New 'entry-level' BMW 3 Series confirmed for South Africa
JOHANNESBURG - BMW’s 318i badge is returning to the 3 Series line-up, with the entry-level model set to hit South African showrooms during the second quarter of this year, the local division said.
But the good news is that it won’t be saddled with the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbopetrol engine that powered the previous-generation 318i. Instead, the new G20 318i will come with a detuned version of the 2-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol that’s also fitted to the latest 320i and 330i models.
In the new 318i’s case, the engine is tuned to produce 115kW and 250Nm, which is 15kW and 30Nm more than its three-pot predecessor mustered, and it’s just 20kW and 50Nm shy of the latest 320i.
So how fast is it? According to BMW, the new 318i will sprint from zero to 100km/h in 8.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 223km/h. And sorry purists, but like the rest of the 3 Series range, the 318i will come standard with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The latest G20 3 Series was launched in South Africa early last year in just two derivatives - 330i and 320d - but the range was expanded later in the year with 320i and 330d variants, as well as the M340i performance model.
There’s no word on pricing for the 318i as yet, but with the 330i currently retailing at R680 000 and the 320i priced at R640 000, dare we suggest the new entry model’s price might creep just below the R600 000 mark.