BMW 3-Series 2012 320d Luxury Plus - Performance Review
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Performance Review of BMW 3-Series 2012 320d Luxury Plus
Last Updated at 03:14 pm, May 20, 2013Rating :
The 320d is one quick diesel car – and still manages a decent fuel economy. | Photography: Eshan Shetty
The 320d, as the name suggests, uses a 2.0-litre oiler under the hood. It puts out a little over 185 PS of power and 380 Nm of torque. These figures are decent for a car that’s a little bigger than a Honda Civic. The engine manages to push the car from a naught to 100 km/h in less than eight seconds – which is pretty quick for a diesel sedan that your dentist will buy. The engine is mated to an eight-speed close-ratio gearbox which tends to be constantly busy but isn’t noisy. On part-throttle, the up-shifts are quick and while decelerating the downshift are precise – unlike what we experienced in the X3 last year.
Since the car also comes with the EfficientDynamics package, its quite fuel efficient too! Our test car managed to return an overall fuel economy of close to 11 kmpl – after hours of spirited driving around the twisties. Though this 3-series retains the Playboy image, it does care about the bunnies and the greenery they survive on - and therefore the 320d with the EfficientDynamics package brings down the CO2 emissions to 109 g/km. The package consists of an additional battery pack which gets charged up with energy recovered from deceleration and braking and then uses the same to run the Stop-Start gadgetry and other electrical operations when the car is not running. What is also ‘cool’ is the fact that you can see these operations on the iDrive screen!
One complaint that many had with the E90 3-series was the stiff suspension setup and the heavy steering wheel. The package was good for driving around twisties, but cumbersome for everyday use. The F30 3-series addresses these issues. The steering wheel is now lighter in Eco-Pro and Comfort modes and weighs up well at speed. It still uses hydraulic assist so it does give you decent feedback as compared to most conventional electronic power steering systems.
The suspension too has been tweaked. I won’t say I’m very impressed with the setup on the 320d though. On Eco-Pro and Comfort modes, the car tends to feel wallowy. On Sport mode, the setup is better and you feel more in control of the car’s movements. Even in this mode, the new 3-series feels quite pliant and the ride quality is comfortable. The cornering abilities of the Luxury line too are almost as good as you would expect from a Beemer – I say ‘almost’ because the Sports line is at a different level altogether – but more on that in the review of the BMW 328i.
That said, the 320d feels exciting around the bends. Even with the traction control and the stability program working in full swing, you can still have enough fun with the rear-wheel drive car. But on the highway the 3-series behaves like a well-mannered valet, offering good ride quality, smooth shifts from its eight-speed gearbox and good fuel economy. There is slight road and wind noise above 120 km/h but that is acceptable and can be taken care of with the sweet-sounding audio system that this Beemer ships with.
Overall, the 320d is an able performer and addresses the problems that we had with its predecessor. It feels better to drive, is more fuel efficient and if you are the chauffer-driven type – then it is more comfortable too than the earlier model. There is no doubt that the 320d will yet again be the top grosser for BMW, but the steep price that the Luxury line commands could make people look at the Corporate Edition or the Sports line with more eagerness.
Let us sum it up then. The F30 3-series is definitely a much better car than the model it replaces. And Since the all new C-class and A4 are still a couple of years, the 3-series has a big chance of raking up numbers yet again, thanks to its kit brimming with features and the competitive price tag. As far as the styling goes, I think it's one of the smartest looking saloons in the country - after the A6 of course.
First Published on 12:25 pm, September 03, 2012