Test Drive: BMW 320d xDrive DCT image

The 6th generation of the BMW 3-Series has been here for more than two years and our team has went for a spin in such a model recently, in the 320d xDrive 8-speed automatic version.Engine and Transmission

The 320d is one of the most popular versions of the 3-Series ever, aimed towards the working man who has to drive to work every day and eventually take his kids to school. The 2.0L diesel engine (1,995cc) is the best compromise to enough torque to make you drive it sportier on several occasions and low fuel consumption. The unit is producing a total output of 184 HP (135 kW) at 4,000 rpm and it has a peak torque of 380 Nm (280 lb-ft), available from just 1,750 rpm.

This is definitely one of the best engines I have ever driven and for a unit to get into my personal top would have to be powerful enough to get me on a hill climb very easily and to burn a low amount of fuel once I get there so before heading towards the 330d I strongly suggest a test drive with this version. The tested vehicle was equipped with the DCT (dual clutch) automatic transmission, with 8 gears, the same one used on higher specs and also on other vehicles produced by BMW. Changing gears is almost unnoticeable and a fan of automatic transmissions will fall in love with it from the first five minutes.

When you slightly push the throttle in, let’s say “Eco Pro” mode, gears will be changed at approximately 1,800 rpm and you won’t feel like getting old before you reach the optimum urban driving speed but if this doesn’t suit you, BMW is also offering the “Comfort” mode, which is also available every time you stop and start your engine, automatically. This can be annoying sometimes but happily the button is in reach and you will start pushing it soon without taking your eyes off the road.

For drivers who like to feel the car underneath them, there is a “Sport” mode available too, which is making the engine come to life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a 320d so don’t expect M3 performance similar to the E30 generation but it does come in handy on a deserted mountain road. And to accentuate the feel, the fourth driving mode available is the “Sport+”, which disengages the traction control too. Sliding the rear end will be quite tricky because the xDrive all-wheel drive system constantly try to put the nose straight to the road.

Fuel Consumption

The 320d xDrive has an official fuel consumption of 6.2 L / 100 km in the city, 4.1 L / 100 km on the highway and an average of 4.8 L. This is achievable but in a perfect world where everyone goes to the field plowing and the roads are deserted. In the real world, I managed to get the trip computer to show me approximately 7.5 L / 100 km in the city, 5.1 L / 100 km on the highway and an average fuel consumption of about 6 L.

Interior Design

The common elements to other vehicles made by BMW found in the cabin can drive you mad, especially when you see the same buttons on the less expensive 1-Series hatchback but the overall design is conservative and yet modern, bringing a fresh touch to the interior. Even if you have chosen a premium car, some of the materials used inside it are quite cheap and this can be noticed especially on the dashboard. This compromise cannot be accepted but the overall balance of ups and downs will eventually get to zero, if you know what I mean.

The seats are good and comfortable but the ones found on the X1 for example are better. The white leather covering them can have a large effect on your brain but in time it will become grey and beige on several parts. The test car had about 10,000 km and wear marks were slightly visible. Add another two years and another 0 to the odometer and you will regret not having black leather on the seats.

When speaking about the controls I can’t help notice that from the driver’s point of view, the left seat heater and other buttons below and above it are not visible because of the steering wheel and I had a nasty surprise when the passenger sitting next to me played a joke and turned on my seat heater, even if the outside temperature requested a nice cool 16 degrees Celsius in the cabin.

Other buttons are where you would expect them to be, the iDrive is located on the center console and once you know what to push you will not have to lower your eye sight. The driving mode selector is located on the center console too, along with the Park Assistant. The controls found on the steering wheel may seem a bit exaggerated but you will eventually get used to them, as you will with all the safety gizmos added.

Likes / Dislikes

In the “Like” category I have to mention the High Beam Assist which was first added to the 7-Series a couple of year ago. The technology is providing an intelligent headlight system which is optimizing the illumination of the road without glaring on-coming traffic. This will be highly appreciated at night time and during poor weather driving conditions. The xDrive is a “must” if you have a 3-month winter time annually and you want to arrive at your destination without a high adrenaline level.

The automatic transmission is brilliant and the engine is even better, and so is the fuel consumption, which will make you forget about petrol stations for quite some time. In the other part I have to mention the rear seat, which isn’t offering plenty legroom. The Opal White leather trim found on the seats and not only has a poor quality and a low life expectancy so I suggest turning your head towards other colors. The front sport seats are good, but not as good as I would have expected and the suspension system is too stiff, but I guess this is a compromise for making the car sharp around corners. I also have to mention the price in the “Dislike” part too, because the tested car costs almost 65,000 euros.

Entry-level – 39,300 euros
Tested car – 64,150 euros

Tested Vehicle
BMW 3-Series 320d xDrive automatic
Engine: 2.0L diesel (1,995 cc)
Power: 184 HP @ 4,000 rpm
Torque: 380 Nm @ 1,750 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic double-clutch
Dimensions: length 4,624 mm, width 1,811 mm, height 1,446 mm
Weight: 1,585 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 57L
Trunk Capacity: 480L
0-100km/h: 7.5s
Top Speed: 250 km/h

4.1 / 5