This writer recently saw an older model race-tuned BMW 323i Touring on the racing circuit in a race for the classic touring car racers – the sort that used to blat around Bathurst before the competition was limited to V8 Fords and Holdens. The older Beemer held its own pretty well and the driver got to stand somewhere on the winner’s podium, even though the conditions were pretty tricky (wet) to the extent that many of the other cars came to grief. None of the BMWs came off the road (and not because they were snail-paced, either!). Since then, BMW has had 20 years to improve the handling and the performance (yes, even for ordinary road cars rather than the racing models) so you can bet your bottom dollar that the new BMW 323i Touring will be a first-class drive.
Back when that racing BMW and its lesser brothers were made, you thought a car was pretty safe if it had inertia reel seatbelts in the front and any sort of seatbelts in the rear. Well, things have certainly changed, and the new BMW 323i Touring has a very comprehensive active and passive safety programme with highlights such as six airbags, pretensioned and load-limited seat belts, a host of electronic stability/control devices (including park distance control), and side-impact protection cross-beams.
The interior of the BMW 323i Touring is a complete up-to-date package, featuring leather-trimmed seats, an audio system featuring a single-CD/radio player with an USB input jack, Bluetooth mobile phone preparation, a multifunction sport steering wheel, a retractable front arm rest and automatic climate control with a microfilter. The seats are very comfortable, with the front seats both having partial electrical adjustment for height, seat tilt and backrest tilt, and the back seats fold flat if you need to increase the load carrying capacity of the already capacious boot.
The looks of the BMW 323i Touring have also changed somewhat since the 1980s to say the least. But one thing that hasn’t changed in this stationwagon is the classic kidney grille and the best available in innovative aerodynamic design. The lines are more fluid, beginning with the tailored lines of the bonnet and continuing over the curved roofline and down into the perfectly shaped rear that feature BMW’s distinctive L-shaped lights. Roof rails also come as standard on the BMW 323i Touring, and they blend very harmoniously into the overall look rather than being obtrusive and looking like an afterthought.
The aerodynamic exterior design is just one part of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics philosophy, which is part of an overall push to improve efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions, and it has a drag coefficient of 0.29 Cd. Other features created by Efficient Dynamics and incorporated into the design of the BMW 323i Touring, such as the stop/start button, ensure that the straight-six 2.5 litre petrol engine manages to average 8.5 l/100 km for the six-speed manual (8.9 l/100 km for the six-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic shifting). The 323i engine has 140 kW of power on tap at 5900 revs and hits its maximum torque of 230 Nm at 3250 rpm. The lightweight (but super-tough) body construction means that this amount of power can take the BMW 323i Touring from 0 to 100 km in 8.1 seconds (8.9 for the auto), and gives it a top speed of 231 kmh (229 for the auto) – not that the difference is really going to affect your everyday on-road driving.
Unless you try to see what you can do in the BMW 323i Touring on a real race track.
The current model series includes the:
For any more information on the BMW 323i Touring, or for that matter any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 303 181. If you'd like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quote requests out to our national network of BMW dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours. Private Fleet - car buying made easy!
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