The Bavarian engineers have been obsessed with having their cake and eating it for quite some years now. So, what is this desert made of? Class-leading performance and efficiency at the same time. So, let's see what the exact ingredients of the F30 320d are.
You start with a 1995cc turbocharged diesel engine that delivers 380 Nm (280 lb-ft) between 1,750 and 2,750 rpm and 184 hp at 4,000 rpm, virtually the same unit used by the replaced E90 generation.
You right foot won't quite feel that this is an oil burner, as the engine pulls linearly throughout the rev range and goes over 5,000 rpm. It feels muscular, but the fact that is uses a single turbo and offers a high specific output does bring a certain lag. Fortunately, this only becomes annoying if you drive the car hard.
However, the slight lag can be overcome by using the manual mode of the optional eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, not allowing it to go under a certain level of revs. The engine isn't quite as refined as it should be, but you only feel this while driving in the city at low and medium speeds. Once you go past a certain speed or you start abusing the throttle, it doesn't feel rough any more.
As for the transmission, this can now be found on most BMW models and is one of the best torque converter units on the market. You can downshift multiple gears at a time and the response is instant. A few years ago. nobody would've believed that you can actually enjoy a two-liter diesel working with a flappy paddle gearbox.
Like we said, the powertrain doesn't just convert diesel into sensations, but is also extremely careful with the amount of fuel used, with this being the most economical proposition of its kind.
The powerplant is not the only tech ingredient that has been inherited from the E90. The F30 uses its predecessor's aluminum, multi-link rear suspension, but this has received more rigid mounts. However, up front we have a dedicated architecture, which uses pseudo-MacPherson struts and lower wishbones.
It's now time to talk about the chassis, which has grown in length by 93 mm (3.7 inches), with 50 mm (1.9 inches) going into the wheelbase extension. In addition to that, the front track is now 37 mm (1.5 inches) wider, while the rear one was extended by 48 mm (1.89 inches). BMW topped that by using high-strength steel to increase torsional rigidity by 10 percent. All these assets make it almost impossible to believe that the vehicle is now 40 kg (88 lbs) lighter. As if that wasn't impressive enough, the car also comes extremely close to an ideal 50:50 weight distribution.
In the case of our test car, the connection to the road is established via adaptive dampers, with the system proving that it can please both hat and helmet bearers. The leather-covered steering wheel was connected to the (also optional) sport variable steering, which offers a good level of feedback. The system adapts to driving speed and makes wonders for its ratio, so you can forget the annoying "spin, spin and then spin some more" maneuvers forever.
Our test car was exploding with other optional goodies that range from a Professional navigation system to a Head-Up display, but we'll talk more about these goodies in the "Gadgets
" chapter.Continue reading
BMW 3 Series technical data summary
Engine: 1995 cm3 cc L4 diesel
Dimensions: 182.04 in (4624 mm) length / 71.3 in (1811 mm) width / 55.63 in (1413 mm) height
Get full technical data for BMW 3 Series →