Driven: BMW 320d M Sport

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Photography: Megh Bhavsar

The BMW 3 series has been the hot favorite for people who fancied performance and an involving drive experience, along with luxury. The corona ringed headlamps and that built-to-kill aggressive stance, not to forget the beast of an engine made it all the more desirable. Ruling the roost along with the other German counterparts, and now with the advent of the Jaguar XE, the Beemer was up against some fresh competition. BMW has pulled up an ace with this 3 Series facelift, armed with a new engine, mildly reworked suspension and a few nip and tucks.

Our test car was the new top of the line M Sport, sporting beefier bumpers and the M badging on the front fenders. The sleek tail lamps and headlamps get the LED treatment and are now standard across all trims. The M Sport package offers M badging on the wheels and fenders, minus the throaty exhaust. It offers the perfect balance between luxury and performance. The materials feel more premium and luxurious.IMG_1339

From the driver’s seat, the paddle shifters clubbed to the M3-inspired 3 Spoke steering wheel are a welcome change. The cup holders get a sliding lid and fixed wells for the cups.The sunroof and a high-res 8.7 inch screen for the iDrive . One rather surprising omission of the reverse camera is a little bothersome.

The facelift now boasts of a new 2.0 litre mill which churns our 190PS power & 400 Nm of torque as opposed to the outgoing engine’s 186PS/380Nm output. Another performance factor is the launch control, which will enable you to sprint from a standstill to 100 in 7.2 seconds. The power delivery is linear, a catapulting low end rev, punchy mid-range and a top end to actually let your hair down. Refinement levels are better than the older car, the engine doesn’t sound coarse at standstill; just a muffled clatter considering it’s a diesel.

The 8-speed ZF gearbox blends perfectly with the engine and enables the 1.4 ton giant to effortlessly cruise at 100KMPH without running out of steam. The shifts are smooth and timely without jerking or juddering. The M Sport is wrapped with low profile tyres which offer decent ride quality; the tweaked suspension helps to absorb the undulations better and the alloys are tasteful and add to the overall appeal of the 3 Series M sport.IMG_1347

The 3 Series facelift has all the cards up its sleeves: a power packed engine, confidence inducing handling and refinement that aids everyday drivability. To the untrained eye, the BMW 3 Series may pass as just another 3 Series, but behind the wheel, it feels different – and now manages to be a well rounded package.IMG_1215

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