Home / Reviews / First Drive / BMW 320Ld – Limo Stance

 

While the powertrain options for the 2023 BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine get carried over from the previous model, the design and interior have undergone significant improvements.

Story: Kurt Morris
Photography: Apurva Ambep

Launched in the country this year, the BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine is imported via the completely knocked down (CKD) route and will be locally assembled at the company’s production facility in Chennai. Like the previous model, the Gran Limousine is available in both petrol and diesel versions. This car is offered only in the BMW 330Li M Sport and BMW 320Ld M Sport trim levels, priced (ex-showroom) at Rs 57.90 lakh and Rs 59.50 lakh respectively.

The 3 Series has always been a strong model in terms of sales for BMW. Now the wheelbase of the 2023 BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine has been increased by 110 millimetres above the standard model, making it the longest vehicle in its class. As a result, it measures 4,823 mm. This definitely appeals to our Indian buyers who tend to prefer the rear seats and be chauffeured around in rush-hour traffic.

The elongated body, which, as mentioned earlier, now measures 4,823 mm overall thanks to the 110-mm increase in its wheelbase, is the most noticeable visual change. For the most part, the general design is still reminiscent of the standard wheelbase 3 Series. The striking and dynamic design of the new BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine is highlighted by the chrome-double bars on the BMW Kidney Grille. With clear outlines and daytime lights placed in an inverted “L” form to produce a unified and contemporary image, the standard full-LED headlights are now significantly thinner. The components of the outer daytime running lights also turn signals. The long wheelbase and low-slung sedan body, along with the slight design modifications, make it possibly the sportiest looking limousine in the market. Particularly attractive in this Portimão blue. M Sport bumpers include big air dams and black inlays that give them a sporty and cool appearance.

The M Sport package, which includes a bigger central air intake, a somewhat angular bumper, and 18-inch alloy wheels with staggered tyre configuration, is standard across the entire range, including the 330Li petrol and the 320Ld diesel. The rear tyres are substantially wider and have a somewhat lower profile at 255/40 than the ones up front, which are 225 section 45 profile. These are Michelin tyres and one must say that they offer plenty of traction.

BMW have also increased the padding foam on the seats, which are upholstered in Vernasca leather and make a beautiful as well as comfortable statement, especially on extended trips. There are two Type-C charging outlets in addition to a-c vents and controls.

Given what the Gran Limousine is based on, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that everything inside is taken directly from the regular 3 Series. Unexpectedly, BMW have made a lot of subtle but substantial improvements in this cabin’s appearance and we would have to place BMW interiors at the top of the list among the current generation of German automobiles.

The Gran Limousine now has an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is the other significant physical design change. The old car had a stubby gear lever. The vital iDrive is powered by BMW’s most recent Operating System 8, which, I may say, is more user-friendly than the previous version.

The inside features enhanced leg-room, a curved display that runs on BMW Operating System 8, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 14.9-inch Control Display. Additionally, this car comes equipped with a 16-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless phone charger, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, and more. When you are seated in the car, the only visible change that catches your eye is the new digital displays.

Six airbags, attentiveness assistance, dynamic stability control (DSC), cornering brake control (CBC), an automatic parking brake, side-impact protection, an electronic vehicle immobiliser, and ISOFIX child seat mounting are all included in the safety kit.

The BMW 320Ld is a powerful sedan with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine. The four-cylinder diesel engine generates 190 hp at 4,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 400 Nm between 1,750–2,500 rpm. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes 7.6 seconds. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and facilitates seamless gear-changes.

Now, what was the real standout for us in terms of performance was the incredible fuel efficiency of this 3 Series. On our usual test route in the city we saw an average of 15 km/l and as we did a highway run we saw about 21 km/l. This is incredible for a premium luxury sedan of this size.

The Gran Limousine has added a level of calmness to the BMW 3 Series driving experience which was previously recognised for being a very engaging car to drive swiftly. It rides well, is comfortable to drive, and makes an excellent city car. When driven vigorously, it responds very well, with good corner stability and enough engine power to keep things interesting. But this car won’t reward you if driven too forcefully. When entering a corner at high speed, the 50:50 weight distribution is effective and one never feels as though the car won’t be able to get through. The car maintains its position on bumpy roads without breaking a sweat thanks to the firmer suspension. Even bigger potholes than what we’re used to are handled well.

After all, it’s a long-wheelbase luxury sedan in a country where people still prefer sedans with roomy rear seats. The 3 Series became a bestseller for BMW in India because of a foolproof formula that has worked for them. One of the segment’s most useful vehicles is still the BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine. Only the extended wheelbase and M Sport versions of the 3 Series Gran Limousine are currently offered. We will have to wait and see if, like the previous model, this 3 Series becomes a hit in a market that has shifted to SUVs.

 

About the author: Kurt Morris

 

 

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