BMW 3 series quick drive

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 A little while ago, I was invited by BMW to spend the day driving a few of their cars.

I was really curious about the 3 series.
I had not driven one yet. And here in L.A, these cars are everywhere.
I must say, I find them really, really boring.
But I was really curious about how good they are to drive. “The ultimate driving machine” right?

The one I drove was pretty loaded. A 340 model with a 3.0 Liter 6 cylinder  Turbo.
And, as far as I could tell, lots of options. Including a “power kit performance exhaust”
The final price was well above  $60 000 . (It stars at around $47 000)
Which is a lot of money for a car the size of Honda Civic.

 The interior is fine. If looking a bit confused, and busy.
Everything feels solid. Well put together. But that’s the feeling you get in most cars these days.
Inside, it’s really not better than cars costing less than half.

 The back seat isn’t great. but that goes for most other models in its class.

The BMW automatic shifter is a bit fusing at first.
And it actually never feels great. More like a video game joystick.
Not really the stuff that should be part of “the ultimate driving machine”.

As far as the drive is concerned, I was surprised how light the steering was.
I really was expecting something a bit firmer.
The ride is very smooth and solid.
The exhaust kit does sound great. but again, not that sporty. Just very refined.

But there is quite a bit of turbo lag. And that is pretty annoying. All the time.
You pretty much have to push your foot down, a lot, to get a sudden rush of power.

For that price, the lag shouldn’t be that noticeable .

The overall feel of the car is more “luxury” than “sport”.
The exhaust kit is actually very quiet. The steering is very light and  the ride smooth.
I did play with settings a bit. But it didn’t change things much.

So this is more like a $60 000 Compact luxury car.
One that you see everywhere… So this isn’t exclusive at all.

The  3 series does start at “just” $34 000 for the 320. (or $359 a month lease)
But that’s with a 180HP 2.0 Liter engine. So we are talking about Jetta specs here (The 2018 is getting the new 2.0 Liter with 184HP)
And zero option. No sunroof, leather etc…
(The 340 sedan lease starts at over $500 a month!)

I actually don’t get it. I know that BMW badge means so much to a lot of people. So I guess that’s what they are paying for.

The 340 is a very nice drive, but so many other cars are about as nice. Many look better, are more reliable, roomier.
And most cost less. A lot less.

Conversation 14 comments

  1. Are you sure BMW invited you? It seems that you are afraid to show front and rear of the car because of the lisence plates? Was it a friend's car again Vince?

  2. You are correct about the price. My mistake.
    $47 000 was the base price. The loaded one was almost $60 000. ( I will correct the post)

    And no, not a friend's car. I didn't think it was that necessary to post more pictures of the BMW 3 series we see 50 times a day. Most people know what it looks like by now.

    I spent a whole day driving various models. I will post more soon.

  3. The only 3 I can fit into is the 3 GT. And the 3GT rides as rough as an empty dump truck. Therefore, I'll never consider anything smaller than the "too small for it's price" 5-Series (which I recently traded for something bigger.) BMW is being put out to pasture with the newer more upscale interiors from Mercedes, Lincoln & Volvo anyway–so who cares what BMW changes (or doesn't change) ! Their only sales momentum is downward into the lower priced field. Ciao BMW !

  4. They've definitely changed the character of these cars. I like wagons. I had an '06 325 xi wagon that was a dialed in driving car with steering that was incredibly precise with heft. You felt one with the car. The car was rear ended in '16, so I got a '16 3 series wagon. So different, moves to a more luxury feel. They make great wagons, but these cars are no longer drivers cars. I don't really see a reason for BMW in the marketplace anymore.

  5. the 3series is on fire sale these days. They are trying to unload to make room for the new model coming next year, while taking advantage of the strong dollar. By the way, did you try the sport mode to see how the steering felt?

  6. I did try the sport mode.
    The steering felt a little bit better. So I basically left it on sport mode the whole time.

    I thing, for a car with sporty aspirations, that sport mode should be the standard setting.
    The real "sport mode" should be a lot sportier…

    Yes, there should be a new one next year. But I also drove the brand new 5 series (More on this in a next post), from that experience, I don't expect wonders from the next 3…

  7. A good friend of mine V.P is building a BMW store in northern Ontario . It's a mistake. He's overstepping his bounds. Out of his league

  8. of courser it s crap no now told you u!? that germ an crap is so ion rerouted priced they make tons of money from stupid un-American who u who buy it

  9. of course its crap thats all the greens are doing sell overprice garbage to un americans citizens

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