The BMW 320d offers a blend of efficiency and performance
BMW has graced us with their latest G20-generation 3 Series. This Bavarian sedan retains the agility and pleasant charm for which its predecessors were renowned.
Externally, the 3 Series receives cosmetic enhancements, including a redesigned front end with more oversized air intakes and a gloss-black finish. The kidney grilles now feature slimmer grilles with integrated daytime running lights in an inverted L shape, with the option of adaptive LED headlights. Towards the rear, its tapered athletic trim continues throughout.
Compared to the standard model, the M Sport version features more aggressive front and rear bumpers and double-spoke alloy wheels, lending the car a sportier appearance.
The interior maintains a fine blend of an assortment of leather trims, offering a plush cabin which looks classy and minimalistic; also, the recent facelift has introduced a new gear lever design and a curved display reminiscent of the one found in the new 7 Series.
This setup combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with a 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, creating a high-resolution unit. It's Apple Car Play and Android Auto Compatible. The touchscreen boasts many functions and reduces button clutter; traditionalists will appreciate the continued presence of the iDrive mechanical controller between the seats.
The car has navigation, three-zone automatic climate control, headlamp High Beam Assistant, ambient interior lighting, and three driving modes: Sport, Comfort, and Eco Pro.
Regarding standard equipment, the absence of electrically adjustable seats can be disappointing, leaving you to rely on BMW's less user-friendly lever adjusters.
In cheaper cars, other features that are not present include adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, a wireless smartphone charger, and a parking camera. These would have to be optional extras that you would pay for, making the R965,768 questionable.
If you opt for the M Sport package, it has perforated black leather sports seats, Aluminium Rhombicle Anthracite trim, and an M leather steering wheel.
Our test unit came with optional 19-inch low-profile tires; however, sticking with the standard 18-inch wheels might be the better choice for a more comfortable ride in harsh road conditions.
In terms of practicality, it has generous dimensions, measuring 4,713mm in length, resulting in a spacious cabin suitable for families, along with a 480-litre boot capable of accommodating a substantial amount of luggage.
Under the hood, the 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine remains as refined as ever. Mated with a buttery smooth Steptronic transmission, it delivers satisfying performance and pushes out 140KW and 400NM of torque.
It can do 0 to 100 km/h in a respectable sprint time of 7.0 seconds, reaching a top speed of 235 km/h.
The rear-wheel-drive (RWD) variant rewards you with a connected and responsive driving experience, especially with the M Sport package, which features firmer suspension and a 10mm lower ride height.
Furthermore, it's fuel-efficient; claimed consumption is 4.9l/100km; I achieved between 7.6l/100km. If you put it in ECO Pro mode and cruise with a light foot, you can perform a lower figure at 6l/100km.
Overall, the BMW 320d impresses with its refined and quiet cabin, making the journeys pleasurable and smooth.
If you can overlook the additional costs of optional features, then one will find this an enjoyable-to-drive executive sedan, offering excellent fuel efficiency as a bonus.