Insurance Group: 29
0-62 Mph: 7.5 secs
BHP: 184 BHP
Range: 806 miles
For a fairly powerful engine, the 320d benefits from BMW’s ‘EfficientDynamics’ technology, which makes the diesel engine incredibly efficient with low CO2 emissions and very low running costs.
The price is quite high however so, unless you need a lot of equipment included as standard, the cheaper SE and M sport trims makes more financial sense.
PROS: A powerful engine with fantastically smooth, controlled handling and superb fuel consumption make this an excellent all-round performer. There is also a good level of standard equipment.
CONS: Very pricey and the ride is uncomfortable.
The 320d Sport Plus has an 184 bhp engine delivering 280 lb-ft of torque at 1900-2750 rpm and reaching 0-62 mph in 7.5 seconds with a top speed of 146 mph. The handling in the 3 Series saloon is fantastic, with high levels of stability and control. The balanced rear wheel drive makes easy work of winding B-roads and makes the car comfortable and enjoyable to drive.
The 320d engine is powerful, smooth and quiet, with the cabin insulated from outside sounds, offering high levels of comfort. The only noise disturbance is caused by the wind and is only really noticeable at high speeds.
The Sport Plus has the firmest suspension in the range and it can uncomfortable, but there is the option to change to the regular suspension if required.
The 3 Series is very good looking both inside and out.
The Sport Plus saloon comes with leather seats, power steering, stability control, metallic paint, cruise control, climate control, rear parking sensors, alloy wheels, MP3 connectivity, Bluetooth and stereo as standard, with optional extras including satellite navigation for £1,125. The ‘Efficient Dynamics’ technology keeps the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions low using an automatic stop-start system, brake energy regeneration, on-demand control of engine ancillary components and tyres with less rolling resistance as well as improved aerodynamics.
Safety levels are top rate with standard equipment including six airbags, dynamic stability control, anti-lock braking system (ABS) and dynamic traction control. An Active Security Package (with lane change and lane departure-warning systems) can be added as an optional extra to enhance the security on offer whilst the car is protected from theft with a fitted alarm.
Space within the cabin is extensive and there is loads of room in the front and back with plenty of leg room for passengers and the driver. Plenty of seat and steering adjustment for the driver makes it easy to attain a comfortable driving position and even the boot is well proportioned, offering 460 litres even when the seats are in place. The saloon comes with split-folding rear seats as well and this means the 460 litre capacity can be expanded whilst still providing some rear seating for passengers.
As a brand, BMW have a great reliability record and this means drivers can have plenty of confidence in their purchase - with years of trouble free service almost guaranteed.
The 320d Sport Plus costs £30,505 and offers 60.1 mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of just 125 g/km which are highly impressive considering its strong performance credentials and sporty reputation.
The Sport Plus trim comes with loads of features and equipment but the extra cost over the SE trim is only worth it if you will make use of all the equipment – if not, the SE trim still comes with plenty of kit and is kinder on the wallet whilst offering the same economical engine and low CO2 emissions. Overall, a BMW is a good car to invest in due to the assured quality and service they provide and the 3 Series in particular has very good resale value.
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