For years, actually even decade in a row, the BMW 3-Series has been the limit every premium manufacturer wants to surpass in the mid-size dream team segment. Every generation of the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse, together with their Avant and T-modell counterparts have tried and tried to equal or better the Bavarian supremacy in sporty handling in this class.
The E91 Touring has raised that level even further, and the facelift version brings dynamics engulfed in a very fuel efficient package, just so its competitors try even harder. The 320d xDrive Touring's steering is as precise and comunicative as ever and the three-spoke wheel feels like the one in a real sports car.
The way it lets the driver know exactly to where the directional wheels are aiming at each moment is a small masterpiece in itself. You can count the family cars that can bring the driver so much pleasure with only one hand's fingers.
Following a series of complaints about the harshness of the ride, BMW has somehow tweaked the run flat tires into something that is now a perfect compromise between decent comfort and tremendously good handling. By keeping the car perfectly planted at all times, high speed cruising on the highway can give you real sense of confidence.
On top of that, the engine's biggest attributes can also be felt especially in long distance travel. For example, at a cruising speed of about 130-140 km/h (80-85 mph) on the highway it only uses 5-5.5 liters of fuel for every 100 kilometers (43-47 US mpg), which means that the long distance driving range can surpass 1000 kilometers (over 600 miles) with only just tank of fuel. The somewhat noisiness of the engine becomes much less evident on the open road, and at higher speeds it is kept quiet by the aerodynamic noise.
Being an all wheel drive, you'd expect at least some decent unpaved roads performance, but considering the ground clearance at its lowest point is only 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) we would advise you not to venture onto the most godforsaken roads out there. The 320d xDrive Touring's biggest paradox remains the Hill Descent Control system, which we think would be more appropriate on a car that can actually use it. But, whatever, it's better for a system to be present than missing, as redundant it may be.
Most people would have the impression that by having that intelligent xDrive system to keep the power flowing to all four wheels means the car will never skid. Well, that's partially true. After finding a non-populated area we switched off the both the traction control and the stability control (by keeping the traction control button pushed for several seconds) and started playing with the car in a deserted parking lot.
Let us give you a word of advice. Don't ever do what we did except if you're blood-related to a rally driver that ends his last name in “nnen” and have nothing to crash into. Although as a somewhat of an excuse, the driving surface was a mildly wet and our car had winter tires on, we almost felt like being in a rear wheel drive car every time we accelerated too hard.
The xDrive system is safe, much safer that the other type of traction at BMW, but you can only totally benefit from that safety if you keep the driving assist systems on. Otherwise, it's just as sporty/unsafe as any other rear wheel drive BMW. Which can be either a good or a bad point, depending on which side of the driving talent fence you are sitting.Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
Oh yes! Finally a small car for delicate girls like me to carry me to work during the week-days and to my boyfriend's chalet in the mountains at the weekend. To be honest, size doesn't matter (a lot) to me as long as it brings the same satisfaction but, with the risk to offend one of my favorite German brands, I will just say “Thanks, but no thanks” to their BMW 320d Xdrive Touring. Sorry, guys...
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