Table of Contents
Buying a car is not an easy decision. If you are looking for a luxury sedan with a punchy engine and great value for money, you can never go wrong with a BMW 3 series model. However, which of the 3 series models to go for? There are so many, and they are all like one another. This post will help you understand the difference and compare the BMW 318d vs BMW 320d. We are going to help you choose the right car for you.
The main difference between the 318d and the 320 d is the engine that they sport. Essentially, the 320d is the newer version and to help signify that, they “tuned down” the engine of the 318d. Since the engine is slightly different, this creates a difference in costs and the driving experience. Moreover, to help them apart a bit more, there are also slight changes in the interiors and the handling experience. Without further ado, let’s dive deeper into these differences.
Engine and Transmission
First, let’s get right into the biggest difference: the engine. Both cars technically have the same 2-litre diesel engine. Yes, if you didn’t know already the “d” in the name stands for diesel. However, as mentioned previously, the 318d has a slightly tuned down version of the 320d. This is possible by changing some parameters of the ECU and allowing the combustion and injection to take place at different times.
If you want to get down to the numbers, then the 318d produces around 145bhp – just 45bhp lower when compared to the 190bhp of the 320d. As far as torque goes, there is also a difference of 100Nm seen there with the 320d coming in at 400Nm (300 Nm for the 318d). If you know a fair bit about cars, you know that more torque equals better acceleration. And this fact is true here as the 320d can reach 100kph at just 7.3s compared to the 9.1s of the 318d. All the extra power also helps the 320d achieve a higher top speed of 235kph.
As far as the transmission goes, both cars have basically the same options. There is a 6-speed manual transmission available. However, if you feel like you cannot handle a clutch pedal, then you always have the option to go for an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Needless to say, the manual transmission is theoretically more efficient than the automatic version. Moreover, the manual can also help you gain back some more control over the power in 318d.
Mileage and Emissions
Nowadays, with the soaring gas prices, it is super important to have a great mileage on your car as well. The mileage of a car depends a lot on how you drive it. But under test conditions, the 318d has slightly better mileage than the 320d. It can provide 25 kilometers to the liter compared to the 24 of the 320d. As you can see, the difference is quite low, but it adds up when you fill up the fuel tank which is about 57 liters. This difference in mileage is primarily because the ECU map changed in the 320d. When you want more power, you generally must consume more fuel for the same engine.
Another hot topic recently has been how much emissions every car emits. Now, diesel is definitely the worst fuel to go for if you care about the environment. However, if you are curious which car is slightly harmful, then the answer is the 318d. The math is simple, if you are burning more fuel per kilometer, then you are emitting more CO2 per kilometer too! The 318d supposedly releases 109g of CO2/km while the 320 releases a slightly higher amount of the 115g of CO2/km. These values will change depending on the type of transmission you go for and your driving style.
The engine and transmission aside, other factors affect the driving experience as well like the steering and the suspension. In this case, both cars handle pretty much the same. The 320d comes with a slightly larger wheel track. This means that it is a bit more stable around the corners than the 318d. But both can easily handle large bumps and give you enough grip to take turns at relatively high speeds.
For some reason, if you feel like you want a sportier feel, you can go for the stiffer suspension of the M sport package. Alternatively, the adaptive suspension add-on gets amazing reviews too. So, at the end of the day, it depends on you. Whether you want to feel like you are sitting in the lap of luxury or strapped to a car on the racetrack.
On the performance side of things, the detuned engine of the 318d simply isn’t as much fun to drive. However, if you are looking to go from point A to point B every day, then 318d will satisfy you for sure.
In contrast, if you like taking your car out for the occasional stroll and letting the engine purr on an open road, you will enjoy driving the 320d. The extra torque also gives you more confidence when going uphill or performing overtakes on the highway. It all comes down to the sort of experience you are looking for.
Finally, it is time to talk about how it feels inside the car. From a luxury car manufacturer, you should always expect the best. When it comes to the 3 series, the 318d and 320d in this case, you get some pretty great options at this price point. Both cars come with an 8.8-inch infotainment system with an option to upgrade to a 10-inch one with the M package. As for your dashboard goes, you can either get an analog one or a digital one. The newer ones have the latter which does look way sleekier in our opinion.
The 320d is slightly more spacious than the alternative and has a touch more chrome than the 318d. It also has a slightly lower driving position giving you a sportier feel. However, some drivers may not prefer sitting closer to the ground.
The rest of the interiors are standard and can be expected from BMW. With leather seats, nice tactile buttons, and a very handy steering wheel. You are always reminded that you are indeed sitting in a luxury sedan.
Summary and Final Thoughts
That was a lot of information to receive about both those cars. To help you retain some of it, here is a quick summary –
|Feature||BMW 318d||BMW 320d|
|Power||145 bhp||190 bhp|
|Top Speed||210 kph||235 kph|
|Mileage||25 km/l||24 km/l|
|Transmission||6 speed Manual / 8 speed Auto||6 speed Manual / 8 speed Auto|
|Interiors||8.8-inch infotainment system||8.8-inch infotainment system|
|Cost||37,580 GBP||39,130 GBP|
As you can see, the cost difference between the two is barely anything. Now, this must give you the idea – well, if the only difference is the ECU mapping, then why not buy a 318d and change the ECU settings? Well, you would be right there, to an extent. As far as the hardware goes, a noticeable difference is a high-pressure fuel rail that helps inject more fuel into the engine. Thus, theoretically, if you do change the fuel injector system and modify the ECU mapping, you should be able to get a similar performance as the 320d at a lower price. However, we don’t recommend that as tuning a car comes with its own set of problems including the void of any warranty you might have had.
Thus, it does indeed make sense to shell out the extra money to go for the better performance characteristics and slightly better interiors as well. While you may not always be up for a sporty drive, you will always have the option to go for one if you choose to go with the 320d. On the other hand, the 318d will save more money due to lower running costs and higher mileage. The lower emissions will also make you feel slightly better than if you were to drive the 320d.
Hopefully, this article helped you realize which of the two cars – BMW 318d vs BMW 320d would be a better fit for you based on your driving style. It is still a difficult choice, but we know that you are going to enjoy the drive no matter which one you choose!