BMW 320d in Xdrive M Sport mode
BMW 320d in Xdrive M Sport mode
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BMW 320d xDrive M Sport

What is it?

Head over to the BMW configurator. Type in ‘3-Series saloon,’ then scroll down and eventually you’ll come to this 320d xDrive M Sport.

Still for many the standard bearer among classy compact saloons, the BMW 3-Series also continues to be well up on the company car driver wish list. Right at the heart of the action then sits the 320d with its efficient 2.0-litre turbodiesel.

BMW 320d xDrive M Sport cockpit
BMW 320d xDrive M Sport cockpit

With more pep than the base 3-Series models yet lighter, cheaper and more tax friendly than the higher spec Threes, the 320d can be seen as a highly equitable all-rounder.

Go for this particular version (and there are innumerable variations to choose from), the 320d comes with BMW’s lightweight four-wheel-drive (xDrive) system and desirable M Sport add-ons to spice up the action.

For business users, the questions are: a) how does it compare to other models in the range (particular the uber tax friendly 320d ED Plus) and b) well, should you order one?

What’s hot?

  • It’s the latest gen BMW 3-Series saloon so a classy upscale product with an image to match.
  • Quality look and feel inside and out as you’d expect from the BMW 3-Series with its 40- year history in the junior exec class.
  • Go for the 320d and you’re getting a well proven four cylinder 2.0-litre TwinPower turbodiesel, good for 190 bhp and 7.4 secs for 0-60 mph.
  • The eco numbers (60.1 mpg combined economy) and C02 emissions of 123 g/km also give the 320d a fair crack in the green car class.
  • From business car point of view, with a 24% company car tax band and £8584 BIK for 2016-17, the 320d is not the cheapest deal around. But then within the vast 3-Series family it’s not it’s not the most expensive, either.
  • The xDrive system? While it adds (some) weight and complexity, it’s otherwise unobstrusive, helping to boost all weather grip and traction.
  • Tick the M Sport box and you’re getting 18-in Star-spoke alloys, Dakota leather upholstery, front sports seats/DAB tuner and eight-speed Sport automatic transmission….
  •  …while our test car bumped up further with the M Sport Plus package (£2575) which brought M Sport brakes, 19-in alloys, Harman/Kardon audio and so on…BMW’s  Professional Media Package (sat/nav, BMW online services, real time traffic data etc) was another £900.
  • M Sport, meantime, brings that extra edge of dynamic and visual flair without harming day-to-day usability and refinement.

 What’s not?

  • Crunch the numbers and you’ll get a better business deal (ie 99 g/km, lower BIK, superior 74.3 mpg economy) with the similar engined 320 ED Plus which also costs less.
  • While the xDrive 4WD system may save you the embarrassment of being stuck at the bottom of the hill when the serious snow arrives, for the rest of the year there’s inevitably a (slight) penalty to pay in terms of C02/economy versus the standard 320d rear-drive model.
  • As ever, the complex BMW 3-Series spec list needs very careful study: you may be surprised by what’s standard fit and what isn’t…
  • While impressively refined and torquey on the move, the BMW’s 1995 cc engine sounds disappointingly rattly at idle.

Business Car Manager verdict:

The BMW 320d continues to be a successful blend of executive sports saloon and solid business car choice. Faster and dynamically keener than the lead-in 3-Series models yet a lighter ask than the top end six cylinder cars to buy and run, you could say the 320d is out there as a pretty effective all-rounder.

BMW 320d does the business
BMW 320d does the business

While company car drivers will obviously be attracted by the 320 ED Plus with its ultra low taxes and running costs, this ‘regular’ 320d brings a useful upturn of pace and driver appeal without being too far adrift on the costs factor.

We like the discreet way the xDrive all-wheel-drive system operates, boosting all-weather traction with only a small trade off in terms of economy and Co2, while the M Sport trappings sportify the package and tech in a cutting edge way, albeit at a price…

Times are changing and while BMW is focusing a lot now on connectivity and autonomous drive (with the 330e plug-in-hybrid also on the blocks as another tech player for the Bavarians), this capable, good-to-drive 320d xDrive M Sport is an able reminder of BMW’s traditional values.

The Low Down on: BMW 320d xDrive M Sport Auto

Doors and body style 4-door sports saloon
Engine/gearbox: 2.0 4cyl turbo diesel/8-speed auto transmission
CO2 Emissions: 123g/km
Economy: 60.1mpg
Power/torque: 190bhp/400Nm
0-62mph/top speed: 7.4secs/142mph
Insurance group: 28

…..and what it costs

 

P11D Value £35,765
Monthly business rental (ex VAT) From £n/a (3yrs/30,000 miles)
Road tax (VED) Band D
Company Car Tax Bands 2015/16 to 2018/19 22%, 24%, 26%
Benefit in kind 2015/16 to 2017/18  £7868/£8584/ £9299
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%)  £972/£81
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%) £1945/£162
Annual/monthly company car tax (20%) £1574/£131
Annual/monthly company car tax (40%) £3147/£262
Figures correct at time of posting March 2016
For latest figures Use our company car tax calculator
Twin tail pipes for the BMW 320d Xdrive M Sport
Twin tail pipes and 18-inch Star-spoke alloys for the BMW 320d Xdrive M Sport
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