Let’s face it: as much as we love the BMW M3, the high purchasing costs, expensive maintenance, increased gasoline prices and, for older iterations, tighter emissions regulations and high road taxes, will prevent most of us from owning one.
Do we really need an M3 in our lives, though, or are we better off with one of the lesser models? The new M Division-prepped 3er is not out yet, but from a financial standpoint, the balance tilts in favor of the latter, and depending on where you live, you could choose between several variants of the premium compact car.
Americans have to settle for the 330i and 340i, with rear- or all-wheel drive, whereas Europeans (and others) have more options to choose from. The petrol lineup counts the 320i and 330e PHEV as well, whereas the diesel range includes the 318d, 320d and 330d, with a number of of trim levels that should satisfy most demands.
Thanks to the decent performance and fuel economy, combined with an engaging driving experience, the 320d is one of the most popular versions of the car. The 2.0-liter, four-pot produces 187 HP (190 PS / 140 kW) and allows the sedan to accelerate to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.9 seconds from a standstill with the xDrive AWD system, or in 7.1 seconds without it.
As it turns out, achieving those numbers is relatively easy, and the rear-wheel drive 320d M Sport model depicted on video below was actually a tad faster than the official estimates. It also did very good in other timed tests, so if you live in America and want to see what you’re missing out on, then you may want to scroll down and click on the play button.