BMW India is all set to launch a cheaper variant of its popular saloon, the 3-series, in the coming months. The new entry-level variant will be known as the 32Oi and will retail at Rs. 28.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). BMW is not new to the concept of a cost-down variant as even the previous-gen 3-series had a corporate edition on offer.
Like the corporate edition itself, the 320i skimps on some equipment in order to manage a Rs. 8 lakh price cut off the range-topping 328i turbo-petrol saloon. You now get a simplified version of the i-Drive, which instead of an 8.8-inch infotainment screen uses a smaller 6.5 inch display. A single-CD audio unit finds its way inside over the more-expensive 6-CD unit. Furthermore, the new unit is not capable of handling in-car data storage. The reverse camera present on the top-end variants will also be omitted, and the seat leather on the 328i will be replaced by faux leather.
On the outside, you’ll now find 16-inch alloy-wheels over the funkier, 18-inchers. The Xenon headlamps too get replaced by regular Halogen ones and you no more get a sunroof. This base-spec, 3-series is also available in a few international markets, which allows us to speculate all the omissions.
As the name suggests, the 320i is powered by a 1994cc, 4-cylinder, 181 BHP petrol motor that also does duty on the entry-level 5-series saloon. This unit is mated to the 328i’s, 8-speed auto transmission, with tweaked ratio’s to suit the lower power output. Most of you will remember that the same motor also powered the previous-gen 320i, although with a different gearbox.
The new entry level 3-series will compete with the likes of the Mercedes C 200 BlueEfficiency and the Audi A4 1.8 TSFI. With a price advantage of a few lakhs, the BMW definitely makes as a great buy over the competition. What we can look forward to now is a similar variant for the diesel spec as well.
SOURCE: Autocar India