It is the cleanest, most efficient BMW ever. At 109g/km it is the first premium car with CO2 emissions under 110g/km and manages to eke out 68.9mpg from a single gallon of fuel on the combined cycle. Such figures will be a source of joy not only for private buyers paying out £1.10 a litre and rising, but also being in VED band B, the annual road tax is just £35.
Company car drivers and fleet managers will be delighted for the same reasons but also because the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon attracts only 13 per cent benefit in kind for drivers. Companies also benefit from the opportunity to write down 100 per cent of its value in the first year, and claim tax relief against profits, greatly improving cash-flow. The cash flow benefit and the lower cost of money should see contract hire rates fall by up to five per cent over 36 months, according to the fleet industry. (Compared to equivalent vehicles with emissions above 110g/km).
There is yet another reason why drivers of the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon will be happy. This car does not achieve such niggardly consumption at the expense of driving pleasure: this is no ‘vanilla’ driving experience at the cost of carbon sobriety. The revised engine produces 163hp and 380Nm of torque enabling the 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon to sprint to 62mph in 8.0 seconds, accelerate smoothly in fifth gear from 50 to 75 mph in 9.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 142mph. Peak torque is available from 1,900rpm ensuring flexibility where the driver needs it.
The remarkable range of abilities displayed by the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon is due not only to the full range of EfficientDynamics elements already described, but also to some new technologies that take the concept to a new level. It uses the same new all-aluminium 2.0-litre diesel engine announced above with developments to minimize friction and improve thermodynamics – resulting in more efficient motoring that is easy and comfortable to achieve.
Diesel engines are most efficient at lower engine speeds, but they suffer greater vibration at low revs. The challenge for BMW’s engineers was to minimize engine noise and restore comfort to allow drivers the use of lower revs. They achieved this by deploying centrifugal pendulum absorbers within the two mass flywheel to compensate for the rotational lack of balance at lower speeds. With this problem solved they could now choose a longer final drive ratio and a gearshift indicator that encourages earlier up-shifts. These technologies allow drivers to spend a greater proportion of time in a higher gear and at a lower engine speed, thereby lowering fuel consumption.
In addition, the chassis ride height has been lowered by 15mm, unique 16-inch ‘aero’ wheels are standard fitment and these are equipped with tyres with a lower rolling resistance, all measures to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag.
Continuing with the philosophy for BMW EfficientDynamics, BMW will not charge extra for all the measures that make the impressive performance figures possible. Therefore the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon will share exactly the same retail price as the 320d SE Saloon. The cleanest 3 Series ever has a retail price of £26,480 (£27,280 OTR) and shares an identical specification (excluding 16-inch aero alloy wheels) including automatic air conditioning, rear Park Distance Control and an auto dimming rear mirror, to mention but a few.