What Car? Green Awards 2010 - Executive cars
Just when you thought the all-conquering 3 Series couldn’t get any more impressive, BMW comes up with this – the 320d Efficient Dynamics. It’s primarily designed as a special low-tax model; it also just happens to wipe the floor with every other green compact exec going.
Read our review of the BMW 320d ED
It’s all down to an upgraded diesel engine. Enhanced internal efficiency and longer gearing help to increase mpg and cut CO2. There are even measures to make the engine quieter at low revs: the idea is that if the engine doesn’t sound like it’s struggling at low revs in a high gear, you’ll continue to use that gear rather than a lower one, saving yet more fuel.
All this, combined with the gamut of efficiency-boosting measures fitted to all 3 Series models, produces spectacular results: CO2 emissions are just 109g/km – less than some city cars produce. That means company car tax is in the lowest bracket (13%) for diesel cars.
Claimed average economy is a staggering 68.9mpg – this is a compact exec, remember, not some lightweight eco car that’s designed for maximum economy at the expense of all else. Combine that with the 61-litre fuel tank and theoretically you can drive for 923 miles before refuelling.
Compromise? Not that you'd notice
So surely BMW has had to compromise somewhere? Yes, it has, but not that you’d notice; the engine is 20bhp down on that in the 320d, but it’s still punchy (0-62mph takes just 8.0 seconds) and impressively flexible.
The 320d ED rides and handles just like any other 3 Series, too – that is to say, brilliantly. Few cars combine agile, grippy handling with such a well-controlled, quiet ride. Refinement is equally good, with barely any wind, road or engine noise entering the cabin.
Ah, yes, the cabin. No other compact exec feels as solidly built from such classy materials. You’ll be comfortable behind the wheel and all the major controls fall readily to hand. Your passengers will have plenty of space to enjoy the journey, and the boot will take everyone’s luggage.
BMWs used to be meanly equipped; not any more. We’re not talking Lexus levels of standard kit, but nor will you have to spend excessively on optional extras.
You get dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and stability control as standard.
So the 320d ED is very cheap to run, great to drive and a pleasure to sit in. Add low NOx and particulate emissions to its other eco credentials, and you have the best green compact exec there is.
Green car fact file: executive cars
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