Mwerks reviews the European BMW 320d

3-Series | October 15th, 2009 by 14
320d front 750x500 Mwerks reviews the European BMW 320d

While we were visiting Germany for the Frankfurt Auto Show, we decided to include in our trip an extensive test drive of the BMW X6 …

While we were visiting Germany for the Frankfurt Auto Show, we decided to include in our trip an extensive test drive of the BMW X6 xDrive30d. Great car, fun and fast, but maybe not the most fuel efficient choice we could have made.

Well, our friends over at Mwerks decided to go that route and jumped behind the wheel of a BMW 320d, a four-cylinder 2.0 liter diesel that outputs 177 horsepower at 4000 rpm and 221 lb-ft of torque

The 3311-pound coupe runs from0 to 60 mph in about 7.7 seconds and tops out at 144 mph. BMW 320d Coupe is rated at 49 mpg on the European combined cycle.

That’s the quick intro, but let’s have a look at the review and great photos posted by Bryan.

320d front 655x436 Mwerks reviews the European BMW 320d

As impressive as this sounds on paper, it doesn’t mean much if the real-life experience is a letdown. Having spent the majority of this year alternating between a Jetta TDI (the most popular diesel car in America) and a 335d sedan (a car that totally eradicates all preconceptions of what a diesel power is all about), we had a pretty good idea what to expect. Namely, we expected the kind of refinement we’ve come to trust from our 335d (if not the Jetta), but with a much more typical diesel power delivery (not terribly exciting, as with the Jetta). We know that most Europeans are willing to suffer with dismal athleticism if it means paying less at the pump, and while we were hoping the 320d wouldn’t be a total performance dud, we did set our sights intentionally low.

There’s something to be said for setting low expectations; by doing so we were actually blown away by how “normal” the 320d felt. It possesses virtually all the requisite refinement of any modern BMW. The one notable exception — as an American, anyway — is the typical, unmuffled clatter of a small-displacement diesel at idle (its engine note is entirely indistinguishable from that of any other oil-burning four-banger). Aside from that, there’s nothing about the way this car drives that sets it apart from most other 3-series coupes.

With all that torque from such a low engine speed, the 320d pulls away from stops with the kind of fervor BMWs are generally known for. The lightweight engine loves to rev — at least in diesel terms — to its 5000-rpm redline. In urban driving, the sweet spot is between 2000 and 3000 rpm, where torque progressively yields to horsepower. Keep it in that zone and you’ll have no problem squirting in and out of narrow traffic opportunities. Gearing is perfect for the 30- to 50-mph grind.

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