The BMW 320 is a vehicle in the brand’s 3-Series lineup of compact executive cars. The German luxury and performance auto manufacturer has been producing the 3-Series since 1975. The 3-Series, including the 320, is a front-engine vehicle that is available in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. The BMW 3-Series is currently in its sixth generation, which made its debut in Munich, Germany, in October of 2011. The sixth generation of the 3-Series has been in production since 2012, and went on sale in February of that year. The previous lineup of 3-Series cars was available as a sedan, a wagon, a gran turismo five-door, a coupe, and a hardtop convertible, but for the sixth generation, the convertible, coupe, and gran coupe body styles were moved to the new BMW 4-Series lineup. In the United States, the 320i is available as a four-door sedan in both rear-wheel-drive and xDrive all-wheel-drive formats.
The BMW 320i is the entry level 3-Series vehicle, and though it features the same drivetrain as the more expensive 328i, it’s been configured to make the 3-Series as affordable and as accessible as possible. That doesn’t mean the power output is on par with the 328i, though. Though both of these vehicles come equipped with a 2-liter four-cylinder twin-scroll turbocharged engine, the 320i achieved just 180 horsepower as compared to the 328i’s 240 horsepower. Though the 320i comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission with sport mode, both the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the 320i can be equipped with a six-speed manual transmission for no extra charge. The 320i can accelerate from 0-60 in 7.1 seconds when equipped with both the automatic and manual transmission options. The Environmental Protection Agency rated the 320i for fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon city and 36 miles per gallon highway for an automatic transmission, and fuel economy with a manual gearbox suffers just slightly, dropping to 23 miles per gallon city but retaining the same efficiency on the highway. The BMW 320i has a top speed of 130 miles per hour. The powertrain features a fuel saving auto stop-start function to reduce fuel consumption at idle and a brake energy regeneration system to capture and save kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost through the vehicle’s deceleration. The 320i also features driving dynamics control with several settings for economical, comfort, or sport driving preferences.
Standard equipment on the BMW 320i is a bit sparse compared to the rest of the 3-Series, but that’s the basis of this trim level’s existence. Many of the more desirable features are available as options, but that will quickly price a decked-out 320i right up there with the next-highest trim level. The 320i comes equipped with 17-inch lightweight alloy wheels with all-season run-flat tires, halogen adaptive headlights, halogen fog lamps, daytime running lights, six-way manually adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth wireless integration, an engine stop/start button, memory functions, dual-zone automatic climate control, dynamic cruise control, ambient cabin lighting in the front and back, rain-sensing wipers, BMW’s iDrive communications system with a 6.5-inch full color screen, and an audio system with USB integration. Standard safety features on the BMW 320i include anti-lock disc brakes, adaptive brake lights, front knee and side airbags, and the BMW Assist emergency communications system.