New BMW 316i looks neat and attractive, doesn’t look like a low-cost machine

New BMW 316i looks neat and attractive, doesn’t look like a low-cost machine

BMW Australia has introduced a new entry level model to its 3 Series range. While not cheap in absolute terms, the new 316i is priced at a pretty reasonable $50,900.

There’s little doubt the pricing decision has been brought on by the introduction of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and is also intended to give the Audi A3 a run for its money. BMW differs from its two chief rivals in providing the handling dynamics of rear-wheel drive.

Phil Horton, BMW Australia Group’s managing director, says the new 316i sedan is the most affordable automatic 3 Series sedan for almost 15 years. Indeed, “When you consider its generous standard specifications, the 316i represents the best value 3 Series sedan ever” according to Horton.

Despite its entry level pricing, the BMW 316i sedan has reasonably high specification levels.

Passenger comfort and convenience features include dual-zone climate control that’s assisted by heat/sun protection glass; Sensatec pseudo leather upholstery, leather multi-function steering wheel; Radio Professional which includes a 6.5-inch display with iDrive controller and six programmable memory buttons as well as a USB audio interface. There’s an board computer, Bluetooth connectivity and the sophisticated cruise control includes a braking function.

In case you still have money to spare, the BMW’s comprehensive list of the 3 Series options and packages program is there for the taking. Owners can customise their 316i with any of the three lines available: Sport, Luxury or Modern.

The M Sport Package offers a range of alloy wheels, interior trims, colours and aesthetic features.

Additional individual options such as M adaptive suspension, variable sports steering and Sport seats further enhance the already good driving experience.

Safety and connectivity features, such as business or professional navigation; surround view; lane change and lane departure warning; adaptive bi-Xenon headlights with high-beam assist; and a high-end Harman/Kardon sound system are also on the list.

The 316i sedan uses BMW’s 1.6-litre TwinPower turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine. It produces up to 100 kW of power, and a useful 220 Nm of torque at a mere 1350 rpm. That torque means that almost all drivers will be using peak torque virtually all the time.

This very efficient engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and can accelerate the car from zero to 100 km/h in a respectable 9.2 seconds.

Just as importantly, BMW EfficientDynamics technologies, including the auto stop-start, brake energy regeneration and the clever Eco Pro mode mean the BMW 316i achieves outstanding efficiency. It has been officially measured at just 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres. Emissions are 137 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

As you would expect, there’s a full suite of safety features; these include DSC, the active protection accident preparation program; six airbags; dynamic braking lights; anti-dazzle interior mirror; rain sensor; automatic headlight; and rear park distance control.

The first examples of the new BMW 316i are being loaded onto ships bound for Australia as we speak, but won’t go on sale until June. We have seen buyer rushes on new models like this in the past so it may be worthwhile contacting your local dealer before the on-sale date to avoid being trampled.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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