Hilton Holloway
10 March 2010

What is it?

The 320d ED is part of a refreshed 3-series range, which only sees cosmetic (including new bumpers and lights) changes awarded to the coupe and cabrio.

However, the standard 320d models get a refreshed engine, with a new 1800bar common rail injection system and an extra 7bhp (for a total 182bhp) and an extra 22lb ft of torque, taking it up to a maximum of 280lb ft.

The standard 320d also gets the full compliment of fuel-saving Efficient Dynamics kit, including the ability to selectively ‘switch-off’ the electric power steering, oil pump and air-con compressor. Start-stop is also standard. The upshot is that the standard-issue 320d is good for a Co2 figure of 125g/km.

The 320d ED, however, has a de-tuned version of the 320d engine, with power reduced by 20bhp. Added to this is a package of additional engineering measures including a longer final drive ratio, lowered suspension front and rear and new aerodynamic wheel rims.

The upshot is that the 320d ED has fractionally slippier body (a Cd of 0.26 instead of 0.27) and Co2 emissions that fall to supermini levels of just 109g/km, a remarkable figure for a car of this size.

What’s it like?

We tried the 320d on the country roads around Munich and found it to be as expected of the 3-series: well balanced, wieldy and acceptably swift. However, the new engine is more vocal under acceleration that the best of its rivals.

Another unexpected benefit is that the 320d ED has a notably smoother engine than its sister car. That’s probably thanks to the new dual mass flywheel, which gets a pair of ‘Centrifugal Pendulum Absorbers’ to further damp out engine vibration.

Like all the 2010 3-series, both 320d models are starting to feel their age. The control weights are a little over heavy, the windscreen a little too close to the driver and the chassis, though well balanced, is a touch leaden in its responses.

We shouldn’t forget, however, that this leadenness is relative. The 3-series is rear-drive and has a near perfect 50:50 weight distribution, which gives the car an inherent handling advantage over front-drive rivals.

However, this particular 3-series was prone to both instability in strong side winds and occasional strong wind rustle from around the windscreen pillars. Even so, it’s a satisfying car to steer in nearly all conditions.

Should I buy one?

With the 320d ED costing the same as the standard-issue 320d SE in the UK, why would any buyer not take the more frugal (and slightly more refined) tax-busting model?

Indeed, the UK’s enthusiasm for the BMW 3-series (and the Treasury’s enthusiasm for taxing business drivers) should result in 60 percent of all the 320d EfficientDynamics models made for the European market ending up on UK roads.

Join the debate

Comments
62

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:

Like all the 2010 3-series, both 320d models are starting to feel their age. The control weights are a little over heavy, the windscreen a little too close to the driver and the chassis, though well balanced, is a touch leaden in its responses.

Uh oh.

Could I ask worshippers of BMW marketing to please refrain from making obvious comments about 50:50 this and rear wheel that until they test drive another car? A ride in the new 5-Series would probably be a good start.

Where the new 5 feels like a modern car, all grown up and quieter and smoother, the 3 remains a bit too sporty try-hard for its own good - hardly a surprise that reviewers hopping from one to the other will find the latter a bit old and wooden. It's just not a good place to spend time any more. And it is looking/feeling old.

Lest we all forget, BMW got famous making cars which appealed to both drivers and their passengers. Be nice if they rediscovered that across the range, no?

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

It was good to finally read a more thorough review of this car, after the initial drives way back last Summer. I have one of the 320d EfficientDynamics on order, so was keen to find out your impressions.

As a company car driver, the numbers make perfect sense, in terms of tax banding and fuel economy, but it's reassuring to know that driver appeal hasn't been compromised to any great extent compared to the regular 320d.

If the road-testing team is reading this forum: one thing I'd be keen to know is about the special tyres fitted to the 320d ED: are they run-flats? Is the level of tyre noise on the motorway any higher than in the regular cars?

Also out of interest - what MPG did you guys manage to achieve in the respective 320d models you tried - was the eco-version much better than the 184bhp version?

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

Very impressive figures from this car, its clearly has by far and away the best performance-economy ratio ever seen. It renders the 316d and 318d pointless. Prius beating almost. BMW really are well ahead of the game.

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

bencookman wrote:
f the road-testing team is reading this forum: one thing I'd be keen to know is about the special tyres fitted to the 320d ED: are they run-flats? Is the level of tyre noise on the motorway any higher than in the regular cars?
hello

I drove three different 3-series models in quick succession, and the 320d ED did not seem to have any tyre noise problems on German motorways. And the standard Michelin EnergySaver tyres are not run-flats.

However, the test car was fitted with a warning sticker pointing out the test car was on winter tyres (an insurance requirement in Germany) so the test car may not have been entirely representative.

As for the fuel economy, it wasn't possible to properly test the consumption. We could only rely on the computer read-out.

Sorry for the confusion, but the 320d ED will be tested in the UK, in UK spec, very shortly.

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

That’s probably thanks to the new dual mass flywheel, which gets a pair of ‘Centrifugal Pendulum Absorbers’ to further damp out engine vibration.

Christ! How long will that lot take to start malfunctioning? Wouldn't like to be the owner of this car just as it goes out of warranty...

Bring back steel wheels.

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

The 320d has been 1800 bar since the car got the newer 177 2 litre lump and ED stuff along with Piezo injectors from Sept 2007 I believe. Is a very impressive car mpg wise and BMW must be applauded for putting on standard what many other manufactures charge extra for or badge Bluemotion, Econetic ect!!

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

JezyG wrote:
The 320d has been 1800 bar since the car got the newer 177 2 litre lump and ED stuff along with Piezo injectors from Sept 2007 I believe.

correct. The latest generation are at least 2,000 bar injection pressure:

The four-cylinder diesel engines in the BMW 316d, 318d and 320d.

New-generation common rail technology injects precisely-measured doses of fuel into the combustion chamber under a pressure of 2,000 bar, extracting maximum efficiency and enabling even smoother running. The four-cylinder diesel power unit in the BMW 320d needs less than 5 litres of fuel per 100 km and reaches its maximum engine speed at just 1,750 rpm. Yet it's responsive enough to propel the vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.9[7.5 with latest power upgrade] seconds.All BMW diesel engines are fitted with particle filter as standard and meet EU5 emission requirements (approved as EU5 in line with the EU5 incoming legislation).

http://www.bmw.com/com/en/newvehicles/3series/sedan/2008/allfacts/engine/4c_diesel.html

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

The 320d ED is part of a refreshed 3-series range, which only sees cosmetic (including new bumpers and lights) changes awarded to the coupe and cabrio. Err the 320d coupe (which I am in the process of finalising for my replacement co car) has it's engine uprated with greater torque, power is up to 181hp and CO2 down to 125 with 0.5 shaved off the unimportant 0-60 time. So not just cosmetic. The ED here runs on low roll resistance energy Tyrese and you can spec runflats if you wish. As they are also 16" with high profiles should ride OK. Will know this weekend when I compare the coupe and this.

I'm now on all fours

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

What a stupid post I am so sorry. My text got all mixed up with my inept ability to copy and paste on my phone. Any way I am looking at both coupe and saloon and will know this weekend which to go for. There that was easy - back to school for me.

I'm now on all fours

Re: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

4 years 35 weeks ago

The wheels are the wrong size - looks dumpy.

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