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BMW 328Ci



SINCE the launch of the original 3-series coupe back in 1992, no fewer than one in four mid-size coupes sold in the UK has been a BMW. Tot that up over the years and it comes to more than 60,000 cars, giving BMW a solid 24% of the market in each year of sales. Now there's a new 3-series Coupe, and the expectations are even higher. Two six-cylinder models - the 2.5-litre 170bhp 323Ci and 2.8-litre 193bhp 328Ci - went on sale in June, and by the time the entry-level 318Ci joins them this autumn, BMW should be on course to sell some 11,000 units, equating to a market share of about 30%.

Six-cylinder models will account for half that volume, with a 50/50 split between 323Ci and 328Ci. BMW expects a high proportion of Coupe sales to be private, with an 80% male buyer profile. Though prices are higher than for the outgoing Coupe, BMW counters this by pointing out the new cars' higher specification: as standard, all models will come with air conditioning, ABS, remote alarm, power seats, cornering brake control (CBC), traction control, active stability control, alloy wheels (16in on 323Ci, 17in on 328Ci) and six airbags.

The Coupe shares no panels with the new 3-series saloon, and it's longer, wider and lower than before. On-the-road prices start at ú22,150 for the forthcoming 318Ci, rise to ú25,950 for the 323Ci and top out at ú28,995 for the 328Ci, with automatic transmission adding ú1,220 to those prices. Tested here is the top-of-the-range 328Ci manual, which, with sat-nav fitted, just tops the ú30,000 barrier at ú30,395. Metallic paint is standard.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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