Road test – the BMW 320d

Could this BMW be the perfect car for high-mileage drivers?

BMW’s never one to rest on its laurels. After listening carefully to customer feedback, the car manufacturer has finely honed its popular 3 Series range. And the result is the latest evolution of the 320d.

Saloon or estate, this 2.0-litre diesel is an executive dream – offering a cocktail of power, comfort, low CO2 rating and impressive economy. This could prove the perfect car for high-mileage drivers.

The official combined economy figure of 58.9mpg will make most people sit up and take notice. They aren’t the type of figures you’d expect to see from a 177bhp BMW, capable of hitting 60mph from standing in under eight seconds.

But that’s not all – so frugal is the 320d – it’s been fitted with a stop-start mechanism to cut the engine automatically at a standstill – every little helps!

Green but gutsy

More concerned about saving fuel than getting places? The 320d is no gutless wonder. It might be tree-huggingly clean (look at its 128 CO2 rating) but the motor willingly delivers strong acceleration on demand. The German manufacturer has refined its diesel unit for effortless motorway cruising and yet made it flexible enough to tolerate stop-start town driving.

It’s not just under the bonnet where changes have taken place either – the bonnet itself has changed. It’s now beefier looking and the trademark kidney grilles and headlights have a more streamlined appearance. In fact, subtle styling tweaks across the car’s interior and exterior keep the 3-Series looking fresh.

Tricking the eye with some cunning optical illusions, BMW has made the car appear longer and more muscular without actually adding any extra kg or cm to the spec sheet.

The 320d sits in the lofty car insurance group 14 so it isn’t going to be the cheapest car to cover, which is why it’s important to try an insurance comparison site to compare car insurance quotes to find a good deal.

Gadgets galore

If you’re a high-mileage driver and interior is all-important, the 320d won’t disappoint.

The introduction of the iDrive display and controller, complete with handy shortcut keys, is a welcome addition. And the system includes better mapping and an easier way to switch between phone calls, Sat Nav and radio.

On the road, the 3 Series has always been well mannered rather than thrilling. Its compact, well-balanced proportions and sporty rear wheel drive mean the 320d is precise, responsive and rewarding. However, on the days when getting from A to B as smoothly and painlessly as possible is paramount then, like the stroppy teenager in front of his friend’s parents, the BMW instantly goes on its very best behaviour and delivers stress-free motoring.

For the high-mileage driver, BMW’s pleasing mix of refinement, comfort and nearly 60mpg is a tempting combination almost too good to turn down.

The cost of refinement and all this gadgetry is £26,680 on the road (price quoted for the test model, 320d SE). However, if you don’t have all that cash to hand but you simply must have the latest BMW 320d, you can always search for a great deal on car loans.

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