BMW is falling over itself to introduce ‘Green’ cars. It’s running TV adverts telling us that a BMW is a ‘Joy’, and only managing to throw the Bob Lutz penned ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ in as an afterthought. They’ve released details of the ActiveHybrid X6 and the ActiveHybrid 7. All very commendable, but if they carry on in this vein they’ll end up being perceived as the ‘Green’ cars that used to be ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’.
It seems like only five minutes – actually, it was June – that BMW announced the 316d ES as the most frugal car they have ever made. And guess what? This new BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon is labelled as ‘BMW’s most fuel efficient and greenest 3 Series ever’ in the Press Release. Where does that leave the people who ordered the 316d ES only two months ago?
So what does the 320d EfficientDynamics offer? Actually, an astonishingly frugal package which is still wrapped up in BMW’s 3 Series very good platform. Still great driving dynamics; still good looking and still a nice car to drive. But you get 163bhp, 0-60 mph in 8.0 sec, 137 mph and a frankly unbelievable average of 68.9 mpg. And for those who care – and we must as we’re taxed on it – just 109g/km CO2 emissions.
So what has BMW done to the 320d to make it so fuel efficient, but still perform well? Actually, quite a lot. They’ve had a play with the engine construction and put in a longer final drive. They’ve also lowered the suspension and added Michelin EnergySaver Tyres (not driven a car with these – do they still work properly?).
One bit straight from the BMW blurb:
The BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon also comes with a dual mass flywheel with springs between the two parts to help smooth out any engine vibration through the drivetrain. This is enhanced with the fitting of new Centrifugal Pendulum Absorbers to improve smoothness further. This feature increases motoring comfort and should result in the driver using a higher gear more often. This innovation combined with the longer transmission ratio thus serves to significantly reduce engine speed compared to a ‘standard’ 320d Saloon, benefiting fuel economy and emissions.
Which is pretty smart stuff, although relatively simple to achieve. Of course, you also get the usual BMW Fuel-Saver stuff, like auto stop-start, brake regeneration and electric power steering. Trim is on a par with a 320 SE, so you get AirCon, PDC, Multi function wheel and extended lighting pack.
No word on price, but the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics will launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month and go on sale in January.
I can’t help being astonished at the frugality and performance of these ‘Eco’ cars. Admittedly, they aren’t that frugal if you use the performance, but this new 320d Efficient Dynamics is only 0.5 second slower to 60 mph than a late ’80s BMW 635. And that did 18 mpg if you were lucky!