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Driving all the BMW 3-Series, Chapter 6: F30 (2012-present)

‘The centre of gravity has changed’: Paul Horrell tests the latest 3-Series

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Previous: driving the 2005 ‘E90’ 3-Series

F30 340i

Just launched, the 340i is top-dog of the non-M 3-series range. And M3 aside, this is the only model that gets the classic straight-six petrol layout. It’s turbocharged too, and blisteringly quick.

Which means it’s simply not as much fun as an E36 or E46 down the same road at the same speed because it’s working so far within itself.

All 3-Series are turbo now, and that fact lends an easy swiftness to practically every model in the range. Very few people buy the six-cylinder petrol. The centre of gravity of the 3 has changed.

At the time of the E36, a compact BMW was an expensive jewel and seeing one made your heart leap a little. Driving one even more so. That was the era when the Mk1 Ford Mondeo was the good new car everyone drove. Today’s 320d is bigger than those early 3-Series, more economical and relatively far more affordable. So everyone drives it.

Which can only be a good thing overall. But does seeing an F30 320d make your heart leap?

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