The ex­ec­u­tive’s de­ci­sion

BMW’s 320i is smooth, packs a punch and comes with a wide ar­ray of per­sonal op­tions, PETER BARN­WELL writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

WE turn the spot­light on the car world’s new­est and bright­est stars as we ask the ques­tions you want the an­swers to. But there’s only one ques­tion that re­ally needs an­swer­ing: would you buy one?

This is BMW’s main model, ac­count­ing for more sales than any other. The 320i is a favourite of the “ex­ec­u­tive buyer” and “user chooser”.

It’s now up to $60,500 but the op­tions list is longer than your arm, which means you could crank up the price to eye­wa­ter­ing lev­els pretty eas­ily.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, In­finiti Q50, Volvo S60, Lexus IS250

The 320i is a (twin scroll) turbo 2.0-litre petrol four­cylin­der with vari­able valve tim­ing and valve lift for ef­fi­ciency gains and di­rect fuel in­jec­tion. It achieves 135kW/270Nm and drives the rear wheels through an eight­speed auto with launch con­trol.

Re­ally well. The fig­ures don’t sug­gest a sporty drive feel but the 320i is a driver’s car with plenty of punch.

Drink­ing 95 oc­tane fuel, the 320i can sip as lit­tle as 6.0litres/100km. We ac­tu­ally achieved this fig­ure.

It gets 4.5 stars, has auto stop/start, re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing. low rolling re­sis­tance tyres and so­phis­ti­cated en­gine man­age­ment.

Five stars with a bunch of ac­tive and pas­sive safety fea­tures to pro­tect in a col­li­sion or to avoid one in the first place.

Com­fort plus en­hanced by more spec since late last year that brought BMW Con­nect­edDrive tech­nol­ogy for phone, com­puter and other dig­i­tal so­lu­tions.

Gen­er­ous stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes leather up­hol­stery, de­cent au­dio, pro­fes­sional nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, up­graded iDrive con­troller, drive as­sist fea­tures elec­tric ad­just driver’s seat, rain sens­ing wipers and auto head­lights, multi-func­tion wheel, park dis­tance con­trol, cruise with brake func­tion, three-mode drive se­lect with Eco, Sport and Sport+, key­less start.

Re­ally good. We can to­tally un­der­stand why the 320i is a pop­u­lar choice be­cause it’s an en­gag­ing, com­fort­able, at­trac­tive, qual­ity car with a sporty flavour. Min­i­mal cost at the bowser, high safety.

Against the com­pe­ti­tion, the 320i is right in there but the stove is get­ting hot­ter.

Fea­tures added last year are a step in the right di­rec­tion.

Yes, we’d care­fully shop it against the com­peti­tors and, de­pend­ing on the deal, would have no prob­lem with one of these in the drive.

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