Superb balance of handling and ride quality without compromise
Always the benchmark by which other cars are compared
Active and passive safety features
Best value in its class
Interior design is its weakest point
Cost of options get expensive quickly
Complicated iDrive system
Ruling: The BMW 3 Series emphasizes performance and continues to lead the pack with intuitive handling, powerful motors , and a functional interior that is comfortable for short and long trips.
The 3-Series is BMW's entry-level model in the near-luxury segment, offered in sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon versions. The BMW 3 Series has agile handling, a supple ride, and smooth, six-cylinder engines. The revised interior is comfortable and luxurious. Handling is taut and agile.
A new 335d with an inline 6-cylinder twin-turbo diesel engine has also been added to the 3-Series lineup.The 335d runs clean enough to meet emission standards in all 50 states and produces 265 hp and an impressive peak torque of 425 lb-ft.
"The 335i is a magnificent sport sedan with a very potent twin-turbocharged gasoline powered inline 6. So what happens when the boys from Bavaria shoe horn a diesel powered twin-turbo 6 cylinder underneath the hood?"
Strengths: Comfort, Sportiness, Handling, Power delivery, Low end torque, Steptronic paddle shifters, Styling.
Weaknesses: Some will prefer a softer ride(vehicle tested has sport suspension and 18 inch wheels).
Summary: Where do I start? My spouse and I were looking for something a little safer than our prius for our family. So I took a trip down to the dealer to see what they had in store. After test driving two 335i's, I was sold on the car. Of all the cars I've owned, this is the one that has impressed me the most. With enough low end toque to pull a tree out of the ground, yet it's civil enough to put my 16 month old daughter to sleep on a cruise. Averaging about 24-26 MPG mixed highway/country back roads/streets. Topped with a 100k mile warranty and 100k mile no cost maintenance, this car quickly became a no brainer for my family. This car will be seeing many track days this year, I'm looking forward to seeing what the translation of power and great handling can put out on the racetrack.
Similar Products Used: 10' Mercedes Benz C300, 05' Cadillac CTS-V
Strengths: Acceleration, sport feel, and handling are awesome.
Weaknesses: Convertible is a little tight if you are over 6 feet but you can learn to live with it.
Summary: One of the best cars I've ever owned. Bought the convertible for my wife and loved it so much that I preordered the 2009 335i sedan. Glad my wife prefers the 6 speed manual which I think is a must have for someone to truly enjoy the feel of true sports sedan. Originally looked at several other makes (Infinity, Lexus, Mercedes) but it is very difficult to find a car in a manual transmission that equals the 335i in handling and quality or workmanship. Prbably spent a little more than I needed but the care came fully loaded with the premium, cold weather, and sports package as well as the navigation system and ipod adaptor. Definitely worth looking at if you are in the market for a sport sedan or convertible. The sedan is also loaded and came to slightly less that 50K but I didn't get the ipod adaptor as the nav system/stereo can store all your CD's and Ipod music.
Similar Products Used: Owned a BMW 328i, Accord EX, Lexus IS 350, Audi S4......335i outshined them all!
Strengths: The engine is strong and fast, the transmission with Vtech is fantastic, the interior, the outside look, the handling and response as well as the steering are superb.
Weaknesses: It advertises as 7.5 litres per 100 kms but it actually comes down to 10.3 litres per 100 kms, driven over a 2.5 year period. It blew blue smoke out the exhaust within 6 weeks of leasing it new and it constinues to consumes a litre of oil about every 5000 kms. The driver power window broke down a year and one-half after driving it as it would not roll up. It took the BMW Store over a week to get me in to fix this emergency ...I was not impressed! I had to replace the factory tires at 48,000 kms due to wear. The driver window squeaks when rolling it up, the handles on all the doors stuck in the open position and had them all replaced twice. From time to time I have smelled coolant in the interior while driving and the lights show false messages that send me into the dealer only to be told they were false and to ignore them...Frustrating!!! I have been told by one of my clients who is a mechanic for high end vehicles NOT to buy BMW's or Mercedes. BMW's after about 100,000 kms need a lot of expensive repairs. He sugggests the Lexus and Infiniti are the most bullet proof cars on the road today. From my experiences with this car, I will not be leasing or purchasing another BMW.
Summary: The look, feel, handling and weight of this car is unsurpassed. The engine at 170 hp 6 cylinder is fast with quick response. It handles like a sports car and I love its feel. My wife and I think it is one of the sexiest looking cars out there.
Similar Products Used: Honda Civics and Prelude (both models almost bullet proof....very reliable), Jeep Cherokee (never buy one them them again either)
Strengths: Road manners, handling, cornering, build quality, elegance, comfort, no-nonsense controls. Love the tilt-down passenger mirror when in reverse!
Weaknesses: Could use more storage spaces. Second cup holder blocked by armrest - seems silly not to have fixed this ergonomic flaw. Armrest storage is lame.
Summary: I test drove the Acura TSX, TL, and Mini Cooper before settling on the incomparable 325, with premium package, leather, and 5-speed manual. The TL had more power, but not quite close on the overall road feel, and I preferred the smaller size of the 3 series. TL was too gadgety for me as well - and I love gadgets, but it was just a bit much with the DVD navigation system and its many screens. The 325 has elegant simplicity, class, refinement, and has the best road manners. The 184 HP feels like more when you step on it, and it has a beautiful growl that comes back to you in the cabin. Handling is superb, as to be expected. Acceleration is fine for my purposes, but some would probably wish for even more kick in the pants. For commuting around LA, though, there's only so much acceleration that you need. I've taken it up to about 100 MPH, and the car feels even more at home at those speeds than it does going around town. Compared to previous cars I've owned, it has the delicious feeling of wanting you to accelerate into corners rather then deccelerate - it wants you to push it. Overall just a great car. Build quality excellent. I've heard some whining about the BMW sound system, but the standard 10-speaker system in the 2004 is completely fine by me, and I'm a classical musician. Can't wait for the backordered I-Pod hookup for the glove compartment - access all my I-Tunes via steering wheel controls! Climate control excellent, and thank god there's no I-Drive nonsense in the 3-series (yet). I'd say it can't be beat for driving experience, and if you're really wanting that extra kick, go for the 330 and its 225 HP, but for me not worth the extra 4-5 thousand. This is a 3-year lease, so well within the warranty and BMW's everything-including-brakes-and-tires maintenance program. Once BMWs leave the warranty period, I know they're expensive to fix, so that's why I went for lease over purchase. To buy, I might go with the Acura.
Strengths: Handling, braking, steering
The look on the faces of the sport utility drivers when you pass them in the snow.
No maintenance cost for 4 years
Such attention to detail...watch the DVD that comes with the car if REALLY want to know all the crazy convenience features it has.
Would be faster without AWD
Summary: After alot of painstaking research I bought this car new a couple months ago, and I believe it's best possible balance between everything I wanted in a car. It looks incredible inside and out. In the snow and ice it corners on rails. It's got great acceleration, not as fast as a sportscar, but it's good enough. It has 4 doors, but it outhandles many sports cars.
The only thing I regret sometimes is whether I could have survived the winter with a 330i with snow tires...i'll never know now, but the added security of the AWD is unbeatable for the responsible side of me. The power is split mostly to the rear wheels so you get an AWD car that drives like RWD, this is what sets this car apart from, say, an Audi A4, and what gives it such a great overall feel. One of the most fun-to-drive AWD cars out there, period. Just wish it was cheaper.