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Moving up on the car ladder

The 3 series from BMW is one of the best loved car models by tuning enthusiasts, with a whole culture developed around it

May 2012 - From the Print Edition

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The German manufacturer therefore put a lot of effort into getting the best stuff they have into this mid-sized segment car. BMW has launched the sixth generation of this money-making model, and the carmaker certainly played a winning card. The car is simply good.
The tested model was the best-selling 320 version fitted with a diesel engine and the brilliant automatic eight-speed gear box.
This is a good-looking car, the test vehicle being the Sport line version with 18 inch wheels, black shiny grille and window trims, and in my opinion a real improvement in terms of design on the outgoing model.

With 184 hp, the engine is strong enough for most situations, but itís not what you would call cultivated. It suffers from the handicap of having only four cylinders and the sound it makes has the specific diesel rattle.
The eight-speed automatic is a state-of-the-art transmission with smooth changes in Comfort mode. For sports enthusiasts the Sport and Sport Plus driving modes are available, offering stiffer suspension setting and a quicker gear change at higher revs, reacting the instant you pull the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The interior quality has improved again, in terms of design and functionality as well as the quality of the materials. The interior design theme matches the exterior, the Sport line version I test drove having red accents, matching the exterior color.

The 3 Series is a longer and larger car than before. This is beneficial for the inside of the car, where there is now 15mm more knee room and 8mm extra headroom for back seat passengers. Combined with larger side windows, this makes the car feel far more spacious and comfortable than its predecessor. The boot has grown by 20 liters to 480, making it the same size as a front-wheel drive Audi A4 luggage compartment. In terms of electronic gadgetry, the 3 Series has it all and more, from Active Steering and Dynamic Drive to surround-view cameras and head-up display to specially developed APPS for the iPhone that will offer a whole new internet experience in the auto world. Trim levels include Modern, Sport, Luxury and M Sport versions, each with individual characteristics to suit the personal taste of the motorist.
The BMW 3 Series is a car for drivers. It handles better than anything else in its class, and the electronic settings will make it either the most conformable or one of the stiffest in the compact segment.

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