New models - BMW - 3 Series - 318d
BMW announces 3 Series price points
New entry-level 3 Series petrol and diesel variants to undercut Mercedes C-class
20 Jan 2012
BMW Australia has revealed pricing and specifications on new entry-level petrol and diesel versions of its forthcoming 3 Series sedan.
The range will now start at $56,400 for the 318d, which shares its turbo-diesel engine with the smaller 1 Series hatchback.
The entry-level 320i petrol will start at $57,600 – an increase of $1500 over the superseded model.
Both variants can be ordered from March, one month after the previously announced 320d ($60,900), 328i ($66,900) and 335i ($91,900) variants arrive in local showrooms.
BMW Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker told GoAuto the first batch of cars ordered in March would arrive here in May.
“It was no secret there would always be a 320i,” he said, “particularly given that it’s always been the volume seller in this car. But the 318d at this price point is fairly exciting news.”
The addition of these two variants will allow the Bavarian marque to undercut arch-rival Mercedes-Benz, with the 318d coming in at $4500 less than the cheapest C-class diesel – the $60,900 C200 CDI.
The 318d will also have more power (105kW compared to 100kW) and better fuel efficiency (4.5L/100km compared to 5.4L/100km/h) than the C200 CDI, although it narrowly loses out on torque (320Nm compared to 330Nm).
The 320i, meanwhile, will be $1300 cheaper than the cheapest petrol-powered C-class – the $58,900 C200 CGI.
Intriguingly, the engines in both produce identical outputs of 135kW and 270Nm, but the 3 Series has much better fuel consumption at 6.2L/100km against 7.2L/100km for the C-class.
The 318d has a claimed zero-to-100km/h acceleration figure of 9.3 seconds, while the 320i manages the same feat in 7.6 seconds.
Both engines are matched with eight-speed automatic transmissions, although only the petrol gets steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Standard features on both include pop-up colour display for the iDrive controller, dual-zone climate control, cruise control with brake function, electric front seats with memory, automatic lights and windscreen wipers, Bluetooth/USB connectivity and rear parking sensors.
The 318d rides on 16-inch wheels while the 320i gets 17-inch alloys, electric seat adjustment and additional front parking sensors.
Australia will be one of the first markets outside Germany to receive the 3 Series, due to short lead times from the South African factory that builds the car and the heated battle with Mercedes-Benz and Audi for luxury-segment supremacy down under.
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