In 2012, BMW sold nearly 100,000 copies of its 3-Series sedan in the United States, making it the best-selling luxury sedan on these shores by a sizable margin. And yet, BMW hungers for more, revealing today a budget-minded 320i sedan that offers much of what the 3-Series contains for a price starting at $33,445. Start digging in the couch cushions.
Powered by a 180-hp turbo four-cylinder, the 320i arrives just as Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac and Lexus all recommit to the luxury small sport sedan with new models. BMW maintains the 3-Series will continue to reign supreme based on technology such as its 8-speed automatic, allowing the 320i to achieve up to 34 mpg on the highway, a class best.
BMW has been down this path before, as owners of the long lamented 318i will recall. That early '90s effort was also driven by a desire to expand BMW's customer base, but it did so at the expense of tarnishing BMW's performance credibility. With the 320i, BMW seems to have learned a few lessons from history.