BMW 320d M Sport saloon : Company Car

  • BMW 3 Series, with Efficient Dynamics technology makes for the perfect company car
  • Even our 320d M Sport manages 118g/km, costing 20 percent tax payers just £105 per month in BIK
  • Options push up the price, but our example is such a rounded package we'd pay the extra 

There’s a reason you see so many BMW 3 Series ploughing up and down the British motorway network, and it’s not because everyone’s buying them.

It’s because, with its range of diesel engines and Efficient Dynamics technology, the 3-Series makes a perfect company car.

Choose the uber-efficient 316d, and CO2 emissions are just 109g/km, with corresponding BIK rates of 17 percent (for tax year 2014/15). Problem is, with just 114bhp the 316d can feel a little out of its depth on the move; the car’s 0-62mph time is nearly 11 seconds.

320d speedo

Which is where our long-term BMW 320d M Sport Auto comes in, as while not quite as efficient as the entry-level car company users will barely pay any penalty for its greater performance.

And in terms of performance, it’s really rather impressive. The eight-speed automatic gearbox allows the 2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine to propel the 320d from 0-62mph in just 7.2 seconds. That’s nearly four seconds quicker than the 316d.

BMW 320d driving

You really notice the car’s extra 67bhp on the move too, with a far deeper reserve in the midrange and genuinely quick acceleration through each of the eight gears. In fact, most progress simply requires a brush of the accelerator rather than a firm prod, and the BMW gathers pace convincingly.

And the price you pay for such performance? Just another 9g/km of CO2 in fact, equalling a total of 118g/km for the 320d M Sport with automatic gearbox. That gives it a BIK rate of just 19 percent for the current tax year.

Which means, that for a 20 percent tax payer, the 316d would cost £86 per month, the 320d M Sport just £19 more. For me, when you consider the extra performance on offer – and that £20 barely buys you five pints of lager in the local pub these days – that’s a financial sacrifice I’d happily make.

BMW 320d economy

Certainly on the motorway, where many company cars will spend their time, the 320d’s extra performance comes into its own. The eight-speed box means cruising is relaxed, and therefore fuel economy high, too.

On a recent trip from Parkers’ office in Peterborough up to Newcastle upon Tyne, the trip computer indicated a wholesome 59mpg. Driven even more gently I suspect I could achieve close to 65mpg.

There are a few options I couldn’t live without though, and that’s going to push my monthly price up. In fact, were I to add all the kit that features on my car, as a 20 percent tax payer I’d have to fork out another £20 a month – thanks to a P11D value of £39,420.

320d interior

Personally I’d want to keep the Professional Media package (£1,990), Visibility Package (£925), Adaptive M Sport suspension (£515) and as I’m such a wheel tart, the 19-inch rims (£600) too. Which adds £4,030 on, and as a 20 percent tax payer I’d have to part with £118 every month.

That’s not an inconsiderable amount of money, especially considering my frivolous addition of the upgraded wheels which do little to improve my day-to-day enjoyment of the car – except when looking at it. But it’s testament to just how much I like this 320d M Sport, in the spec it is in, that it’s a sacrifice I’d happily make. 

 

Mileage: 4,569 miles                             Economy: 47.8mpg (calculated)