Shock and awesome
M Sport suspension add-ons, formerly for the masochist, now enhance the 3 Series
than the tiny Toyota Yaris runabout (6.0L/100km v 6.3L) and yet it’s no slouch thanks to the wonders of turbocharging technology. This is an important consideration because the money you’ll save on fuel could justify what to grab from the options list.
The 3 Series starting price is now a snip over $50,000 thanks to the recent arrival of the none-too-shabby 316i. The badge may bring on nightmares about the stubbylooking and lethargic 316s from the late 1990s but the new one is a gem.
The car we’re focusing on is the next model up, the 320i, which starts at $58,900. Not so long ago the 320i badge on the boot of a BMW signified a small six-cylinder engine was under the bonnet. Now it means there is a relatively large 2.0-litre turbo four.
With not much less grunt than that found in a Volkswagen Golf GTI, it moves along with almost the same pace as the world’s top-selling hot hatch (0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds against 6.9).
The new 3 Series has received mixed reviews since it arrived late last year but there is a fairly simple reason for the ups and downs.
Forgive me for being such an anorak but the outcome of road tests have largely depended on what wheels and tyres with which the gleaming press car has been fitted — and what roads reviewers have driven on.
Car companies love to spruce up their demonstrator models. Big shiny wheels look good in photos. They are also rubbish over bumps because there isn’t as much rubber to soak up the ripples.