Small packaged touring
Peerless dynamics make the BMW wagon almost worth the ask
with similar performance and agility. But hard data do not account for how the German car feels to drive, the clinical precision of its assembly and the way the cabin seems to form around occupants.
Standard kit includes dualzone airconditioning, electric tailgate, trip computer with central monitor, reverse camera, 17-inch alloy wheels and leather-look upholstery. It’s not actually a lot for the bucks (compared with a Hyundai i40 or Mazda6) and the option list is enormous — candy to a buyer dazzled by the badge.
But don’t think a BMW is expensive to own. Smart buyers can opt for BMW’s pre-paid service plan, from a fixed $1045 for three years/60,000km up to $1569 for five years/ 100,000km. That’s better than some Japanese brands.
The 320i resale is a respectable 53 per cent, equal to the Mercedes C-Class but slightly better than the equivalent Audi.
Apparently we’re running out of petrol and cars are polluting the planet. All makers are keen to combat the latter accusation.
The 320i has a stop-start system (to turn the engine off when the car is stationary, then automatically restart to save fuel), regenerative braking (engages the alternator/ generator when braking or coasting to charge up the battery) and has an economy setting in the drivetrain’s fourmode program.