BMW -3 Series – First Impressions 1000 Miles – Republished From the 2004 Review!
BMW has long claimed to be the ultimate driving machine. i.e of course a strong and bold statement on today’s highly competitive luxury car market. After 2 weeks and 1000 miles on my BMW 3 series sedan, I am convinced. It is the sports sedan benchmark and automobile perfection. I had the opportunity to drive or own many Japanese, American and European cars before. But this is something different than I have ever experienced. The only thing that excited me in 4 wheels before is a Honda which is easily a Japanese BMW. Well, even then the gap between that and a real BIMMER is huge.
BMW brilliance has deep roots and it is difficult to know where to start. First the steering and handling: Put a mark on the road and try placing your left front tire on that spot at 60 mph every time you pass it. In most cars it is a dangerous, futile and dramatic exercise which makes the driver sweat and become nervous. In a BMW you will do it every time without any issues (Some driving expertise required.).You start loving curves!
There is a magic German formula on chassis and suspension. The ride is compliant. No jolting, floating or oscillations. The secret is in the weight distribution with a 50/50 front/rear balance which only BMW masters. The engine is stunning to be put it in a mild way. The 184 hp inline 6 cylinders have enough grunt below 4000rpm and above that it is a rocket. Even at the red line in tach, it is smoother than other cars when they are idling. It is surprisingly economical delivering 30mpg on highway and 23mpg in downtown havoc.
The interior is your invitation to the crafted luxury of business class. There is Montana leather, genuine myrtle wood panels and knobs. Sound system has BMW business CD/radio with 10 speakers delivering excellent sound quality. Integration With BMW phone is possible and can be controlled from steering wheel mounted buttons.
Climate control is “Set it and forget it” in auto mode but flexible enough to blow cold air in your face and warm air at feet at the same time if you desire. Switches and controls are a pleasure that one tends to overuse them. Plus there are a lot of convenience features standard with on board computer monitoring vital statistics.
Then the seats. The 12 way power sport seats in front is nearly everything you need in a seat anywhere. I liked the 3 driver memory and the thigh support the most. Steering wheel tilts and telescopes for added comfort.
The 3 sedan is a great car for any purpose. You can race with the real sports car (those exotic Italian ones) in the back roads, fancy a 5 seat road trip with friends, impress others with that flying propeller blue/white roundel, kidney grills and those magic 3 letters BMW. Never have to worry about safety as front, side and head protection air bags will take care of it along with DSC (Dynamic Stability Control). IIHS rates 3 series as best pick, even higher than Volvo S 60.
Some of the things which people wont like are the tight back seats- BMW 3 series is no family sedan and never bought for space. If space is a concern try a F150 truck or a mini van.
Next is the 3 mode steptronic transmission. It can be in automatic, It can be sport, or it can be a manual shifter. Only recommended for driving buffs, normal drivers will never change it from automatic mode. But they will have to pay the high price for all these technologies.
Lastly, the handling on the wintry roads is not perfect especially with summer touring tires. For such conditions avoid the sport package or get an all wheel drive xi model.
BMW 3 series is an excellent value for money. Be a bit selective on the options otherwise prices will sky rocket in the range of 40K, the base price being less than 30K. BMWs are timeless and have phenomenal resale values. For those who would not compromise for options and don’t want high monthly payments there is an excellent option of Certified pre owned program from BMW.
There are cars from many reputed competitors like Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Acura and Infinity which can be compared to 3 series in this category. Each of these cars do 1 or 2 things well. BMW will do everything well. It is what other sport luxury sedans aspire to become someday. It gives the driver an injection of passion every time one get behind the wheel and a telepathic communication is established with you and the car. You point it where to go, it goes exactly as you want it to be. Your involvement with the BMW in every second you drive it makes other cars feel about as exciting as dish washers or refrigerators. BMW is automotive perfection. It is the benchmark and always the ultimate driving machine.
For me, I have strong intentions to settle into a long term relationship with the Black Sapphire Metallic 325i sedan of my own in coming years. I hope to get to know this “Bavarian beauty with brains” more and more each day.