Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics - Final report
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Our Fleet Test Drive: BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics - Final report

Date: 18 July 2013   |   Author:

Mileage 12,389
Claimed combined consumption 68.9mpg
Our average consumption 55.3mpg
Forecast CPM 52.1p
Actual CPM 53.5p

We passed the 12,000-mile point in our 320d Efficient Dynamics just before it returned to its maker in late December, and it's fair to say those miles have reinforced the BMW's position as pretty much the ultimate company car. 

Nothing else on sale can really come close to the ED's combination of low running costs, excellent driving dynamics, good boot space and almost unbelievable efficiency figures. It's not perfect - there are a couple of niggles I'll come on to later - but over those 12,000 miles we've consistently achieved a fuel economy in the high 50mpg area, peaking at 62.3mpg over 740 miles for one tank. The overall average (55.3mpg) was hampered, though, by a couple of urban-based sub-50mpg tanks and BusinessCar's boss getting his lead-filled feet onto the accelerator on a few occasions. 

The final fling for me and my ED was a beer-and-chocolate run through the Eurotunnel [1] to Bruges's Christmas markets, where the comfort, refinement and economy again showed through. But the performance from the 163hp engine well and truly belies the 109g/km and 68.9mpg official figures, and I stick by a previous comment that there must be witchcraft at work to create a car as good to drive yet as efficient as this. I very rarely felt the need to take it out of the default Eco Pro setting [2] into normal or sport, as the greenest option didn't appear to hamper performance at all. 

Niggles included the optional satnav, which, while better graphically than its predecessor, isn't as clear in terms of picking out specific roads, due largely to most of them being outlined in green to indicate traffic flowing freely. The iPod interaction between device and car is also less user-friendly than rival systems, and BMW's decision to offer keyless start but not keyless entry means there's nowhere to put the key when you sit down - numerous times I'd park and get out, forgetting the key was lobbed loose in the centre console. We also left the car running for 90 minutes by accident after the stop-start system turned the engine off temporarily when a colleague parked and we didn't shut the ignition down properly.

It was also surprising the variable servicing indication on the dashboard was showing less than 1000 miles to the car's first service when it left us, despite it not being driven particularly hard.  

BMW's Connected Drive system continues to impress with the ability to send navigation addresses straight to the car from Google Maps, although the full internet capability of the system [3] was rarely used, and in-car web access has probably been surpassed by smartphones.

One option fitted to our car - the £305 and much-used DAB digital radio - is standard on all BMWs from the beginning of 2013, which is a great step in protecting future values, although prices rose around the time of the announcement - the 320d ED went up by £330 late last year. 

I'm sorry to see the 320d ED leave,  but my sadness is tempered by its replacement: we've stuck with the 3-series, but move to the other end of the scale in the form of the 330d Touring, awarded a perfect 10 score in its recent road test. We'll see if longer-term scrutiny backs up that initial verdict.


  • Impresses equally for drive and efficiency.
  • Keyless start but no keyless entry.