The BMW 320i Guide

Introducing the BMW 320i

Guide Version: 1.0. This guide was created on 09-18-2015 and updated monthly with new information.

The base model in the BMW 3 series, the 320i gets the same necessities as the 328i but with a bigger cut off the tag which allows for more options and add-ons.

Whenever the topic of sports sedan comes into the conversation, the first answer will most likely be “BMW 3 Series”. And yes, as we’ve covered in a previous guide, it has been tested time and time again that the BMW 3 Series has a serious lineage of sporty cars, be it coupes or convertibles that are still the Bavarian automakers bewitching line that accounts for almost 30% of their total sales.

Practically speaking, the name BMW 3 series has associated itself as synonymous to the idea of sports sedan, becoming a long-standing favorite among critics and consumers alike. But along those lines of setting itself up as the series with reliability and undeniable quality, the BMW series is also synonymous with its variance in the models.

Whether you like a wagon or a sedan, all- or rear-wheel drive, be it that you want it in diesel, gasoline or even hybrid-electric motored, chances are the BMW 3 series has it to offer. As equal to most of their vehicles, BMW doesn’t fail to flourish their models with extensive add-ons, options, bundle packages, and more. But at its heart lies the base of the BMW 3 series: the 320i model.

What You Need To Know About the BMW 320i

Performance

Being the base followed by four other models, namely the 328i, the 328d, the 335i, and the ActiveHybrid3, the 320i is the most basic but still the best-rounded engine that the BMW 3 series boast of.

Powering the base is the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that has an output 180 hp with 200 pound-feet of torque. In less than 7.3 seconds, it leaps from 0-60 mph with a considerable EPA of 28 mpg. As per EPA, it’s rated as 24 for city and 36 for highway driving for their rear-drive sedan with automatic transmission. But with the xDrive versions and the manual transmissions, it still puts out up to 27 mpg combined.

Driving

While it may not be the best in terms of all-around driving experience, there’s barely noticeable improvement between the 320i and the 328i/328d. It packs a very desirable punch for a base model and the four-cylinder engine still has that purr you’re looking for in the M3 series.

As for the steering, it’s considerable but may be labeled as the weakest link in the package. Older BMWs may have that special feel that’s otherwise missing in the 320i, which only provides a precise feedback though not very detailed. The dynamic steering option also goes out of sync during times.

Interior

All of the models in the 3 series provide a contemporary feel for the driver. But to make sure that it still has that inviting and comfortable feel, BMW manages to place the aesthetic in line with providing a historical link with BMW’s previous decades. From the interior, you are given the classic analog gauges, some optional thematic equipment, and the freedom to fully customize your dashboard to your personal preference.

The 320i, on the other hand, have that different feel to it that’s not present in the other models. For the 320i, the front seats are manually adjusted for that supportive and comfortable feel.

Safety

Although the 320i is the base model for the BMW 3 series, it still doesn’t become a lackluster in terms of safety standards. Every BMW 3 series, including the 320i of course, has the following safety features as standard: traction and stability controls, front side airbags, antilock brakes, side curtain airbags, and front knee airbags.

In order to improve its braking performance, there is some stability control system that allows integration of the system such as automatically snugging the pads to the rotors when you’re not peddling gas or periodically wiping the brake rotors dry.

Admittedly, BMW have a lot of hefty options that can be too tempting to resist. But luckily, since you’ll be getting the base 320i model, you’re guaranteed to save a little off the price tag which you can then use to afford such options which includes rearview cameras, parking sensors, lane departure warning systems, frontal collision warning systems, and automatic braking for crash mitigations.

BMW 320i SPECS

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

HORSEPOWER: 180 hp @ 6250 rpm

TORQUE: 200 lb-ft @ 1250 rpm

FUEL ECONOMY- 24/36 mpg

TRANSMISSION- 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 15.8 gal.

DRIVE TYPE: Rear wheel drive

TOP SPEED- 155 mph

0-60MPH- 6.5 sec

Price: $34,775 (base price: $33,475)

WHY YOU SHOULD GET THE BMW 320i

Even in its most basic permutation, the 320i in the 3 series models still holds that reliability and quality you’d expect from the Bavarian automaker. Of course, it’s not always the case that the cheaper variants are celebrated well enough—that is until the 320i.

While carmakers present the customers’ models tarted with numerous options and add-ons rather than sense, in its purist sense, the key-and-a-heater, the price leader, and the stripper is one way of getting the worth of your car. Take the 320i up the front line for that.

Starting at $33,475, it’s noticeably $4550 less than the 328i which holds barely any noticeable improvements on its performance. Of course, the 328i may give you the extra 60 horsepower, but it’s not really evident until the mid-accelerated drive. What’s more, the acceleration from the 320i is just 0.9 seconds slower from 0-60 as compared to the 328i.

But aside from that, the 320i is literally like the 328i, from the four-cylinder to the quiver-free structure up to the spastic startup. The weight distribution remains equal at 50/50, front and rear. But to improve your driving experience, although not necessary, the Sport package truly comes a long way—especially if you’ve got money to spare from that one heck of a deal you got for the 320i.

PROS

√ Excellent ride and handling balance

√ Powerful and fuel-efficient engines;

√ Upscale interior with straightforward controls

√ Spacious seating.

CONS

× ActiveHybrid 3 lacks typical hybrid efficiency;

× Automatic stop-start system is intrusive.