BMW’s top-selling 3 Series variant in recent years, the entry-level
four-cylinder 320i, has returned to the fold after a model-change
The 320i is now armed with a more powerful and more
fuel-efficient turbocharged direct-injected 2.0-litre petrol engine – a detuned
version of the N20 engine from the 328i that kicked off sales of the new
sixth-generation F30 3 Series earlier this year.
Alongside the 320i at
the bottom of the 3 Series range is a new model, the diesel 318d, that uses a
detuned version of the 2.0-litre diesel engine in the existing 320d, while also
losing a few bells and whistles to create a price leader to attract fresh
customers to the Bavarian brand.
With sub-$60k pricetags, these most
affordable 3 Series models are expected to do much of the heavy lifting in the
showroom as BMW looks to claw back Mercedes-Benz C-Class’s lead in the
medium-size luxury-car class.
Model release dates: May 2012 - September 2015
BRANDISHING all-new ‘flame surfacing’ styling that defined BMWs in the 2000s,
the fifth-generation 3 Series sedan grew in every department compared to its
popular E46 predecessor.
It also introduced the company’s controversial
iDrive system to the long-lived range.
Six-speed gearboxes prevailed,
even in the base 320i (110kW/200Nm).
Models included the 160kW/250Nm
2.5-litre inline six-cylinder 325i (joined later by a detuned 130kW/230Nm 323i
version), as well as the 190kW/300Nm 330i – until a 225kW/400Nm 335i twin-turbo
six-cylinder range-topper arrived.
For the first time, a diesel 3 Series
was released in 2006 (115kW/330Nm 320d).
Along with a raft of changes, that was
uprated to 125kW/340Nm during 2008, as was the 320i (to 115kW).
powerful 180kW/520Nm 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbo-diesel was added in
2009 (330d), but the performance flagship was the 309kW/400Nm 4.0-litre
V8-powered M3 – the first in Australia in four-door sedan guise.
was also the E91 Touring wagon (from 2006) and E92/E93 Coupe/Convertible
Minor trim and visual changes were introduced during 2010 and