This BMW 3 Series is the Bavarian carmaker's entry-level luxury sedan. Now in its sixth generation, it competes against the likes of the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4. While the latter might be old in the tooth, the C-Class is near spanking new. And, to give the 3 a fighting chance against the Mercedes, BMW has given its sedan a mild facelift. It is available with only one engine badged the 320d but in four trims - Prestige, Sport Line, Luxury Line and M Sport. The one you see here is the M Sport priced at Rs 44.5 lakh. It gets an M aerodynamic package on the exterior and inside, but otherwise it is identical to the other three trims.
The facelifted 3 Series gets full LED headlamps, revised DRLs, LED fog lights, reworked bumpers and tweaked LED tail lamps as well. In M Sport trim, the front and rear bumpers are more sculpted and the side skirts are more aggressive looking too. There’s an M Performance logo on the side and it gets 18-inch dual-spoke five-arm design pattern alloys as standard.
Inside, as part of the M Sport pack, the doorsills gets the M Performance badging, aggressively styled and upholstered seats, and M-spec steering wheel wrapped in black leather with some contrasting aluminium. These add-ons do give the 3 Series’ insides a sporty aura. Moreover, the front seats don’t just look good; these are supportive too and come with plethora of adjustments, done electrically, of course. Add to it a steering that adjusts for reach and rake, and the 3 presents a great driving position, no matter how tall or short the driver might be. One also gets paddle shifters as part of M Sport pack.
The quality of interiors – be it look or feel, fit and finish, operability or the overall execution of the design – is top class. It also gets chrome highlights, high gloss surfaces and a new 8.8-inch high-resolution display. Wish the display had touchscreen interface, though. Right now, the screen is accessed via the intuitive and quick responding iDrive controller. The 3 Series’ cabin is a practical one too with sensibly located stowage spaces, logically placed knobs and buttons, and enough room at the rear to transport two adults in comfort.
Another noteworthy feature is the updated Heads Up Display unit that comes with 3D graphics and efficiently displays the audio and navigation shortcuts apart from the speed on the windscreen.
Under the hood of the facelifted 320d is a brand new 2.0-litre diesel engine. This turbo diesel mill puts out 190bhp of max power at 4,400rpm and a peak torque of 400Nm comes in at as low as 1,750rpm. On the road, this translates into a 7.2 seconds 0-100kmph sprint and an electronically limited top-speed of 230kmph. Besides packing in good performance, the 320d’s engine also scores for its refinement, smooth and uninterrupted power delivery, and alert throttle response. The engine is mated to an eight speed ZF automatic ‘box that sends power to the rear wheels. It is seamless in its shifts and sharp in its responses.
The 3 Series comes with four drive modes – Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Every mode alters the engine response, the gearshift character, and the steering’s weight and reaction. In Comfort and Eco Pro modes, these responses are more relaxed; meant for effortless driving. In Sport and Sport+ modes, the engine is more reactive, the gearshifts are quicker and happen at higher rpm, and the steering weighs up well too. And in Sport+, this BMW also allows the driver to turn off ESP. It makes things more exciting for sure, but we don’t recommend it on public roads for the margin for error is wafer thin.
But one doesn’t need to be a race driver to enjoy the 3, for its handling is both involving and forgiving at the same time. The steering direct and the chassis is responsive and willing and it turns into corners smoothly. The 3 Series is stable in a straight line at speed too, and it brakes with progression, power and stability from three digit speeds as well. As far as ride quality goes, sure the 320d is firm – not helped by the 18-in, low profile rubber – but it’s not bone jarring, skittish or terribly noisy.
|Variant||320d M Sport|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||188bhp @ 4,000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400Nm @ 1,750|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||57|
|Tyre size||225/45 R18|
|18-inch double-spoke alloy wheels||Yes|
|Different driving modes||Yes|
|Sports seats with alcantara upholstery||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||320d M Sport||C 250|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||188bhp @ 4,000||204bhp @ 3,800|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400Nm @ 1,750||500Nm @ 1,600|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||57||-|
|Tyre size||225/45 R18||225/50 R17|
The BMW 3 Series facelift in 320d M Sport guise has gotten two things absolutely right: It’s a gorgeous looking car and it drives like a BMW should. It is quick, involving and fun. Moreover, it is the sportiest car in its class; neither Mercedes nor Audi has one at this price point. And the Jaguar XE is a petrol. So, if it’s a frugal (relatively speaking, of course), sporty and good-looking luxury sedan you want, and don’t mind the low ingress and the stiff ride, the 320d M Sport is a fine buy.
Photo Courtesy By : Kapil Angane