The model of choice was the 2013 BMW 320d Touring powered by a 2.0 liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 184 HP and 380 Nm (280 lb-ft) of torque. It is capable of accelerating to 100km/h in 7.7 seconds.
Here is an excerpt from their review:
What does the new BMW 320d Touring bring to the party?
The BMW bounds back onto the battlefield with much to report, sir: an all-new, stiffer chassis with wider front and rear tracks; electro-mechanical steering that saves fuel by eliminating power-steering loads on the engine; an optional eight-speed auto; and standard stop/start tech, which cuts the engine at traffic lights. There’s also Drive Performance Control, which lets/forces you to toggle through four driving modes, from Eco Pro to Sport Plus – it tweaks the steering weighting, throttle response, traction control and optional adaptive suspension – and there are three new trim levels: Modern, Sport and Luxury. Prices go up by around £200 versus the old model.
The new 3-series is 97mm longer than before – there’s 9mm more headroom and 35 extra litres of luggage space – while the wheelbase is stretched by 50mm, unlocking 17mm of extra rear kneeroom. Yet it’s now 40kg lighter.
If you’re going to judge books by their covers, then the 3-series steals an early march on its rivals. Considering it’s become such a ubiquitous choice, the BMW looks ridiculously special and desirable with its flat headlights and aggressively sloping bonnet that evoke the Z4 sports car and set the scene for the athletic, poised stance that continues throughout. The Audi and Merc – special in isolation – only serve as foils while the BMW luxuriates in the limelight.
So which car takes the win?
Decision time then. Ultimately there isn’t a bad car here, but the BMW stands as the clear winner: on a functional level, rear seat passengers get more space and the boot can either match or surpass everything its rivals can throw at it, save for the Merc’s clever parcel shelf. Then there’s the fact that it looks so much more appealing, both inside and out, and that its rivals can’t beat its performance or mpg and CO2 credentials – though props to them for matching them.
What really seals it, though, is the drive: the Mercedes might feel comfort-focussed, the Audi quite dynamic, but the BMW proves you can have your cake and eat it, because it’s as comfortable as the C220 CDI and more refined than the Audi, but at the same time it’s more rewarding to blast over a favourite road than either of them.
Every car you’ll ever need? That’ll be the 320d Touring.