Technical Information on a BMW E46 3201i

Written by sean russell
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Technical Information on a BMW E46 3201i
The 320i series sedan had seating for 5 people. (BMW Fronto image by crossgolfing from

The 2001 BMW 320i (3201i) was the most recent fourth generation (E46) BMW 3-series produced. It combined safety with luxury and performance in a straight line or around a corner. It also received high crash-test safety results across the board from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. called the 2001 320i, “unequivocally the best sedan in the entry-luxury category.”


The model number “E46” refers to the fourth generation of BMWs. Production of the 3-Series E46 sedans began in 1998 and continued until the model was replaced in 2005 by the E90 series. E46 3-series sedans came in models that included the 318i, 320i, 323i, 328i and the diesel 320d. In 2001, BMW released the 320i, which as of June 2010, has not received any recalls, according to


The model year 2001 marked increased power for 3-Series BMWs. A 2.2-litre, dual overhead cam, six-cylinder motor with 24 valves created 168 horsepower at 6,250 RPM and 155 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 RPM. The 320i had the least amount of horsepower compared to the other 3-Series models. stated that “power” was a pro for the 2001 3-Series sedan. A 5-speed manual or automatic transmission moved the rear wheels forward gingerly.

Suspension & Brakes

Independent front and rear suspension increased drive comfort and responsiveness in corners. said the following about the cornering ability of the 3-series sedans: “They put drivers in touch with the road instead of isolating them, but their ultra-sharp steering response demands close attention.” The sedan's 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes mounted on the front and on the rear provided stopping power to the sporty car.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute gave the 2001 320i a score of 74 for the injury index, based on a 100-point average for cars in a category. That is 26 points below the average, which means there is a 26 per cent decreased likelihood that an injury will occur to a passenger in a crash, compared to the average car in the sedan class. The 320i received the highest “good” rating from the IIHS for each of the crash test categories, which included overall evaluation, safety cage, head/neck, chest, legs/feet and restraints.

Technical Specifications

Most affordable out of the ten 3-Series E46 models available in 2001, the 320i had a base MSRP of £22,035. There were 13 available colours for the sedan, including bright red, jet black and steel grey metallic. The 2001 E46 320i had a length of 4,471mm, a width of 1,739mm, a height of 1,415mm and a wheelbase length of 2,275mm. J.D. Power Rating gave the 320i an “Among the Best” score for performance. The sedan's fuel tank had a maximum capacity of 63-liters, and the vehicle weighed 1,920kg, without gas.

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