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BMW 3 Series: Why 3 really is a magic little number

EVEN in this car-unfriendly place the past five days have been quite staggering.

And look who crops up again, and again and again -- Minister for Snow Noel Dempsey TD.

The hapless Transport Minister has pulled out all the stops for his latest epic performance.

Although it's not quite in the same league as 'The one where he jumped on a plane to Malta just as the heaviest snow fall in a generation hits the ground'.

Last Friday, the beginning of the busiest Bank Holiday of the year, Little Noelie decided to open a motorway.

Not on Thursday, not on Wednesday, but right smack in the middle of the Holiday rush did Minister Dempsey decide to open his new road.


All this from a Minister who previously wanted to keep another motorway closed until a month after its opening date, all because a local shopkeeper would lose money.

But just when you thought that nobody could out-Dempsey Little Noelie, along came the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, or the Society for Number Crunchers.

The Society for Number Crunchers came up with a sizzling little gem to cut the number of road deaths over the Bank Holiday weekend -- Double penalty points for everyone.

Yes folks, the aptly named Paul Mallee created a melee of his own amongst right-minded motoring folks by declaring a double points bonanza for one weekend only.

Instead of daft calls for more penalty points over a three day period, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport should instead be calling for more cops in more blackspots at earlier hours.

These two examples of motoring lunacy all come in a week when I hit fantastic heights in driving myself and all compliments of the BMW 3 Series.

The 3 Series is the connoisseur's Beemer.

It is the brilliance of BMW without being wrapped up in all the glorious trimmings of the 6, 7 or M Series models.

And the good news is that the BMW 3 is as good as it ever was. In fact the more humble sized 320D packs a magnificent punch, one that completely belies its seemingly modest 2.0 litre engine.

Even with the 320 there is that famous BMW power surge upon acceleration.

And if you think the 3 Series is great, I'm currently the steward of a 740D, so you can imagine what that entails.

The 320D knocks out a 160bhp effortlessly, but that power seemed even more substantial.

The 3 Series saloon will cost you e32k for the 318, up to e92,350 for the M3, with the 320D weighing in at e38,260.

Throw in an extra four gs and you get sports steering wheel, rain sensor headlights, cruise control, bluetooth and a few other bits and bobs.

But it's in these frugal days that the German marque is leaving everything trailing in their wake.

The state-of-the art oil burner injects precisely-measured doses of juice into the four-cylinder plant, extracting maximum efficiency and enabling even smoother running.

Translated into layman's terms - it means that the 320D needs less than a gallon (5 litres) of fuel to travel 62 miles (100 km) or 60mpg and it hits 60 in 8 seconds.

Thanks to Stop/Start technology and Gear Shift indicator (which tells you when to gear up or down) also means the emissions are the greenest of of the green at 118g/km - so road tax of e104 -e156 per year.

The really good news is that if you are thinking of buying one then get your haggle hat on and demand a heap of extras for free as the new 3 Series is expected to be unveiled in the Autumn.