Fleet News

BMW 320d Sport - 11,668 miles

BMW

Review

AT a recent conference I was cornered by a delegate who relished telling me about his wife who loves driving past BMWs waggling her little finger at the drivers.

The connotations of this I leave to your imagination but this is just one of many slurs and presumptions BMW drivers seem to have to endure from the rest of the motoring public. And it was the reason I was dreading taking the keys to our BMW 320d Sport. I've heard several references to BMW drivers being perceived as 'arrogant industry go-getters' and was afraid. Would other drivers hate me, would fingers point and, more importantly, would I be run off the road?

After a month in the car, I can safely say these fears were totally unfounded – in fact, I encountered the opposite. If I was single, I don't think I would be after a month driving our long-termer, as it has generated enough male interest to last a lifetime.

Considering I haven't encountered this kind of attention in any of our other test cars, it must be down to the BMW's stylish looks and not my pretty face.

This car is a dream to own. It oozes style, with its dark metallic blue paintwork, alloy wheels and sports trim. The elegance continues inside with the optional leather upholstery and BMW's outstanding build quality.

Despite earlier testers raising concerns over the light-coloured interior, after almost eight months at Fleet Towers it is holding up well. The driver's seat did begin to develop a dark blue tinge from our denim-clad testers (perhaps they all aspire to be Jeremy Clarkson), but it was nothing a spot of leather restorer couldn't fix in a jiffy. The popularity of the 3-series isn't fading, with sales continuing to wipe out competitors.

Our model is loaded with extras, including a six-disc CD changer (£250), Harman Kardon hi-fi upgrade (£650), metallic paintwork (£495) and leather interior (£800). But when it comes to de-fleeting, a high specification model ratchets up the price and can mean the difference between a sale or not.

Backed by residual values at £9,600/37% for three years and 60,000 miles, the 320d is appealing more and more to fleets. CAP claims that the RV of our car would be higher at £10,350/40% thanks to the fitting of leather seats and its desirable dark blue metallic paint.

Company car tax bill 2004/05 (40% tax-payer): £154 per month

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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