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Car reviews - BMW - 3 Series - 320i sedan


7 May 2003

CAPTURING the zeitgeist of its era, the second-generation BMW 3 Series had crisp, Teutonic styling, a solid cabin and the lusty 105kW six-cylinder engine 323i to its credit. In comparison the 77kW 1766cc 1.8-litre four-cylinder 318i felt underpowered and under-equipped. A Baur 318i Cabriolet arrived in late ’83, soon followed by the popular four-door variants. Then BMW dropped the ball when it replaced the 323i with the unleaded petrol 90kW 325e in early ‘86. Using a new low-rev/high-economy “ETA” six-cylinder engine, it felt very un-BMW to drive. It also put the four-door 318i on hiatus for two years from late 1987 just as the two-door version finally got the decent 83kW 1796cc 1.8-litre engine the 318i deserved. It accompanied the Series II facelift of Jan 1988, which saw revised suspension, interior trim, grille, bumpers, taillights and wheels. The 320i four-door sedan featured here was the least expensive of the straight-six BMWs available, offering a silky smooth 95kW 1990cc 2.0-litre unit that suited the E30's grand touring ambitions quite well.
Model release date: 1 February 1988 to 1 March 1990

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