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BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Review & Road Test (2010) part 2

Tue, 12 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0700

BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Road test and review - part 2

The BMW 32d EfficientDynamics could have been a step too far. It could have been a  cynical marketing car; one dreamed up by bean counters and marketers instead of engineers and car people. And on paper you could conclude that you’ll be wearing a bit of a hair shirt to benefit from the almost unbelievable eco-stats this ultra frugal 3-Series offers.

But if that’s what you think – and to be honest we had pretty much the same expectations – you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. Because as far as we can tell there is practically no difference between this 320d ED – with its million miles to the gallon and fresh air from the exhaust pipe – and a regular 3-Series diesel.

Yes, the wheels jar modern sensibilities just a bit where we’re used to lower profile tyres, but that passes soon enough. Apart from that all there is to say ‘Eco-Beemer’ are a couple of little ‘BlueEfficiency’ badges and a sticker in the back window proclaiming stunning eco-credentials.

Inside is the same understated elegance and bullet-proof build quality as any other 3-Series. You might notice the 320d ED is a bit lower when you climb in – or fall in if you’re 6’3″ and slightly past the first flush of youth – but that’s all to make the 320d ED slip through the air that bit better. And because the suspension doesn’t get stiffened-up the drop in ride height has no impact on ride quality.

Not only is there no impact on ride quality, there seems to be no impact on anything except your wallet. You get the same beautifully balanced response you get across the range; the steering is as sharp and informative as ever and you can still feel the point just before the back starts to shift through the seat of your pants.

And if you’re going to de-tune an engine to improve emissions and ec0nomy, this is our sort of de-tune. Yes, there’s 16 or so horses less to play with, but there’s also some extra torque. One seems to balance the other and the performance is within a gnat’s of the regular 320d. Which means 8 seconds 0-60mph and 140mph.

One neat trick on the 320d ED is the ‘Two mass flywheel with a centrifugal-force pendulum’. Which sounds very oily-tech but is basically weights inside the flywheel which counteract vibration. In the real world that means you can poodle along in traffic at a smidge above stalling as smoothly as if you were running sensible revs.

Being able to drive at 1.000 revs may not seem like a big deal, but you’d be surprised how often we found ourselves doing just that in slow-moving traffic. Which must help emissions and economy.

So it’s all great news then? Nothing to moan about? Don’t be silly, of course there is.

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By Cars UK