3 is the magic number
SPORTY looks and performance combined with decent fuel efficiency and low emissions is a potent combination many aspire to but few achieve. With BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology employed, the 3 Series is as cost effective to own as it is a demon to drive.
The 320d ED Sport saloon I roomed with for a week gets from 0-60mph in a shade under eight seconds but boasts an average fuel economy figure of around 70mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 104g/km – music to the ears of company car drivers who are the bedrock of the model’s supporters club.
Combined with a recent facelift designed to help combat the challenge from Jaguar, Mercedes and Audi – it is a perfect package.
The sixth generation of the rear-wheel drive compact executive family car was launched in 2012, with the revamp occurring last year.
The exterior and interior changes are minor tweaks rather than major redesigns with alterations to bonnet, lamp clusters and bodywork giving the car a dynamic look that also manages to be easy on the eye. The cabin boasts a wraparound dashboard featuring digital displays and a big centre console screen. Everything oozes quality with an excellent fit and finish the norm.
But the real work has taken place out of sight to make the suspension more supple and the electronic power steering sharper while updated engines include the excellent 2.0-litre diesel beast under the bonnet of my test motor. A wide range of petrol power units and other oil burners are also available.
It all adds up to an exquisite driving experience with the top-notch eight speed automatic transmission providing seamless gear changes while the rear-wheel drive layout gives nimbleness and oodles of grip.
Corners are treated with disdain, throttle and steering responses are more instant than Nescafe, while the ride is firm but comfortable. Clever electronics are also included to help you stay safe whatever the condition of the weather or the road.
A multi-mode drive function helps you set the car up to suit – whether you want sport, comfort or economy.
The price-tag for the 320d ED Sport ain’t cheap but is well worth the expense although you have to be careful if ordering off the options menu as tempting head up displays and surround view cameras don’t come cheap.
They are clever toys but the real thrill is driving BMW’s latest take on the ultimate driving machine.
The ED Sport specification includes 17-inch alloy wheels as well as Business satnav technology, multifunction sports steering wheel, natty trim finishes, Dakota leather upholstery and heated sports front seats.
Automatic lights and windscreen wipers as well as parking sensors and rear-view camera are also included.
In addition to this eco-friendly model, there are five other trim levels to choose from with the entry-level SE motor leading eventually to the range-topping Luxury and M Sport.
The saloon model offers 480-litres of boot space – more than enough for the family’s weekly supermarket shop – with the square opening allowing large items to be loaded easily.
The 3 Series is spacious with decent leg and headroom for all. Your bits and bobs can be squirrelled away in an armrest bin, glovebox and decent door pockets while cup holders are plentiful.
TEST DRIVE BMW 3 SERIES