Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

BMW's Ultimate Clean Machine

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

BMW's Ultimate Clean Machine

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Torpey

FOR the ultimate driving machine, read the cleanest dream machine. As carmakers continue to push the boundaries of dynamics and economy, premium brand BMW has stolen a march on its rivals.

The German company has set a benchmark in the executive arena with the arrival of the most fuel efficient and greenest 3 Series yet.

It comes in the shape of the 320d EfficientDynamics saloon, a car that boasts emissions of just 109g/km and a combined cycle fuel claim of 68.9 miles per gallon, figures that make it cleaner than many superminis.

And while the everyday return of various cars is often some way adrift of the official consumption figure, that's not the case here - on two separate tests we averaged 67 and 69mpg.

The ED programme is not a new one for BMW, it's been operating for some time, but what we have with the 320 ED is an evolution of the principle - and one that benefits both fleet and private users.

For the moment at least, this car is the best example of an engine being refined to greater heights rather than using electric power or hybrid technology. No surprise then that it is the first premium model to record CO emissions below 110g/km.

That means it falls into vehicle excise duty band B, for which the road tax is zero.

The benefits for business users are even more - the benefit in kind hit is 13%, minimising personal taxation for company car drivers.

And firms also have the opportunity to write down 100% of the car's value in the first year and claim tax relief against profits in the year of purchase.

In fact, the fleet industry believes that the cash flow benefit and lower cost of money should see contract hire rates fall by up to 5% over three years.

BMW is committed to charging no extra so the EfficientDynamics version has been priced the same as the 320d SE Saloon at pounds 27,245.

Given that the cars share an identical specification bar the wheels, you wonder why anyone would bother to opt for the regular diesel. …

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