3 is the magic num­ber

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.