New BMW 320d M-Sport 'handles beautifully'
Consistently lauded as one of the best cars made and majoring in driving dynamics there is a new BMW 3 Series, the 7th generation. It is second in sales in Ireland to its bigger brother the 5 series so an important car for BMW.
The design is not radically different to the last model and pays a huge compliment to another prestige model, the Lexus IS300. On first sight, from behind, I thought the L-shaped rear lights were from the Lexus and maybe Munich is learning from Fukuoka instead of the other way round? The front has a wider and taller grille, the whole car is wider, longer and taller (same boot size), and is in keeping with other BMW models where the grilles have grown and grown - some successfully, some not.
BMW have gone all out with new developments including a new platform, an acoustic windscreen, new shock absorber/damping technology, entry by mobile phone, laserlight front lights and an intelligent digital personality integrated into the car that’s an expert on it and responds to voice control. I was taken by the welcome light carpet too that lights up the whole ground around the car.
The driving dynamics are superb from a car with perfect 50:50 weight distribution over the axles and a low centre of gravity. It has 190hp, don’t think you need much more, delivering the performance and power you'd expect in a BMW. It handles beautifully and responds to hand and foot movements without peer in the sector. The interior materials are simply superb as is the driver focussed layout.
The base price for a 320D is €49,213 but you'd never get away with that as you'll want options and mine had €10k worth with Technology, Comfort and M Sport Plus packs added. That technology doesn’t stretch to cater for Android phone users but iPhone addicts are fine.
Class leader in this sector means it has to be better than the offerings from Mercedes C Class, Audi A4, Lexus IS300, Jaguar XE, and Volvo S60. Fine margins separate these cars but in this sector fine margins matter. BMW with this new 3 series have a margin slightly larger than the rest. I don’t wish to reduce the sales volume of BMW but if you can live with just over 200mm less length and 50ltrs litres less of a boot then the 3 series is also a real alternative to the 5 series, it’s that good.