The 320d Touring xDrive is every bit as brilliant a car as the more powerful 330d variant we tested previously. Just in a different way.
Where the 330d is all power and aggression channeled through a beautifully balanced chassis and a formidably good AWD system, the 320d is more of a finely-honed, precision tool that provides ample power, but really lets the incredible chassis and AWD system be the stars.
The smaller, lighter engine endows the 320d with an incredible balance and fantastically sharp turn in, while also bringing more than enough power for most occasions.
The 135kW/380Nm 2.0-litre engine is remarkably strong and eager, as well as being almost stupidly economical. The 8-speed automatic transmission is also as brilliant as ever. Sure, it lacks the 330d’s visceral punch and barrel-chested roar, but when you are throwing it through a series of tightening curves, you really don’t care.
What the 320d lacks in ultimate grunt when compared to the 330d, it more than makes up for with a wonderful balance and incredibly lithe attitude; less weight over the nose makes it even sharper and more eager to turn into a corner and it possesses an utterly unshakeable grip on the road. The light, chuckable feel and confidence-inspiring grip make the 320d addictively precise.
Inside the 320d the optional sports seats are brilliant and well worth the extra money. The red Sport Line highlights lift interior and break all the black up nicely, while the typically brilliant stereo actually liked my iPod this time!
Our test 320d was carrying more than $10k worth of options, which would have left it quite a bare car for $84,400 without them, but then that is still a bargain for the wonderful driving experience on offer.
Engine: 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
0-100km/h: 7.7 seconds
Fuel consumption: 4.9L/100km
CO2 emissions: n/a