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BMW has announced a new entry into the 3-Series family, the 320i. This new entry level sedan slots in below the 328i and becomes the cheapest BMW available for sale today. Its base MSRP of $32,550 is a full $4,300 less than a base 328i. The new 320i is powered by BMW’s award winning 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder. In this application the little four-cylinder pumps out 180 horsepower and 200-lb/ft of torque. Buyers can choose a proper three-pedal manual with six forward gears or a high tech 8-speed automatic. The car is still rear wheel drive and features a near perfect 50/50 weight balance, so that 3-Series handling magic should still be in full effect. BMW claims that the car will hit the 0-60 run in 7.1 seconds and top speed has been limited to 130 mph. For buyers looking for a little more traction, the 320i will be available with the xDrive AWD system, but choosing four-wheel motivation means you only get the 8-speed auto. Preliminary fuel economy numbers for the 320i are pegged at 22 city and 34 highway for the manual, and 23 city 33 highway for the automatic. The 320i xDrive snags a 22 city/33 highway rating.
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The 320i is available with all the optional goodies expected from the Bavarian car firm. BMW assist telematics, BMW apps, heated front and rear seats, xenon headlamps, navigation and more are all up for grabs. There is also an optional Sport Package with 18-inch alloy wheels, increased top speed, sport seats, M sport suspension, M steering wheel and a dark anthracite headliner. Sport Package cars equipped with xDrive swap the standard summer rubber for all-weather tires and forego the M sport suspension. Other available packages for the 320i include Cold Weather Package, Premium Package, Driver Assistance Package and Lighting Package.
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We think the new 320i represents a huge opportunity for buyers. The engine in the 320i is essentially a de-tuned version of the engine found in the more expensive 328i. This should make it very easy for buyers to extract much more power and performance from their cars, and expect to see a huge performance aftermarket follow this car. Add in its aggressive pricing, and the 320i may become one the greatest enthusiast BMWs since the E36 cars from the early 90s. If our money were on the line, we would suggest the manual transmission and the Sport Package. This combination should provide a great mix of handling and driving pleasure without breaking the bank. Look for this newest member of the 3-Series family to hit showrooms this spring.
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