This is a BMW 320D and its mine. Yes, I said it; I actually bought a sensible car that works. Some of you may remember ‘Keith’, my slightly scatty Alfa Romeo 159. Well, that story came to an abrupt ending with the Alfa becoming a Noah’s Ark of a car due to consuming new parts on a two by two basis.
To replace the stricken Alfa and to avoid overusing my E39, I chose another diesel due to having some 14k miles to cover between now and the end of the year. I needed something capable, reliable, that was also fun to drive. And as this car should work all of the time, it fits the bill perfectly.
Yes, yes, yes - I can already hear you mocking, ‘how can a sales rep diesel/fake M Sport with a diesel engine be fun.’ To which my response is – because there are some ordinary cars that are actually fun to drive, as I shall now try to prove to you.
All of the power you will ever need
BMW says that when my 320D was new, the 0-62mph sprint was dispensed in just 7.5 seconds, with 146mph of top speed. All of this furious power comes from a four-cylinder 2.0-litre twin-power diesel motor. This is good for 181bhp, all of which goes to the rear wheels via a slick six-speed manual gearbox.
These numbers may not sound like much, but out there in the real-world, they are potentially all you will ever need. Using all of the 280lb-ft of down-low torque and manual gearbox to its full potential, slip-roads and overtaking are dispensed with relative ease with some noticeable diesel din.
A proper driver’s car
As you are aware, BMW knows a thing or two about building cars that drive well, and the 320D is no exception.
Being an M Sport, you can drop the driver’s seat to the floor giving you ample feedback as to what is going on with the back axle. Add to this the poised and accurate steering, the proper drivers manual gearbox that is both slick and easy to use at speed, and you have yourself a car you can attack corners in.
Show it a corner, and that chassis just responds brilliantly with a sharp and poised turn in giving you plenty of feedback as to when you should come back on the power. Turn the driver aids off, and you can even wiggle the hips of the car on the exit of a corner with ease.
OK, so the corner attacking doesn't occur with massive pace, but the fact that you can carve corners at all in what is basically a faux M Division sales-rep special is not to be sniffed at.
Because average is actually fun and perfect for everyday
From the off the near perfect weight distribution, the accurate steering, the rear wheel drive chassis and fully involving driving position make it almost as much fun to drive as a roadster on twisty back roads.
When driving like a rational human being, point the nose at your chosen destination, and it will conformably carry you onwards with ease. In this real-world test, it sips fuel like a hamster at a water bottle leaving me thinking that it might have a magical self-filling fuel tank of some description (it doesn't, apparently).
So, is my BMW 320D the best daily driver you can buy? Feel free to express your agreement with me in the comments (or not).