Best medium car over $50,000

BMW 3 Series 320i

BMW has always positioned itself as a car for the driver and it was in the on-road performance area that the 320i had the edge on the other contenders.

Its balanced handling over a wide range of conditions, albeit with a slightly firmer ride than some, made the rear-wheel-drive 320i one of the best in class.

The quality of materials and finish is world class and, although it is priced competitively, the only shortcoming of the 320i is the level of standard features. They are off the pace compared to the ‘no boxes to tick’ approach of Lexus.

The 320i’s frugal 6.0 litres/100km fuel consumption is best in class, but it also manages to be up front of the pack on performance from the 2.0-litre, turbo petrol four-cylinder matched with smooth, eight-speed auto.

Eight airbags, brake assist, cornering brake control, traction control, stability control, safety body shell and active protection (which provides belt tensioning and closes windows if a crash is imminent) combine for top marks in safety.

Some people will buy a BMW for the badge and bragging rights, but with the 320i, the virtues of good space, power, handling and fuel economy also present a compelling case.

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Australia's Best Cars Best Medium Car over $50,000 BMW 3 Series 320i

Indicative Drive Away Price: $66, 339

Criteria out of 10 – BMW 3 Series 320i


Value for Money   Rating 
Pricing  7H
Depreciation  7M
Running Costs  6L
Fuel Consumption  8H
Warranty and dealer access   3H
Insurance  6L
Standard Features  3H

Design and Function   Rating 
Safety  7C
Environment  9C
Comfort  8H
Space  7M
Practicality  9M
Ergonomics  9H
Build and Finish  9C

On the Road   Rating 
Performance  8H
Ride  8H
Handling  9C
Braking  9C
Smoothness and Quietness   9H

Note: Level of weighting importance for each score: L = Low, M = Medium, H = High, C = Critical.