BMW 320d ED
We get behind the wheel of the new BMW 3 Series with EfficientDynamics on UK roads for the first time
Once again, BMW has made a car that impresses at the pumps as much as it does on the road. In EfficientDynamics guise the newcomer rides better than any other 3 Series, which is a bonus. The fact it costs the same as a 320d SE and has an equal amount of kit leaves buyers with a choice – improved efficiency or improved performance?
The new BMW 3 Series is the cleanest premium compact executive car on sale. The economy figures alone are impressive, at 68.9mpg and 109g/km, but performance is just as good. Fitted with the six-speed manual tested here, the 320d ED will accelerate from 0-62mph in only eight seconds – 4.2 seconds quicker than VW’s equally frugal Passat BlueMotion.
The EfficientDynamics has 16-inch alloys (buyers cannot specify larger rims). But while that means it doesn’t look as stylish as some of the sportier models, it rides very well indeed.
It soaks up rough roads like no other 3 Series we’ve driven and those high-profile tyres – which are also not the standard, stiffer run-flat units fitted to most BMW models – are the reason why.
Without the optional adaptive chassis we’ve become accustomed to on the 3 Series, the EfficientDynamics rolled a little more in corners. But the weighty, communicative steering and short-throw box ensured that this low-emissions car is still a lot of fun to drive.
Some of the familiar criticisms of the latest 3 Series remain, such as the refinement of this diesel, which falls marginally short of the Audi A4’s, and the slightly cramped rear seats.
But as with the 116d ED, the 320d ED costs no more than the equivalent SE model, at £28,080. There’s plenty of standard kit thrown in, too, including air-con, cruise control, and rear parking sensors.
That means the choice is up to you. Company car drivers may prefer the tax savings offered by the ED, while private buyers may want the standard 320d SE, which is half a second quicker from 0-62mph. It does have the firmer run-flat tyres, though.