The BMW 3 Series was recently awarded Continental Irish Car of the Year 2013, as voted by members of the Irish Motoring Writers Association (IMWA). It’s a clear indication that BMW’s latest mid-size saloon is a competent all-rounder.
During the summer last year we drove the ed (Efficient Dynamics) variant of the new BMW 3 Series, its low fuel consumption and composed ride impressed us, you can read our thoughts on the 320ed here. Now we’ve had a flavour of the more powerful and focused BMW 320d Sport.
Visually, this latest 3 Series is larger then its predecessor, its 93mm longer and also has an increased wheelbase of 50mm, which results in improved legroom for all occupants. All models benefit from a revised front, with a sleeker sportier look, aided by the new headlights that blend into the familiar double-kidney grille. The standard level of equipment has been substantially increased across the range, with all models benefiting from 17” alloys, automatic air-conditioning, Bluetooth, BMW Professional radio with 6.5” colour screen and iDrive, keyless start, USB connectivity, a multi-function leather steering wheel, cruise control and automatic boot opening. The Sport variant we drove has some exterior design cues to distinguish it within the range, these include redesigned bumpers, black high-gloss air intakes and a black chrome tailpipe. Our test car was finished in Melbourne Red Metallic, which combined with the tinted windows certainly enhances the car’s appeal. The interior reflects its athletic appearance with red stitching on the sports seats and sports steering wheel, whilst the instrument cluster has red highlighting.
Under the bonnet there’s a two-litre diesel engine complete with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, this delivers a brisk 184hp and 380Nm of torque. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission the 320d Sport caters for all driving situations. Drivers can select from four driving modes at the press of a switch beside the gear shift. This drive performance control allows you to select from Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, each offering a varying driving experience. On a long journey you can maximise your fuel economy in Eco Pro mode, and also benefit from sharper throttle and steering responses in Sport mode.
The 3 Series has always been regarded as a driver’s car and this new model is no exception, its competent chassis will satisfy the keenest of drivers. The increased level of specification and room on offer is a welcome addition, although if you choose some additional items from the extensive options list, the car’s price can rise quite swiftly.
The 320d Efficient Dynamics model will impress with its fuel saving technology, though the 320d Sport proves BMW can combine power without sacrificing much in terms of efficiency.[table “97” not found /]