How It Drove - Ride and Handling
BMW’s reputation for driving dynamics is well established and its engineers’ religious adherence to rear-wheel drive, McPherson strut/Z-axle suspension units and a 50:50 weight distribution coupled to technologically advanced engines transforms every drive into a perfectly balanced almost choreographed experience and will leave you preaching the gospel of rear-wheel drive to all who will listen.
I'm not one for marketing hype but the 320Cd certainly exceeded my expectations of driving a BMW - It is a superbly balanced car with exceptional levels of grip. The steering is well balanced, direct and responsive although I’d prefer a little less assistance. Under more demanding driving conditions the standard sports suspension can leave you feeling a little too familiar with the road surface. However, you always feel in tune with the car and at no time did it feel anything but stable/secure and well mannered. The optional Star Spoke 119, 8J x 17 alloy wheels our test car was equipped with were prone to tram line but overall they enhanced grip and handling.
Dynamic Stability Control System including traction mode and DBC (DSTC III) is now standard on all BMW 3 Series Coupe models. DSTC monitors the individual grip of all four wheels and intervenes when it detects the car may be losing control. Directional stability is maintained by reducing power and applying the brakes to individual wheels to retain control. Cornering Brake Control (CBC) is also standard on all new 3 Series models and tempers the natural tendency for a car to become unstable at the rear if the brakes are applied heavily whilst cornering, counteracting potential oversteer whilst retaining maximum stability.
Importantly for enthusiasts (not for those of average driving skills) all electronic driver aids except ABS can be switched off allowing the raw capabilities of the car to be experienced to the fullest.
BMW 3 Series Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||BMW 320Cd SE Coupe|
|Body Type||3-Door Coupe|
|Colour||Black Sapphire Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||8.8 Seconds|
|Top Speed||137 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||62.8 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||4|
6-year/Unlimited Mileage Anti-Corrosion Guarantee
3-year BMW Emergency Service
|Price (when tested on the 07/06/04)||OTR £24,310|
Car tested £27,005
Includes the following options:
Metallic Paint £495
BMW 6 Disc CD Changer £250
Electric Drivers Seat With Memory Function £1100
BMW Business CD £100
Electric Folding Mirrors £190
Star Spoke 119, 8J x 17
Alloy Wheels £560