’d be surprised how much better it is than anything else at its price point. Put a downpipe and a stage 2 tune on it, and this baby will be rocking some 350+ BHP and will drive like it’s on rails thanks to the AWD system.

There aren’t many options you’ve overlooked in the brand-new car market, honestly. Maybe the C300d? But I’d ignore it given the uncertainty around diesels, even though it has great interiors, rides well, and is nice to drive.

In summary, I’d rejig your shortlist to a three-car list:

  • The GLA35 (well-rounded car for Indian conditions)
  • The M340i (The best performer of the three, with some fatal flaws)
  • The Kia EV6 (Excellent EV that stops short of true greatness)

Happy hunting.

Here’s what BHPian dealer had to say about the matter:

I’ve had a garage similar to yours with a tuned 320i that I let go a couple of months ago and now am using an XC40 Recharge as a daily driver in Jaipur.

The XC40 is great but not for 4 adults on a long journey. I would stay away from the i4 as the low ground clearance is a constant bother in my opinion. GLA 35 and the M340i should be your top choices but the acceleration of the XC40 after one test drive will spoil most cars for you.

Here’s what BHPian sandeepmohan had to say about the matter:

With the budget you have, you should be adding a couple more cars to the list.

  • Mercedes Benz E Class
  • Audi A6

The E Class will blow the BMW away when it comes to the interior and ride (Yes, it does sit a segment higher)

The Audi A6 is pure Elegance.

The above two are unlikely to be anywhere near as fast as the M340i. That said, 0-100 dash in just over 6 seconds is decent. Pottering around in the city, I doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference.

Personally, I find the M340i’s springs a bit edgy for day-to-day use. Flat out on the highway is where this car belongs.

As a few have already said, an EV should be on top of your list.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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