This is a limited edition model of the 320d Sports which was introduced recently for the Malaysian market. Externally the car looks similar to any other facelifted E90 model. Similar to the 320d Sports the car’s package includes lower profile tyres, firmer suspension set up, M door sills and M leather steering wheel, just to name a few.
Unique to this Performance Edition model is the addition of BMW Performance accent strips on each side, black front kidney grilles, Alcantara and Walkanappa leather trim on the handbrake and gear lever, and aluminium pedal pads. However, there is no xDrive and no iDrive.
Visually the car appeared only to have cosmetic enhancements compared to the 320d Sports. I did not notice any modifications/enhancements on its powerplant or chassis that will significantly differentiate it from the 320d Sports. Hence, for this article I will still refer this sample model as the 320d Sports.
Internally the layout and design is similar to other E90 models. You’ll get the Aluminium Glacier Silver trim which provides a good contrast to the darker panels on the dashboard. The car sports the M leather steering wheel with multi function buttons. Legroom is generally adequate for both driver and passengers.
The leather seats are firm and comfortable. Seats adjustments are mostly electronic with some adjustments done manually. The headrests do not have provision for forward adjustments but this generally won’t be necessary.
The car is powered by the same powerplant as the X3 20d which I sampled recently, ie the N47 engine block. Max power is 177 hp @ 4,000 rpm while max torque is 350 nm @ 1,750 – 3,000 rpm. Upon ignition, there was audible engine clatter from outside. Internally engine noise was adequately insulated although a distinct vibration could be felt on the steering when the car idles. Idling speed was around 750-800 600-700 rpm.
When we first got our hands on the sample model, it was still very new and hardly had any mileage on it (around 160km). At that point the engine felt raw and was not as smooth as the one on the X3 20d. However, there was no discernible turbo lag and power was readily available on tap.
Further breaking-in over the subsequent weeks resulted in an improvement in engine refinement. Although the specs stated that the century sprint for the 320d Sports is faster at 8 sec vs 9.2 sec of the X3 20d, the initial phase of acceleration felt slower on the 320d Sports compared to the X3 20d. I suspect the lack of the xDrive (which would improve grip and traction) might be the factor. However, with better balance and lower weight the 320d Sports is the faster car once it picks up momentum.
The sampled car’s 6-Speed automatic transmission with manual Steptronic provided smooth gearchanges and there was no jerkiness even during hard acceleration. The gear ratios for the 1st and 2nd gears are spaced quite far apart from each other. However, the car was able to accelerate up to the 100km/h mark even on the first three gears quite easily. Similar to the X3 20d, the presence of low end torque of the N47 powerplant makes the 320d Sports an enjoyable and ideal car for urban and semi-urban driving.
In terms of fuel consumption the 320d Sports is impressive. The specs stated an average fuel consumption of around 6 liters per 100 km. In the actual driving average fuel consumption hovered around 7.1 to 7.5 liters per 100 km which was quite good for a new car. The M leather steering wheel provided plenty of feedback and was precise. Similar to the entry level 320i, the steering felt heavy at low speeds and may not be to the liking of some drivers. Maneuvering the car especially when you are parking would require some effort.
The sampled car gets the M sports suspension set up which is on the firm side compared to the entry level 320i and 320i Coupe. Tyres are 17 inch run flat Bridgestone Potenza with slightly thinner profile rear tyres. The ride was not as harsh as I had expected but instead was quite acceptable even for my fellow passengers. The car rides quite low but was high enough so as not to hit the undercarriage when you drive over bumps. The car was capable of making high speed turns without upsetting its balance.
Boot space is generally adequate most average sized families. Unlike other BMW models it appears that there is no provision for a 60/40 fold down of the rear seats to increase boot space.
The internal and external lights package is impressive and the car lights up brightly (including the door handles) when you remotely unlock the vehicle (this feature is common to the E90s). The ample internal reading lights are adequately bright to enable comfortable reading at night.
The car’s entertainment system (BMW Professional CD Radio) performed within expectations. The built in radio (with RDS), was able to track stations easily and provided clear RDS data on the LCD screen. There was a marked difference in sound quality between Radio and CD as the former lacked depth compared to the latter. The car’s air condition like all the other BMWs I have sampled was able to cool the car quickly which is important in a hot and humid place like Malaysia.
The 320d Sports is among the better E90 cars which I had sampled. The top notch diesel powerplant, good fuel economy, ride quality and balance made it an enjoyable drive. Perhaps to make it an even better car, BMW should have the xDrive as standard for this model and improve the balance of the weight/feedback of the steering.
|4-cylinder in-line diesel engine with 4 valve technology
Source: BMW Brochure
Note: Please reconfirm the above specifications with an authorized BMW dealer
Click on these to sample sounds from the car!