Small pack­aged tour­ing

Peer­less dy­nam­ics make the BMW wagon al­most worth the ask

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - NEIL DOWLING

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.

TECH­NOL­OGY

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.

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