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BMW 325i review

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    The 325i offers great everyday handling, responsive steering and a smooth-shifting automatic transmission.

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Karla Pincott road tests and reviews the BMW 325i with extra kit and reduced price.

The mainstay of the BMW range has been given some extra weapons to take into what has become a close-fought battle.

For 35 years, the 3 Series has been the benchmark for the prestige medium-sized field - and last year notched up 37 per cent of BMW's sales here. But in recent times it's had to fight harder against the Audi A4 and sales leader Mercedes-Benz C-Class - which launched a new assault last month. That doesn't worry BMW, spokesman Toni Andreevski says.

"We're very happy with how the 3 Series has performed in the segment over the past 36 years," he says. "We don't pay attention to a few months' worth of sales figures."

However the 3 Series has recently been well-positioned to claw back some territory with package and price adjustments.

VALUE

The main attention in the range has been given to the 325i sedan tested here, which has wiped $5000 off the price tag and added nearly the same amount in extra kit by making the Innovations package standard - giving you premium nav, voice control, high-beam assist bi-xenon headlights with washers, and power folding exterior mirrors with anti-dazzle function.

That gives the 325i a price of $71,900 for the manual, and a 'more for less' benefit of 11 per cent. But it's worth shopping it against the $59,700 BMW 320d and looking at adding in the extra spec options - thus saving 2.5L/100km with the diesel's better economy while getting the extra torque benefit.

The $67,900 C-Class C 250 and $69,300 A4 2.0T quattro both have less power but more torque than the 325i. They also have slightly more boot space, and the Audi wins in usable rear seat room - something to consider if the kids are growing.

DESIGN

It's a handsome body and face, but not outlandish. And that means while there's a new look coming next year, the current one will still look good in traffic for a while to come. The interior is a different matter, where even the contrast of real metal accents against the dark dash of our test car wasn't enough to prevent it feeling outdated.

We liked the roomy boot, but would have welcomed better design for storage around the cabin. The door pockets are miserly, the multi-level centre console bin is annoying and the pop-out dash cupholders - which position your coffee for the optimum trajectory toward your lap - are just plain scary.

TECHNOLOGY

The 325i gets a 2.5-litre inline six-cylinder with 160kW of power and 250Nm of torque put to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual, or the six-speed auto on the test car.

Worth comment - since it used to be commented on so adversely - is the nav, entertainment and information 'command central' iDrive system, which has over time been simplified and become much more user-friendly.

SAFETY

It's got five crash-rating stars, six airbags and any number of safe-tech acronyms. But no spare - which is not a problem with the run-flat tyres as long as you stay within city limits. Pot(hole) luck in the country.

DRIVING

The 325i is far from the most powerful in the line-up - that gong of course goes to the M3 end of the range -- and it's not the most economical. But it's also far from being the runt of the litter, and for those who want to stick to a middle-position petrol engine it offers a good prospect.

There's enough torque on offer to tickle it along respectably, and the majority of buyers will never be dissatisfied with the reserves. The ride is a good balance between cushioned compliance and a dose of firmness that avoids wallowing, and the cabin's level of hush probably has official librarian approval.

But the real pleasures of the car are in the driving. While the M3 will out-track it, the 325i offers great everyday handling, responsive steering and a smooth-shifting automatic transmission.

VERDICT

Whether you're crawling in the city, or cruising in the country, this car will keep you comfortable and contented.

BMW 325i

Price: from $71,900
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
Resale: 56%
Service interval: 15,000km/1yr
Thirst: 7.2L/100km (7.4L auto); 98RON, 168g/km CO2 (174g auto)
Safety equipment: Six airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD, EBA, TC
Crash rating: 5 star
Engine: 2.5-litre inline 6-cylinder, 160kW/250Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, six-speed auto
Body: four-door, five-seater
Dimensions: 4612mm (L); 1782mm (W); 1395mm (H); 2760mm (WB)
Weight: 1430kg (1460 auto)
 

RIVALS

ImageBMW 320d- compare this car
Engine
: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel, 135kW/380Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, six-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Body: Four-door sedan
Thirst: 5.3L/100km, diesel, 140g/km CO2


 

ImageMERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS C250- compare this car
Engine: 2.1-litre 4-cyl turbo petrol 150kW/310Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body: Four-door sedan
Thirst: 7.2 l/100km, petrol, 167g/km CO2
 

 

ImageAUDI A4 2.0T QUATTRO- compare this car
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo petrol 132kW/320Nm
Transmission: six-speed manual, seven-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Body: Four-door sedan
Thirst: 7.4 l/100km (7.5 auto), petrol, 173g/km CO2 (179g auto)
 

 

 

 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 14 comments

  • BMW and Mercedes are in a class of their own. Once you have experienced owning one you cant go back. Full stop.

    William of Reservoir Posted on 01 September 2013 1:41pm
  • BMW and Mercedes are in a class of their own. Once you have experienced owning one you can’t go back. Full Stop..

    William of Reservoir Posted on 01 September 2013 1:40pm
  • Might add to this. Bought a 325i in Seattle 18 months ago ... fully optioned and cost $34K. Same car in Oz was ~ $67K at the time. Hmmm.

    Sean of Freo Posted on 03 August 2011 9:18am
  • Thankyou Cecil Emtage for that freshening sense of BMW insanity! Anyone who buys a BM over an Aussie car has their heads screwed on backwards - compare BM prices in USA to Oz! LOL

    mokbel Posted on 29 June 2011 5:30pm
  • How does that price reduction compare to the change in exchange rate?  Not very well I’m afraid…same goes for all the Euro marques, the importers are making massive profits.

    Daniel of Australia Posted on 22 June 2011 8:14pm
  • @Cecil Emtage: A pointless supercilious comment indeed, which does absolutely nothing to add to the store of human knowledge!

    Walcha Wombt of NSW Posted on 21 June 2011 4:41pm
  • There is no way you can compare a Lexus (overrated Toyota) to a European car like a BMW or Merc. You are correct there, for same money you can have an IS350 it would better in almost every, Performance, equipment reliability quality, resale except snob value, but Lexus also rip off aussies same as BMW merc etc US price around $39k but not half as bad as BMW, Merc, go for a test drive in one and then compare.

    RipOffOZ of Melbourne Posted on 21 June 2011 2:22pm
  • BMs are definitely nice cars but yet they are no Alfa.  My drive of choice.

    e2 Posted on 21 June 2011 11:47am
  • I own a BMW 325. Great cars, however, a higher spec’d BMW 328 in the U.S. would be around USD$38,000 on road even though the Aussie dollar is stronger.  BMW Is making more money now on each car than ever. There is no way you can compare a Lexus (overrated Toyota) to a European car like a BMW or Merc. (forget the Audi rubbish).

    Brad of Sydney Posted on 21 June 2011 8:58am
  • This BMW should be $50k, along with C and A4. Hello, strong currency anyone? We are being raped for our money here. Sick of it.

    Jo Blows Posted on 18 June 2011 12:10pm
  • Why don’t you consider a Lexus 350L as a rival - it’ll kick all their butts!

    wayne of brisbane Posted on 17 June 2011 6:48pm
  • Overpriced by about 50% ... like all cars in Australia.

    daniel Posted on 17 June 2011 6:26pm
  • The new C class or the Audi are much better than this overpriced BMW. BMW really need to review their pricing structure.

    Jabba The Hutt Posted on 17 June 2011 4:08pm
  • What you find is that a majority of the people that drive these cars are not Holden drivers and therefore have a streak of normality in them.

    Cecil Emtage Posted on 17 June 2011 2:43pm
Read all 14 comments

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