Even after seven generations, many still flock to the brand even if it is for this locally-assembled G20 which happens to still maintain that “pure driving pleasure” credo and packed in with the necessaries to keep fans well satiated.
Our review unit came coated in Mediterranean Blue and equipped with 18-inch Lightweight V-spoke Style 780 bi-colour alloys with 225/45 run-flat tyres all around.
Armed with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, this four-potter will provide 184hp and 300Nm of torque.
There’s plenty of pep coming from the pedal for the rear wheels via the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission that’s easy to forget it’s even there.
Style-wise, the 3 Series hasn’t departed too much away from being a sporty executive sedan.
There’s enough room for all and it still has enough elements to satisfy the brand’s enthusiasts with its short front overhang and coupe-like body style.
Its musculature is joined by crisp lines along its front hood and flanks to give it some definition and the rear haunch isn’t too bulky to erode that element of elegance.
The front end may seem to have a myriad of components but at least they seem to flow and integrate nicely into each other.
Take the front LED fog lights that have taken up residence in the horizontal T-section of the Air Curtains which flank the air intakes and centre radiator grille on the lower half of the bumper.
This is where the sporty nature of this 3 Series lies.
The upper half is reserved for the adaptive LED headlights and iconic kidney grille.
Inside, the cabin looks and feels premium as expected with its Aluminium ‘Mesheffect’ trim finishers and leather-wrapped sports steering wheel.
The tri-zone automatic climate control is definitely a welcome for guests as they soak in the modern and uncluttered cabin that exudes a clean no-nonsense approach.
Everything seems to well laid out and nicely integrated into the dashboard here with good tactility from the buttons which are in easy reach thanks to the driver-centric cockpit.
The steering feels nice and girthy as the paddle shifters peek at you from the wheel’s three and nine o’clock positions while a digitalized version of an analogue instrument cluster (BMW Live Cockpit Plus) comes with a 5.7-inch display and a crisp-looking 8.8-inch touch-sensitive control display.
The powered front seats offer plenty of thigh, back and waist support with the ability to dial in that preferred seating position.
Rear passengers may not find a generous amount of knee room and the thick C-pillars a tad intrusive, but at least its somewhat negated by the comfortable rear bench that seems more ideal for two.
In all scenarios, the 320i Sport never seems to lag in power delivery but instead will present a more nimble character thanks to a responsive engine and sharp steering.
By far, the 320i heads back closer to its roots with a sporty demeanour and even if it does weigh in at around 1,450kg (kerb), this Bavarian sedan does well to hide it.
Traversing over pot-holes and uneven road surfaces won’t be too unpleasant at best due to the stiff nature of the run-flat tyres which would have forced BMW to dial in more comfort from the suspension.
That said, it’ll still provide drivers with a good sense of directional stability and coupled with a punchy mid-range makes this an everyday event to look forward to.
Bleeding speed quickly won’t be an issue with the brake rotors providing plenty of “bite” depending on how deep the foot travels.
Frankly, it’s a brake feel that’s preferred over the more sophisticated stablemates that bear the “eDrive” moniker.
The brakes are strong in its ways and the transmission’s logic is always on the money to ensure power delivery is omnipresent.
In short, the 320i Sport sedan is one that’s very much worth the current asking price of RM239,883 (without SST) and many should find it hard-pressed to seek another offering that would provide a more complete package at the entry-level than this.
As stiff as it may seem over the numerous potholes that litter our Malaysian roads, it’ll still do its best to soak things up and carry on providing that ideal blend of driveability, performance and necessary accoutrements - be it traffic, twisted routes or simply cruising along on highways.
BMW 320i Sport (G20)
Engine: 1,998cc, turbocharged, direct injection
Maximum power: 184hp from 5,000 to 6,500rpm
Maximum torque: 300Nm from 1,350 to 4,000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed Sport automatic
Acceleration (0-100kph): 7.1 seconds
Top speed: 235kph
Features: Six airbags, antilock braking system, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, auto brake hold, electronic stability control, traction control, hill-start assist, cruise control, adaptive LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, dynamic reverse camera, tri-zone automatic climate controls with rear air vents, auto-dimming (electro-chromatic) rearview mirror, keyless entry with push-start button, leather seats, powered front sports seats, automatic LED headlights with daytime running lights and integrated turn signals, automatic wipers, electric parking brake, six-speaker infotainment system voice command, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, and 18-inch alloys with 225/55 run-flat tyres.
Price without SST: RM239,883 (on-the-road without insurance)