Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Reassuringly Good; BMW's 320d Sedan a Brilliant and Frugal All-Rounder

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Reassuringly Good; BMW's 320d Sedan a Brilliant and Frugal All-Rounder

Article excerpt

Byline: Grant Edwards

What matters most

What we liked: Beautiful to drive in varying conditions, interior ergonomics, real-world economy.

What we'd like to see: Some additional internal glamour, button positional changes to computer shortcuts.

Warranty and servicing: Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is conditioned based where the vehicle informs when servicing is required. Five years/80,000km BMW Service Inclusive package for $1240.

Living up to legendary status is a monumental challenge.

Take the BMW 3 Series. Being handed the project management role for that one is almost like a poisoned chalice.

For more than 40 years it has been a trail blazer, lauded the world over for its dynamic driving prowess.

Recently updated, we took the turbo diesel 320d for a spin to find that evolution once again has proved a worthy line to tread against a new tide of premium competition.

Comfort

Tweaks and minor changes see this latest derivative remain close to the BMW interior blueprint. Basic yet functional, operationally things are straight forward once the pivotal iDrive console dial is mastered.

That dial provides access to everything from the sat nav through to the radio and phone controls, with buttons for the menu shortcuts sitting around the circumference. One annoyance is the "radio" button is hidden on the outer side of the dial and can be hard to find when first used, but owners would become accustomed to its position.

The 3 Series dimensions are unchanged, yet there still remains reasonable space to handle four adults. Things can be tight in the back in terms of knee room and those in the front need to be mindful.

On the road

Accomplished is an understatement. The 3 Series proves itself adept whether in city traffic, on the highway or being pushed on rolling rural roads.

The four-cylinder diesel has some lovely grunt at the ready, making overtaking or slinging the saloon out of a bend simple.

While electric has replaced the hydraulic steering of old, there's still enough enjoyment there for those who enjoy the driving experience. BMW aficionados may lament the hydraulic departure, but there is still enough communication when sawing left and right with the beautifully honed chassis for fun to be had.

Various drive modes are available depending on the terrain and driver mood, tightening the body control and altering the acceleration response, yet even the firmer Sport option manages to do a good job of soaking up road deficiencies.

The new eight-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters is a cracker, and never "hunts" or struggles to find the right cog.

What do you get?

Standard gear is reasonable, including a rear-view camera, head-up display which projects speed and navigation instructions onto the windscreen for the driver, cruise control, lane-change warning, driving assistant, surround view, LED headlights, automatic parking, access to ConnectedDrive range of products and services, real-time traffic information, auto transmission, 18-inch wheels, electric front seats, adaptive M suspension and digital radio. …

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