The 3 series BMW vehicles are the backbone of BMW’s line up and at the centre of that is the 320i sedan. Renowned for their drive and handling dynamics the 320i sedan has all those features packaged in an affordable luxury bundle.
The 3 series have come a long way over the years and the current model is sleek and very stylish from outside. The nose has definite hints of Z4 and the overall shape is tending towards the 4 door coupe style.
The BMW 320i Sport Sedan has an overall length of 4624mm, height of 1429mm and width of 1811mm. The tyre track is 1543mm at the front and 1583mm at the rear. Tyres and wheels are light-alloy wheels Double-spoke styling 392, 7.5 J x 17” with 225/50 R17 run-flat safety tyres. What all this means is that the 320i had a sleek, low and wide appearance that also helps with handling. The run flats are a little harder than normal tyres.
Jump inside and the thick rimmed leather steering wheel feels great in the hands. Being both height and reach adjustable means that in combination with the electrically adjustable driver’s seat you can easily find a comfortable driving position.
The leather front seats are both comfortable and supportive for long periods which is important for daily driving and plenty of seat travel for taller drivers. In front of the driver is a typical BMW dash arrangement, which means clean, crisp and functional.
The iDrive system sits on the centre hub behind some cup holders. While there is a centre console, glove box and door bins the useable storage area is small.
Entertainment and navigation is provided by a 6.5” colour display, iDrive controller, 6 loudspeakers (4 x 25W), 6 programmable memory buttons, MP3-compatible CD drive and electronic owner’s handbook. I am a big fan of the iDrive system, it feels intuitive and easy to use.
Features that are appreciated include dual zone automatic air conditioning, cruise control with brake facility, automatic headlights and rain sensing wipers, electric seat adjustment with memory, multi function display and sunroof that still allows plenty of headroom etc.
Rear seat passengers have semi individually sculptured seats with fold out cup holders in the centre. There is enough head and shoulder room for tall occupants however if the driver is tall then there isn’t a lot of knee room. The seats are hard though and better suited for two rather than three.
Boot space is adequate at 480L without being generous and the entry portal is a little narrow, but will swallow enough luggage for a trip and there is a ski port for longer narrow items. There are storage nets and tie down points as well.
The 320i is powered by a twin turbo four cylinder petrol engine that has stop start facility and delivers its 135kw of power @ 5,000rpm and 270nm of torque between 1250 – 4,500rpm. This is mated to an 8 speed sport automatic transmission. The combination is surprisingly frugal at 6.0l/100k and will deliver a top speed of 235kmh and 0-100kmh in 7.3sec.
However the figures don’t convey just how flexible the torque band is especially for a 4 cylinder petrol engine and how this translates into ease of daily driving. This is an exceptionally pleasing drive.
Like all BMW’s safety is a key feature with 5 star ANCAP rating. As standard the 320i includes active protection package, multiple airbags, disc brakes and dynamic braking lights. Also featured is Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) incl. Antilock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assistant, Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC)
The BMW 320i Sport Sedan is for the driver inside the daily commuter. The overall feel of the responsive engine, handling dynamics and feedback through the beautiful feeling steering wheel encourages sporty driving. It’s certainly not the most sporting sedan out there but is fun to drive and very easy to live with.
It allows you to negotiate around town in stop start traffic without headache and yet find a bit of open road that has some character, switch the transmission to sport mode and it raises the bar. On the freeway it cruises economically, quietly without fuss. The run flat tyres provide a somewhat harsher ride than expected and slight hum, but nothing that detracts from the ease of driving or fun factor.
The BMW 320i Sport Sedan ticks a lot of boxes for those that appreciate more than a car to get you from A to B. At $68,293 on road it isn’t cheap and yet seems good value.
What is good:
• Engine performance and economy
• Handling dynamics
• Standard inclusions
What is not so good:
• Hard rear seats
• Tight boot opening
• Lack of storage
Model BMW 320i Sport Sedan
Model Price $68,293 RDAP
Drivetrain 8 SP Sport Auto
Engine 2.0L Twin Turbo 4 Cyl Petrol
Power 135 Kw @ 5,000 rpm
Torque 270 Nm @ 1,250 – 4,500 rpm
Safety 5 Star ANCAP
CO2 Emissions 141 g/km
Green Vehicle Rating 4 1/2 Star
Economy (ADR comb) 6.3 L/100km
Driving Wheels Rear
Servicing $Not Supplied
Warranty 3yr/unlimited km with full roadside assist
Overall AnyAuto Rating 81/100
Behind the Wheel 8
Ride & Handling 9
Fit for Purpose 8
Build Quality 9
Value for Money 8