The 316i badge was once a common sighting on BMW boot lids, but the entry level model fell away when the more upmarket E46 hit the scene back in 1998.
The 3 Series has continued its swim upstream through the E90 and current F30 generations, but the latest model's rather meaty 135kW 2-litre turbo does leave some space for a more price-conscious motor to slot beneath it.
The new 316i plugs that gap, and will appeal to those who don't mind sacrificing some power for a more affordable entry into the 3 Series club.
BMW SA has just released the pricing for the new 316i manual and automatic models, which come in at R342 436 and R360 436 respectively. This represents a saving of R33 526 over the 320i.
ENGINE SHRINKS, TURBO STAYS
Like its 1 Series counterpart, the 316i is powered by a 1.6-litre turbopetrol engine, credited with 100kW at 4350rpm and 220Nm at 1350rpm.
Performance is not too bad, according to BMW's claimed figures, with the 0-100km/h sprint achieved in 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 210km/h. A 320i takes 7.3 seconds and reaches 235km/h.
It's also slightly more economical, with a claimed combined figure of 5.8 litres per 100km/h, equating to a carbon footprint of 134g/km of CO2.
Our contact at BMW SA says that the final interior specification for the 316i, which goes on sale in May, is still being finalised and that an official announcement for the model will be made later in the week.
In addition to the standard model, the 316i will also be available in the usual 'flavours', including Modern Line for R365 136, Luxury Line (R366 636), Sport Line (R370 336) and M Sport (R382 736).
316i - R342 436
316i AT - R360 436
320i - R375 962
320i AT - R393 346
320d - R402 000
320d AT - R420 000
328i - R454 475
328i AT - R472 270
330d AT - R511 923
335i AT - R567 027
ActiveHybrid3 - R626 949
(Prices are for standard models and include CO2 emissions)
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