To begin with, the looks of the BMW 320i combine modern aerodynamic features with the traditional, distinctive BMW grille, which blends harmoniously with the curvilinear lines of the 320i. From the side, view, the looks are both curvaceous and dynamic, hinting at speed and smooth handling - and they have a drag coefficient of 0.28 Cd.
And the BMW 320i has the zest and zoom promised by its looks. The 2-litre engine, with a quick shifting manual transmission, is capable of racing from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.0 seconds, and achieves this thanks to a maximum power of 115 kW at 6400 rpm and a maximum torque of 200 Nm at 3600 rpm. The BMW 320i has a vigorous top speed of 220 km/h (218 for the six speed automatic version), and is capable of pulling 695 kg (unbraked) if required. The fuel economy of the manual variant of the BMW 320i is very commendable, averaging 5.9 litres/100 km on the open road through independent reviews. Around town, as one would expect, the BMW 320i consumes slightly more (11.3 litres/100 km), giving an average of 7.4 litres/100 km. The figures for the automatic BMW 320i are only very slightly higher, being 6.0 litres/100 km in the country and 11.4 litres/100 km in town, which average to 8.0 litres/100 km.
BMWs have always been well-made and reliable in a crash, and the 320i continues to uphold this worthy reputation. The standard DataDot technology is complemented by ABS, dynamic brake control, cornering brake control, automatic stability control plus traction and dynamic stability control, which all combine to make the BMW 320i safe and very stable. If you are unfortunate enough to have a crash (or if some stupid drip collides with you), the driver and front airbags will come into play (these airbags have an occupant detector function), as will the front side airbags, and the head airbag front and rear. All seats in the BMW 320i have been fitted with three-point seat belts, and the centre rear seat has a headrest, as do the other seats. Night driving is also made that little bit safer with a nice anti-dazzle mirror.
On the inside, the BMW 320i is tastefully decorated. Depending on the variant, you will enjoy comfortable seating upholstered in cloth trim for the BMW 320i and premium Dakota leather for the BMW 320i Executive, which can be offset by a range of trims, including natural poplar, burr walnut or brushed aluminium. A retractable front armrest gives an extra edge of driver comfort, especially when driving long-haul; this comfort is enhanced in the executive version of the BMW 320i, which has partial electric seat adjustment for the front seats. The automatic climate control, which comes complete with microfilter, helps you keep comfortably cool in all weathers. An in-dash CD/radio, a through-loading system with ski bag, an onboard computer and preparation for a Bluetooth mobile complete the standard offerings inside the entry-level BMW 320i.
As if the standard features weren't impressive enough, BMW offers a wide range of options for the 320i. Exterior options include metallic paint, fog lights (which already come as standard on the BMW 320i Executive), electric sunroof, adaptive bi-Xenon headlights and headlight washer system. On the inside, optional extras on offer range from electric lumbar support in the front passenger and driver seats to an 8.8" colour monitor and professional navigation system which includes TV and voice recognition.
What sort of driver would enjoy the BMW 320i? Well, most drivers would enjoy the experience behind the wheel in either sedan or wagon guise and we certainly enjoyed our BMW 320i review. Certainly a small young family would be more than adequately transferred from A to B in the snug, well designed cabin. And, if extra space was required then the BMW 320i Touring model provides estate room. The fine new BMW 320i is a very attractive proposition to any would-be buyer looking for the top of the class driving dynamics, and a state of the art driving experience - especially when the price tag starts at a little over fifty thousand dollars.
The current model series includes the:
- BMW 320i Sedan
- BMW 320i Touring