BMW 3 Series’ entry level model is the 316i. It is powered by a four-cylinder, 1.6-litre petrol engine featuring BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, high precision injection, Valvetronic fully variable valve control and Double-Vanos variable camshaft control. The engine produces 136 horsepower, which might sound a bit modest for the sporty 3 Series Sedan. However, with the twin-scroll turbocharger the engine delivers nice amount of torque from its considerably small displacement of 1598cc. The maximum torque of 220 Newton metres is delivered at 1,350rpm.
As standard, the power is transferred to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is offered as an option. Pairing an automatic transmission with a small displacement engine isn’t usually a very sporty or efficient solution. In this case the combination works quite well, in both ways. Naturally, the performance could always be a bit better, but acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in 9,2 seconds isn’t bad for car with 1.6-litre engine and automatic transmission. With the manual transmission, the acceleration would be just 0,3 seconds faster, in case the driver makes perfect shifts. Top speed with both transmission choices is 210 km/h.
Even though the new eight-speed gearbox offers two additional ratios and larger overall ratio speed, it isn’t larger or heavier than the previous six-speed automatic transmission. With the minimised torque converter slip, high internal efficiency, low friction losses and intelligent transmission control, the eight-speed is also quite fuel efficient. The average fuel consumption of 5,8 l/100km is the same for both transmissions. In the city the fuel consumption is closer to eight litres, but on the highway you can get below five. The car is equipped with the Brake Energy Regeneration and Auto Start-Stop function, which automatically switches off the engine during short stops.
Although the car’s sportiness and fuel economy depends much on the driving style, the car’s overall character can be changed to suit personal preferences using the standard Driving Experience Control switch. It offers Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ (only with the Sport Line) driving modes. The Driving Experience Control changes the accelerator response characteristics, engine response, the power steering characteristics and the Dynamic Stability Control setting. If the car is equipped with the Servotronic, automatic transmission or Dynamic Damper Control, these are integrated into the system too.
The Eco Pro mode helps to achieve the economy-conscious driving style. It changes the accelerator mapping so that the same pedal travel delivers less power than in the standard mode. So you have to push the throttle much further to get the same performance. The Eco Pro mode is especially efficient in a car with automatic transmission. It provides earlier upshift and delayed downshifts. The Eco Pro mode is works fine on a highway, but for a curvy road section you may want to change the settings to the Sport mode. In Sport mode, the throttle response is faster and the steering is more direct. Also the shift points are altered to provide a significantly sportier drive. The Sport mode provides surprisingly dynamic performance eventhough there is only a 1.6-litre engine under the bonnet.
BMW 3 Series offers a large selection of colours and upholstery choices. To make it easier for customer, BMW has designed three equipment levels to choose from. These are the Sport Line, Luxury Line or the Modern Line. In addition there is the even sportier M Sport package.
The exterior of the Sport Line model is highlighted with styling details in high-gloss black. At the front, the kidney grille features eight black slats and chrome-coloured surround. The air intakes in the front apron have black inserts. High-gloss black finish is also used in the B-pillar and window guide. High-gloss black painted exterior mirrors are available as an option. At the rear, there is a black trim strip, and the tailpipe embellisher is black as well. Depending on the engine variant, the Sport Line model is equipped with 17 or 18-inch alloy wheels in double-spoke design.
The interior features contrasting black and red accents, like red trim rings, red scales in the circular dials and red stitching on the sports steering wheel. The base trim strip in high-gloss black features coral red accent strips. Even the ignition key for Sport Line model has red detailing. BMW always provides excellent seats, and these standard sport seats don’t make exception. Some drivers might prefer even sportier design for the seat, but these standard sport seats in the Sport Line trim offer excellent driving comfort for longer journes. The sports seats can be specified in a choice of three upholstery variants and four colours.
- 100 kW (136 hp) / 4350rpm
- 220 Nm / 1350rpm
- 8-speed automatic
0-100km/h / 0-62mph
- 9.2 seconds
- 210 km/h
- 5.8 l/100km
- 134 g/km