The new three series BMW offers appealing affordability, with the entry level 318d diesel and 320i petrol listing for less than $60,000. Both undercut starting money for rival Mercedes C-Class.
Our test 320i was fitted with the $3152 Sportline option pack. Ambience lighting, interior and exterior trim detail upgrades, leather trim sport steering wheel, double-spoke 17” alloys (alternative pattern, size and tyres same as standard), and MW Sport aluminium sill finishers are included in the pack. Also Sportline inclusions, the Dakota leather trim sports seats with adjustable width bolsters for the front passengers, comfort and support occupants admirably.
Performance from the new engine with its twin-scroll turbo is more impressive than mere numbers suggest. The engine, with its wide spread of torque and refined delivery free of turbo-lag, is mated to a new eight-speed auto that’s its perfect partner.
The EcoPro drivetrain control and stop-start system help deliver good fuel economy, too.
Ride comfort is now tolerably comfortable, even on the standard runflat tyres, which is more than can be said of some of the brand’s offerings. The 320i offers accurate steering and sporty handling to please more demanding drivers, though the improved ride quality appears to have come at some reduction in the car’s overall dynamic focus.
The new 320i proved a very easy and pleasant car to live with.