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WhatCar? Awards 2012

Executive cars

BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics auto

Green Awards 2012: Executive cars winner

Volkswagen Polo Hatchback Sponsor image


List Price: £29,605
Target Price: £28,335

Key facts

True MPG 56.0mpg
True CO2 141g/km
Particulates 0.1mg/km
Govt MPG 68.9mpg
Govt CO2 109g/km
NOx 171mg/km

The trouble with eco diesel models is that the measures that make them so efficient often leave them badly compromised in other areas. However, the BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics is a 3 Series through and through.

It uses a slightly less powerful version of the 2.0-litre diesel engine in the regular 320d, and adds longer gearing, lowered suspension and low-rolling-resistance tyres to help push official CO2 emissions down from 120g/km to just 109g/km. Despite all this fettling, though, driveability is largely unaffected.

For starters, the ED has the same 280lb ft of torque as the regular 320d and pulls strongly from 1400rpm, so it’s easy to keep the engine on song.

Then there’s the way the ED rides. It might have lowered suspension, but it makes up for this with small, 16-inch wheels and non-run-flat tyres; you’d need to drive the ED and 320d back to back to notice any difference in the way they deal with bumps.

The news isn’t all good, because no version of the latest 3 Series handles as well as a BMW should unless you spend £750 on Adaptive M Sport suspension. However, it still balances comfort and body control better than most rivals.

Like all 3 Series models, the ED has a smart and impeccably built cabin, there’s plenty of room for four adults, and boot space is comparable with rivals’.

You’ll struggle to match the official mpg figure in real-world conditions, but our True MPG tests suggest that 56mpg is realistic, which is still pretty impressive given that you never feel that you’re having to make any sacrifices to achieve it.

You can even have BMW’s super-slick eight-speed automatic gearbox without feeling guilty, because this doesn’t affect the economy or emissions.

Read the full BMW 3 Series review

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