FIRST DRIVE: BMW 3 Series

FIRST DRIVE: BMW 3 Series

 

The revamped 3 Series range starts with the $72,000 320i sedan and the $75,000 Touring (wagon), both of which get the same 135kW/270Nm 2-litre petrol turbo engine and come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, front fog lights and taillights, front and rear parking sensors with Park Assist, satellite navigation, a backing camera, heated front seats, BMW ConnectedDrive, lane departure warning, autonomous city braking, radar cruise control and an electric tailgate on the Touring.

The 320d sedan and Touring share identical specification to their petrol-powered siblings, but get the new 140kW/400Nm diesel turbo version of the modular four-cylinder engine. The 320d sedan also costs $72,000, and the 320d Touring is only available with BMW’s excellent xDrive AWD system and costs $81,000.
The 330i is available in sedan form only and packs a 185kW/350Nm version of the four-cylinder petrol engine, and the 330d is wagon only, also with the AWD system. It is the only 3 Series to use a carried-over engine — the mighty 190kW/560Nm 3-litre inline six-cylinder diesel turbo.

Both cars come standard with the 320 specification, but add 19-inch alloy wheels, a Sport Line package, front seat lumbar support, an upgraded navigation system, internet access, keyless entry and start and an upgraded audio system.

The 330i sedan costs $88,000 with the xDrive Touring costing $109,000. All 3 Series models also come standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Out on the road the 3 Series is still every bit as sharp a tool as it has always been, with subtle improvements brought about by BMW playing around with damper settings and tuning the power steering for the new model.

The biggest difference comes from the new four-cylinder turbo engines, both petrol and diesel. Both are smooth and seamlessly powerful. The 330i in particular packs a mighty punch.

The highlight of the range has to be the 320d xDrive Touring, however, giving a silky smooth, torquey performance and fantastic AWD ability.

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