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Road Test : BMW 318d

Review by Tristan Tancredi - 10 October 2012

The 3 Series, BMW's best seller since its debut in 1975. In fact, the 3 series compact executive sedan accounts for approximately 30% of total BMW car sales.

The sixth and current generation 3 Series includes an array of model variants such as; Diesel (318d, 320d), Petrol (320i, 328i, 335i) and an Active Hybrid 3 (335i).

We spent a week testing the base model diesel (318) to gauge a sense of the direction of the 3 series. Let's take a closer look.

BMW 318d

Make: BMW
Model: 318d
Price: $56,400*
Transmission: 8-Speed Auto
Engine:  BMW TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder Diesel
 Max Power: 105Kw
Max Torque: 320Nm
Fuel consumption: 4.5L* per 100kms
CO2 Emissions: 118 g per hour
Safety: 5 Star Euro-NCAP
Car Supplier: BMW Australia



Drive: 3.5/5

The base model diesel is on the slower end of the 3 series when it comes to speed. Accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds, the 318d trails the 3-series pack by quite a margin. In fact the 320d with 8-Speed Sports transmission is 1.5 seconds faster at reaching 100km/h and slower still compared to the petrol variants all fitted with sports transmission.

The 318d with 8-speed automatic transmission (with eco and sports mode capabilities) feels most at home on city and suburban streets. Shuffling along in inner city traffic, or coasting along outer Melbourne Suburbia and the 318d feels comfortable and capable. Take it outside onto the open freeways and the torque and power reductions become noticeable.

This first became an issue merging onto a freeway. With the pedal planted to the floor, the 318d didn't exactly respond to the drivers need for speed. Nontheless, the 318d remained smooth and the engine never felt like it was overworking, it was simply sluggish reaching any speed in a reasonable time.

Despite exerting less power then its fellow 3 series brothers, the 318d doesn't fall behind when it comes to handling and cornering.

And hey, you're definitely getting from A to B in style!

BMW 318d

Engine: 4/5

The 318 is fitted with a BMW TwinPower turbo 4-cylinder diesel engine.

The 2.0 litre engine is quiet and refined. Auto Stop-Start is installed across the 3-series range to conserve fuel. The Stop-Start function works by automatically switching the engine off when the car is stationary at a red light or a stop sign. A gentle thrust of the accelerator and the engine will seamlessly kick back on.

Across the range, Brake Energy Regeneration is used to ensure that the full power of the engine is always available for acceleration. The Brake Energy Regeneration also assists with fuel conservation. With the 318d a combined fuel consumption of 4.5 l/100km positions the car well in the fuel conservation landscape. (In comparison the 320i drinks 6.0 l per 100kms.

Driving the car through a mixture of its driving modes (Sport, Eco, Normal), we ended up with fuel consumption figures of 7.0l/100kms. Not quite the 4.5l that BMW states.  

The 2.0 litre engine provides 105kW of power and 320Nm of torque.

Exterior: 4.5/5

The 3-Series shape and design repects the previous generations. Staying true to the previous styles, the 3-series is a majestic, prestigious compact executive sedan.

With the slight tweak here and there to the exterior look, the 6th Generation 3-Series still maintains a strong on-road presence. Thanks mainly to the combination of the BMW kidney grille and the front headlights, the vehicle also maintains its sporty charm.  

Curve lines are delicately placed along the vehicle to provide an elegant flow that screams class.

The 318d measure in at 4624mm long, 1811mm wide and 1429mm tall and is fitted with 16" light-alloy wheels.

BMW 318d

Safety: 5/5

The 2012 3-Series sedan acheived a 5-star Euro-NCAP safety rating.

The 320d was put to the test and received a ridiculously high overall score of 36.76 out of 37. Granted the model put to the test was a Euro Left-hand-drive, we can assume the right hand drive models are of an equal safety score.

A host of airbags (driver and front passenger, head in front and rear and side for driver and front passenger), Dynamic Stability Control (ABS, CBC & DTC), a Rear View Camera and a Safety body sheel that absorbs impact during an accident are the major safety aspect of the 3-series.

Interior: 4/5

BMW has a reputation for its quality interior and for good reason. The 318d lives up to the prestige of the brand and adds a little more just for good measure.

The drivers position is designed in a way to give the driver the optimum sense of control of the vehicle. Locked away in the drivers seat and everything feels safe, cotrolled and secure.

The seating of the 318d is made from Sensatec man-made leather and is comfortable and spacious. This high quality interior is combined with a highly detailed media and communications system (iDrive).

Comparable to an Audi, the 318d comes with a media dial knob to the left of the gear stick and unlike an Audi, the BMW isn't as simple to navigate through the media/navigation options displayed on the 6.5-inch screen. It can become a tad confusing to navigate through the options and at times this can become an on-road distraction.

Colour co-ordination and style lines culminate to highlight the simple, prestigious interior design that efficiently maintains focus toward the road ahead.

BMW 318d

Overall: 4/5

The 318d is a well-priced compact executive sedan at around $56,400. The 320d costing around $60,990 more comes with a few more goodies that would offer an overall more enjoyable driving experience.

That's not to say the 318 isn't enjoyable, but add bit more power and some more torque to the equation and you will notice the difference.

A great, reliable family sedan. Be sure to take one for a test drive.

* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised BMW dealer.



  • Price Competitive

  • Design and Handling

  • iDrive Efficiency

  • 0-100km/h

Comments on the review? The Car? Your Car? Email us.

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