BMW 3 Series Sedan 320i Review
Safe bet made better?

Story & pictures by Azfar Hashim
31 Jan 2009
 

Changes are usually done to keep up with times, but for the 320i, can you spot what they are?

Aesthetics

The junior executive class is one of the most competitive, with familiar players like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volvo, Alfa Romeo and even Volkswagen trying very hard to appeal to car buyers in this particular segment. After all, buyers looking around here are usually the well-informed set who knows what they generally want for the money they’re willing to fork out.

It comes to no surprise then that at most times, this group are spoilt for choices. So much so that even the Japanese wants a slice of this lucrative segment - case in point are Subaru’s Legacy GT and Lexus’ IS250, which are worthy competitors too.

If you’re the new executive who just made it big and is choosing his first ever junior executive sedan, you should’ve already done your research and jolly well know that the obvious choices will be (a) BMW’s 3 Series, (b) Audi’s A4 and (c) Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class. Choosing any one of these ensures your office-cred and, well, let the rest of the office know how far you’ve made up the corporate ladder.

Now we all know the BMW 320i, and its long accolades over the years. But when the E90 3 Series came along (all thanks to the brilliant Chris Bangle of course), it created an impact that caused everyone in this rat race to up their game – ultimately making it advantageous for consumers.

But along came the new Audi A4.

Not to be outdone, BMW immediately went back to their drawing board to see how else they can improve their hot cake. It looks good and relevant still, so the changes done to its exterior should be kept at a minimal – just like the saying “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” At the same time add some goodies, and improve upon some technical bits.

Obvious changes to the 320i’s exterior include new headlamp and tail lamp assembly, and this time around, BMW decided on the extensive usage of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). At my last count, the front has 16, while the rear has 15 for its parking and signal lights.

The changes are not limited only to the lights though. Up front, the blue propeller badge is flanked by two subtle humps on the bonnet, kidney grills made bigger and also a new bumper that has more curvy lines than my ex-girlfriend (bless her) – giving it a more prolific face now. The rear bumper was also restyled.  


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1995cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Bore x Stroke (84 x 90)mm
Power 156bhp @ 6700rpm
Torque 210Nm @ 4250rpm
Power to Weight 108 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 8.2s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 228 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 16.4 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FR

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4531 x 1817 x 1421) mm
Wheelbase 2760 mm
Kerb Weight 1445 kg
Boot Capacity 520 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 63 L

Brakes