BMW 320i is pointless

I have been looking for a new car for over a year now, and one of those cars high on the list was a 3 series BMW. With my money ever draining out of my pocket I thought I would look into the affordability of a new 320 BMW.

Recent tax law changes and current petrol prices have IMO made the 2001-2003 BMW 320 petrol car a pointless vehicle. The other engines in the range make a lot more sense to buy.

For simplicity I have listed the 2001 model specifications for various 3 series BMWs (sports manual) and given the price per litre of petrol 116p and 129p for diesel, their price per mile of travel. The second hand price of each model is not considered as I have seen examples all at similar prices, in theory also the re-sale price will remain proportional to the initial price and therefore this is not a real factor in the TCO. Also I have not taken into account replacement parts costs of the vehicles. I have assumed that you will drive 10000 miles each year. I have taken 14 as the base insurance rate and +£50 for each increase in group (this is an approximation of my insurance, £50 more for each IG above 14...)

ModelMPG0-60CostRoad taxInsurance Group
320i318 secs17.03 pence/Mile£43015
330i316.3 secs17.03 pence/Mile£43017
320d498.6 secs11.98 pence/Mile£15514
330d427.6 secs13.98 pence/Mile£21016

So if you look at this table you will see that a 330D is £475 per year cheaper than a 320i, and for that saving you get a car with 5% more acceleration 0-60.

The cheapest option is significant with the 320D being £830 cheaper per year than a 320i for a 7% acceleration decrease.

For my mind though it is significant that with a 330i you pay just £100 more per year than a 320i and get a 21% acceleration increase!

Essentially my point stands, why get a 320i, the 320d is dramatically cheaper, the 330i costs only a little more and yet performs dramatically better, and the 330D looks like a good compromise, being faster and a lot cheaper than the 320i!


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