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Awards 2011 - Green Model of the Year: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

Date: 25 January 2011

When BusinessCar first drove the BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics model, we called it "a massive achievement", and the verdict talked about "astounding figures for a car that's just a normal 320d to drive", giving it a perfect 10/10 score. It's even been referred to as witchcraft around the office.

In case you haven't seen the figures, the 320d ED is a 163hp 2.0-litre 3-series saloon with CO2 emissions of just 109g/km and a combined fuel economy of 68.9mpg - that's the same level as Citroen's C1 city car. Getting under 110g/km is an important capital allowance boundary for fleets that buy outright, and there are also benefits for leasing companies, so it's a massive coup to be so spectacularly low for an upper medium saloon, let alone one so powerful.

Lowered by 15mm compared with the standard 3-series saloon for aerodynamic reasons, the ED model gets a clever flywheel that reduces vibration at low revs, encouraging drivers to change up a gear earlier when cruising, while the gear-shift indicator light on the dashboard has been adapted to also encourage an earlier change. The 2.0-litre diesel engine has been slightly detuned, but performance is still remarkable given that there's currently nothing else under 111g/km within 47hp of the 320d ED's power figure.

In fact, the most remarkable thing about the 320d Efficient Dynamics model is that it's pretty much impossible to tell from driving it that it's anything other than a normal 3-series. There's no pay-off in terms of driving pleasure, looks or standard equipment. The specification, options availability, and even the £27,245 price, are exactly the same as the 320d SE saloon. There are no Touring, automatic or M Sport versions available as all would tip the car over and above the 110g/km point, but there's no logical reason to choose a standard 320d over its remarkable ED sibling.

It's a genuine compromise-free low-CO2 alternative that saves fleets and drivers money on tax and fuel. In that first road test, we said the BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics model is the "most obvious 10/10 rating BusinessCar has given, and probably will ever give". You, the people operating fleets of business cars, obviously agree.