By on February 5, 2007

amber.jpgFour wheel-drive sedans are divisive devices. Their buyers tend to split into two camps: snow scared drivers (who would no more cane their car in the dry than leave home without their wallet) and pistonheads (intent on boldly hooning where no front or rear wheel-driver would hoon before). Of course, pistonheads like the extra snow-and-go seating, but fear the four wheel-drive gubbins will add extra weight and sap steering feel. So, does the BMW 328xi coupe cater to both groups, dodging the dynamic bullet even as it pampers the paranoid?

As you’d expect, the 328xi two door looks no different from the regular 3er coupe. Despite all the kvetching about Chris Bangle's flame broiled designs, the 3 coupe marks a welcome return to blandsome Bimmers. This isn’t just a car you could take home to mother; it’s your mother’s fortieth anniversary present.

down.jpgThat said, the 328xi's front is busier than Dick Cheney's cardiologist, with grilles below air dams beneath the bumpers. While it’s not a completely incoherent design, I wonder how all that low-hanging plastic will fare in snow-covered Neiman Marcus parking lots. And Ladies Who Lunch better be careful opening that door; the swage line running the coupe’s length is sharp enough to draw blood.

The 328xi’s profile is gorgeous, but if you've seen the 6-Series, you've been there, propeller-badged that. At the back, the 3's ghetto fabulous booty is suitably capacious for lifestyle load luggers. It easily swallows a set of weekend bags for empty nesters visiting their progeny at parents' weekend. Options miser BMW even throws in the hinges for folding rear seats gratis with the coupe, so all your oddly shaped possessions can protrude into the cabin. Safe! Or not.

interior222.jpgThe 328xi coupe’s trunk could (and should) fit the body of the engineer who designed its seats. In the Ultimate Driving Machine, you’d expect to sit on something a bit more sporting than leatherette-draped pizza boxes. Even worse, the standard-issue seating material combines the "freeze or burn" delights of leather with cloth's stain-holding powers. Unless you spring for the four-digit sport package's sexy, supportive chairs, slathered in Dakota leather, the 328xi’s thrones are a medium-sized flaw that literally gets on your ass.

Otherwise, the 328xi coupe’s interior is a motorized museum of modern art. The wood is as finely crafted as a Sam Maloof rocking chair. The fit and finish is befitting of a Dale Chihuly chandelier. And the steering wheel designers somehow found middle ground between "chocolate donut" and "hula hoop" (I did say modern art). Best of all, the electronic Rubik’s cube known as iDrive– the wheel controlled multi-media interface carefully designed to drive technophobes mad– is optional. Unfold the map, honey…

Hey! Let's play the BMW reviewer adjective challenge! Silky smooth, quiet and quick, balanced and slick, responsive, tactile, perfectly judged, telepathic and entertaining. Feel free to place the words “engine, transmission, brakes, steering and suspension” after any of these modifiers. Those of you who’ve played before know it’s the way Bimmer’s boffins weave these elements into a coherent narrative that makes the BMW a perennial best seller.

engine.jpgThe 328xi’s engine is the title character. Although the powerplant serves up a 'mere' 230hp (versus the 335i’s 300hp), winding out the straight six is no chore (as in an infinite pleasure). And you’re never far from the mill's big, fat power band– with one exception. When accelerating from  50-70 mph, downshifting isn't just a sport, it's a way of life. Luckily, the 328xi's manual stick and Steptronic auto (with semi-manual function) both offer six-gears of slick shifting joy.  

I didn’t get a chance to test the 328xi coupe in inclement weather. In theory, BMW´s brainy xDrive system transfers up to 100% of the brawn to the wheels that need it. While this extra level of confidence qualifies the car for the overly sensible, no one escapes the 328xi’s hoon-inducing siren song. Normally, when I’m driving a ride that’s not mine, I’m as gentle as Johnson & Johnson´s baby shampoo. But saying no to this car is like turning down an invite to the champagne room. From Lindsay Lohan.

fast.jpgLots of cars go where you point them, but the 3er does it on point. With finesse. And a Ginsu knife. Thanks to the linearity and predictability of its athletic responses, the 328xi dispatches twisty roads and late turns with extreme prejudice. I'm not sure the 328xi adds any measure of confidence in the wet (slowing down tends to work for me), but it doesn't weigh the coupe down or numb the tiller in the dry. So, well, why not?

For less money, you could buy the more useful 328xi sedan or the cheaper rear wheel-drive coupe with a set of good snow tires. Even more annoying, for $3500 more than the 328xi Coupe, you can own the superb 335i sedan. But hey, if you value style and security over massive thrust, the 328xi is the ultimate no excuses compromise. 

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52 Comments on “BMW 328xi Review...”


  • avatar

    I was with you, right up to the part about Lindsay Lohan. That said, I would spring for the 335i over this particular niche filler. I prefer the old 3, but this less-Bangle bungled BMW is probably the most appealing car in their line with two rows of seating.

  • avatar

    I agree, the sport buckets are a must in the car. I wish I could have adjustable side bolsters in every car. Though I’m surprised to hear that the vinyl stains.

    The main thing I like about the 3 is its one of a handful of cars I’d feel comfortable driving on an unfamiliar challenging road–there’s so little learning curve.

    Reliability has been coming in much better than I expected so far, about 0.3 repair trips per year for the 2006 sedan:

    http://www.truedelta.com/results0906.php

    The next set of results, with an additional quarter of data, will be posted soon. The stat for the 3 will not be changing significantly, actually improving by a few hundredths.

  • avatar
    bestertester

    the point, i think, is versatility.

    the regular 3-series is singularly useless in snow, no matter what kind of tires you might have. and the electronics don’t increase traction enough, they mainly improve directional stability.

    in contrast, the xi is pretty good in snow, ice, what have you. (i am not citing experience, i am quoting from last week’s edition of autobild.)

    so if you want a car that’s pretty nice to drive in good weather and doesn’t let you down in bad, go for the xi.

    personally, i strongly dislike cars that behave like pigs when it snows. it makes me feel foolish to have +250 hp under the hood and yet get overtaken by econoboxes when the weather’s bad.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Makes me wish there was a 335xi. It makes me salivate to think of the hoonery one could have in a machine like that!

  • avatar
    Dream 50

    Bestertester:

    If the F/R Beemer’s electronics mainly improve directional stability, couldn’t you just throw a couple hundred pounds of ballast in the trunk and motor around? I’m curious because I don’t buy anything but awd/4wd cars for the 4 months of snow driving I do.

    I’ve got some friends who roll Nissan 240′s and the like, but I’m not sure the midnight hoonery is worth potentially getting stuck on the way to work the next day. Besides, my 110 horse Impreza offered heaps of hoonery at legal speeds. But I digress.

    Can good technology and a bit of added weight give me what I need without awd?

  • avatar
    ash78

    Same question here as Dream 50

    Living in a non-snow climate–and knowing most everyone else in the US spends more months in dry weather than wet/icy (except the PNW region), I would think there might be a compromise so that you can still get by with a RWD. Good snow tires and some sandbags in the trunk?

    If you’re going to add a couple hundred pounds to the car for the minority of ice-related driving situations, I’d rather have it as removable ballast than the extra, complex, expensive, and power-robbing AWD system.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Most cars front or rear drive with traction control should work fine in light snow if you have snow tires. Comparable to AWD and all-seasons. The best of course is AWD and snows tires. Not all AWD systems are created equal either and I’ve heard the BMW’s is not the best, Audi, Subaru and Honda/Acura seem to do well. When it comes to snow or inclement weather driving it mostly comes down to the meat behind the wheel more than the rubber on the road (unless you are trying to use summer performance tires in winter then you are either an idiot or ignorant).

  • avatar
    mistercopacetic

    I’m surprised there is such a difference of opinion re: the 328xi coupe and the 325xi wagon. This sounds like a fairly glowing review, especially compared to Mr. Farago’s review of the wagon. Could it be a classic case of different strokes for different folks, or is there really a significant gain in the driving experience when you add 15 hp and lose ~200 lbs going from wagon to coupe? Or is it that as a wagon, the 3-series fails miserably, being too small, cramped, overweight, impractical, etc, compared to the generally accepted impractical nature of a coupe?

  • avatar
    MRL

    “the regular 3-series is singularly useless in snow, no matter what kind of tires you might have.”

    My E46, wearing a full set of Dunlop WinterSports, is a reliable and secure Vermont winter driver. Knowing how to drive is also a plus.

  • avatar
    jdv

    “the regular 3-series is singularly useless in snow, no matter what kind of tires you might have.”

    My E39 540 has easily handled everything a Minnesota winter can throw at it. You’d think a 300hp RWD would falter in 5 inches of snow or on ice, but the combination of Blizzak snow tires and the electronic nannies in these cars hasn’t ever made me miss my Tahoe once. There has yet to be a day where I felt I had to leave the bimmer home and get a ride from someone else.

    I doubt the regular 3-series is much different than my car…

  • avatar
    tsofting

    Seems to me that a lot of people cure the wrong ills when attempting to get thru winter in their car. The MOST important parameter for winter traction is the tires, no exceptions, no excuses. Some people may use snow and winter as an excuse for getting i big 4×4, but most of these would be far better off with conventional 2WD (F or R) and really good winter tires. I totally second jdv's view on this. I also drive an E39 with a straight six, and it has never left me stranded in the winter. And you betcha we can have treacherous winter roads in Scandinavia, too. As much as they are criticized by various road warriors, the modern electronic gee-wizery really works wonders in winter – believe me, I have been thru all kinds of different car and truck configurations. So – all of you guys considering a hulking 4×4 to "get thru winter", go get a good(!) set of 4 winter tires, and you'll smile your way thru winter instead of cursing it (well, most of the time, anyway). You know there's no time like winter time for a little spirited, let-the-rear-hang-out-driving, and you don't have to go 100 miles an hour to accomplish that, either! Let me just finish by saying All Season tires should be renamed No Season tires; useless in summer, useless in winter!

  • avatar

    When I compare the coupe with the sedan, I see missing bangle-isms that tremendously improve the coupe. Squinty tail lights – gone. Grille moustache – gone. Stupid headlight cut line – minimized. “Arrow” indicators in headlamp assembly – gone. As they say about 100 lawyers going off a cliff, it’s a start. Thanks, BMW for recognizing that Chris is not the god of design – his warmed-over J. May detailing looks neither modern nor trend-setting.

    That said, I drove a 335 sedan and ordered one because once again, BMW put the ‘ultimate driving machine’ feeling in the drive. And I don’t have to look at it when I’m inside.

  • avatar
    New2LA

    I’ve owned more than 1 of these things, and drove many more through routine service visits to local dealers. This means at least 10 base or loaded models, in both 2 and 4 wheel drive.

    Your observations are pretty spot-on. Base BMW seats – in any model – suck. Had them in my old car, could never get comfortable. Everybody knows to spring for the sport or comfort seats in leather, they are supremely comfortable, even for cross-country trips…some of the best in the biz.

    Trunk issues? Yep. None on the old 3, but some big ones with the current model. Can’t fit my golf clubs in my ’06.

    Steering wheel? Which one did you test – the standard one or the sport one? Sport is smaller in diameter and thicker, with detents at 10 and 2 for your thumbs. It feels amazing.

    These cars have silky smooth powerplants and are extremely responsive. Point and shoot, for even the beginning driver. Bad manual tranny’s though, thanks in part to the clutch delay valve that BMW gladly includes free of charge. Makes smooth gear changes tough, if not impossible.

    4WD? Yes. Works great. I’ve driven many of them (loaners) in the rain. Hey, I think its cool to be able to gun it from a dead stop and have no wheel spin. But xi is not for me, because I also think it’s cool to completely disengage traction control (hold button in for 3-5 seconds), and then gun it from a dead stop in the rain to make the car’s rear-end come out predictably, and then steer with my right foot.

    Snow is a different story. Mine has the sport pkg – meaning big, wide, low profile summer tires. Car simply won’t go in it. My previous 3 – with the base tires – did better. But still, yes – if you live in a colder climate, having the xi option will make a difference.

    iDrive? Not that bad once you get used to it.

    These cars are superb drivers. The worst thing to look out for is when crazy Angelinos sideswipe your car and then take off without so much as saying I’m sorry…now with 2 weeks of body shop repairs ahead of me, I am stuck in a G6 (f/k/a 6000?). The Plastic Beast drives and feels like a ’00′s version of the old GM X and A-bodies…which isn’t a compliment.

  • avatar
    MRL

    Usually the first vehicle that I see on its roof in VT is a full-size SUV, NY or CT plates, with 22″ dubs and low-profile rubber. They typically try to pass someone on I91 and hit the slush in the center and go tits up. Be aware: A Thule box filled with skis and boots WILL go thru the roof of an SUV when the SUV is upside down.

  • avatar
    NoneMoreBlack

    I know my RWD 1987 240 wagon (in battleship grey, of course) never let me down in a Minnesota winter. Well, handling-wise that is. Heating, another story. Not exactly boatloads of traction in that baby, but maybe a little less than 230HP (as in, less by a factor of 3)

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Busier than Dick Cheney’s cardiologist…that’s classic.

    I don’t remember the non-sport buckets, but now I’m gonna try them out for myself! Great review.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    I find all the fuss about 4wd and snow kind of amusing. In snow country, you can tell the locals from the out of towners. The locals have their houses near the road, the out of towners get their houses set back from the road to take in nature while they are stranded by the snow.

    The locals often have RWD trucks/cars with all season tires. If it snows, they simply wait for the plows to come thru. Then they drive with some common sense. The out of towner is on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck. The out of towner brought the fancy SUV with AWD and every other gizmo known to mankind to snow country, but left his/her common sense at home.

  • avatar
    confused1096

    For snow in a RWD car I used to keep about 150 pounds of sand or salt in the trunk. Added weight and you could use it to get yourself unstuck. Also a good set of studded snow tires, if legal in your state, is a must if you’ll be driving in snow through most of the winter.
    As a couple of people have stated simply driving carefully and not changing you speed suddenly will go a long way to keeping you on the road.

  • avatar
    rheath2

    “…(P)istonheads (intent on boldly hooning where no front or rear wheel-driver would hoon before).”

    Anyone see this as an option for Jalopnik’s new shirt contest?

  • avatar
    rm

    Claude,

    I live in snow country, and if I drove on all seasons and waited for a plow truck I’d never go anywhere. Proper winter tires and a separate set of wheels was the best investment I ever put into my FWD sedan.

  • avatar
    bestertester

    all ye sandbaggers: putting extra weight into the trunk is an old and useful trick. the downside of course is that when you drive a normal bimmer too fast on a slippery curvy road it will fishtale, but if you drive it too fast with weight in the back it might well pirouette.

    i have no knowledge of how a modern bmw with electronics will behave if you put sandbags into the trunk. my gut feeling is that it will certainly be an improvement — but that, as always, is more a matter of testing.

    tsofting and jdv: you guys are surely excellent winter drivers. for those who are not quite so good, here is some data, taken from the abovementioned source, in which various cars in 2wd and 4wd variants were tested.

    at an uphill 8 percent gradiant, curvy 1.8 km road, firm snow 5cm deep:

    bmw 330xi 4WD: 154seconds
    a4 avant 4wd: 155s
    fiat panda 2wd: 163s
    911 carrera 2wd: 168s
    911 carrera 4wd: 168s
    suzuki sx4 4wd: 170s
    suzuki sx4 2wd: 189s
    a4 avant 2wd: 205s
    bmw 330i 2WD: 214s

    in sum, the fiat econobox was fine; the 4wd bmw was excellent, and the 2wd bmw was worst.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    I had to snort when you mentioned the 40th anniversary present, my dad just bought my mom a 328 coupe for their 59th wedding anniversary! And my dad ran it over 80 ( his age) on the way home from the dealership. Thank god they live in the country.

    re: Winter, I have had some rear drive cars that were worthless in snow, but a 325 wasn’t one of them. Tires, tires, tires… I do think that 50/50 weight distribution really helps. The major problem for the 4x’s in the snow is that people think because they can go they can stop. Oops, that is why after every snow storm you see so many suvs in ditches.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    “The 328xi’s profile is gorgeous”

    This means you are blind.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    excellent article! especailly the Ladies Who Lunch comments! HA!

    about the car, id like it in a wagon or hatchback, thank you!

  • avatar
    qfrog

    I will hoon the hoon that has never been hoon’d before until I can’t hoons no more. I saw one of these last week… I was shocked that BMW did a X’er of the 3′er coupe.

    This Sat I’ll be up in NH for a winter driving school… looks like this with me driving.

    Two years ago…
    http://www.qfrog.smugmug.com/photos/48243658-L.jpg

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Well if you live in rural areas or commute to them frequently then all these things sound like reasonable precautions. If I put half that stuff in my trunk I wouldn’t have a trunk left.

    I’d have to drive a good 2 hours to find a place without cell coverage. Also if driving in inclement weather then sticking to high traffic areas seems like common sense. If taking a trip in cold conditions then sure you should be prepared. My car has some jumper cables, flash light, umbrella and that’s about it. No spare, no blankets, water, etc. Can of fix a flat but then I’d probably call AAA just in case the flat could be repaired plus the fix a goo would probably kill my TPMS and those are not cheap.

  • avatar
    tsofting

    Bestertester:
    No big surpise that a powerful 4WD will humiliate a less powerful RWD on an uphill slope, everything else being equal. A year or two back, the leading Swedish Car Mag – Teknikens Värld (if you have trouble reading Swedish, just watch the next episode of the Muppet Show very carefully)- declared the RWD BMW 1-series the superior winter car, beating celebrities like the Golf et.al. Once more; good – no make that excellent winter tires, modern electronics, and a sensible dude behind the tiller will let a RWD car handle most winter conditions as well as any Hummer with an elevation job. Of course, when you get to that unplowed farm road with two feet of snow, you just turn back, because you’ve got the sense not to even think of trying that ;-)!

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Owners of the manual transmission version may want to look into the modification of BMW’s clutch delay valve (CDV). Just don’t tell your dealer.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    I really agree with all about the importance of good snow tires, and my mother always had success with her RWD cars with Blizzaks, though I hear Michelin makes damn fine snow tires too, wink wink.

    Something many shoppers overlook, ignore, don’t realize, or don’t understand is that AWD and 4WD certainly improve your chances of getting traction in poor conditions, but skidding and sliding are skidding and sliding. If you put an AWD car on a giant sheet of ice (a la James Bond in Die Another Day), it’s still not going anywhere.

    Also as many have said, before the SUV craze, a lot of folks got around just fine with RWD (in the pre-traction control days, too) during the winter, especially in cars with good weight distribution like the 240 and many BMWs.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    And just as an FYI, to render a portion of my article moot:

    According to my BMW contacts, the 335i sedan will be available with all wheel drive starting in March.

  • avatar
    jdv

    Re: winter performance.
    I don’t know if it is the case with this BMW, but too many of the current BMW’s come with run flat tires and without the ability to order regular tires as an option. I’m not sure if you can even get run-flat blizzaks (or other winter run flat tires).

    Shame on BMW for that.

    On an unrelated note, I’d like to thank this site for introducing me to the words hoon and hoonery. These words stir me. I aspire to more hoonery in the future.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Justin Berkowitz originally wrote:

    Four wheel-drive sedans are divisive devices. Their buyers tend to split into two camps: snow scared drivers (who would no more cane their car in the dry than leave home without their wallet) and pistonheads (intent on boldly hooning where no front or rear wheel-driver would hoon before).

    Congratulations, you made me look up “hoon.” That’s a pretty tall order! And I had to work for it, too. The first three dictionaries didn’t have it…

    Hoon (Dutch)

    jeer noun

    a rude or mocking shout
    Example: the jeers and boos of the audience

    (from Dictionary.com)

    er…what was the point of the article again? ;)

  • avatar

    ZoomZoom,

    You should have checked that source of all things worth knowing, Wikipedia:

    Hoon is an Australian and New Zealand colloquial term applied to individuals who typically drive fast and dangerously. The term is also used as a verb: “to hoon” or “to hoon around”, meaning to act in a reckless or otherwise less than sensible manner.

    The term “Hoon” was first used in Australia at the turn of the 20th century. Its origin is currently unknown but is widely believed to be a shortened form of “hooligan” [1]. In more recent times it has been used to describe any young male or female who drives in a manner which is anti-social towards the standards of modern day society in what are usually heavily modified vehicles of Japanese or Australian origin.

  • avatar

    Someone is trying to be too clever, Justin, and if you look in the mirror you may find him.

    I swear I had to read the first paragraph three times before I figured out what you were trying to say. I think.

    Look, cars are fun, blogs are fun, writing is fun, and TTAC is really fun. But this is a bit too much fun :)

  • avatar
    ktm

    bestertester, obviously you missed the point of your own, latest post: even FWD and RWD were able to traverse the same road under the same conditions as the AWD. You just proved everyone’s point.

    I will also be sure to tell all the Bavarians, Swiss, and Austrians that they should only drive AWD sedans. I mean, how do they survive?

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I am now thoroughly confused.

    I thought the RWD 3 series was supposed to be better than the AWD A4. But the A4 is supposed to be better than the AWD 3-series. Now I read that the AWD 3 is just as good as the RWD 3. Horses for courses I guess.

    Also, BMW’s naming conventions are getting the ridiculous. Last year’s 525 and 530 and this year’s 328 and 335 all have one thing in common. They are all powered by 3 liter engines. Huh?

    And aren’t coupes supposed to start with even numbers?

  • avatar
    Dream 50

    So to sum up the above, if you are an idiot, AWD and snow tires are in order. If you know what you are doing, RWD and snow tires are fine, right?

    I’ll stick with my 4wd, then, thanks. ;-)

    Seriously, though, Even if I’m not hooning on the way to my destination, isn’t the peace of mind AWD offers worth so much? Fighting a 2WD on icy roads for 45 minutes leaves me stressed out and uptight. With AWD, just point it and go and have a much easier time of it.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    ole:
    I only look in the mirror once a week, on Thursdays. I will get back to you.

    Dream 50:
    “Fine” is relative, and so is “knowing what one is doing” unfortunately. Most important, keep it safe in bad weather – hoonery can be fun, in the right conditions – but nothing short of a half-track tank with treads is guaranteed to give safe traction on ice and snow.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    Some of you people who say RWD BMW’s handle horrible in the snow, I’m a bit suprised as the Germans have been driving them in inclement weather forever and they would know bad weather in there region. Of course snow tires are mandatory from November thru March over there.

    If I lived in an area with snow, AWD would be a nice thing to have however in so.cal it would be rather pointless. Nice review nonetheless.

  • avatar
    bestertester

    ktm, when i used the expression “useless” in reference to the 2wd 3-series in snow, it was a british colloquialism meaning “definitely inferior”. i did not mean to say that the bmw is unable to get up any slippery hill at all.

    i think it’s not stretching the truth to say the bimmer is inferior when its ability in the relevant aspect is lower than cars costing a third.

    i also did not mean to say that driving ability is unimportant in snow. sorry for the misunderstanding.

    guys, i didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. i know bmw owners are proud folk. all i was saying is that in winter conditions, the xi is phantastic whereas the rwd version is less able than most other cars.

  • avatar
    MRL

    “rwd version is less able than most other cars”

    Not my experience at all. Yours, though?

  • avatar
    Qusus

    I can’t speak for “bestertester” but I’m pretty sure when he said that “rwd cars is less able than most other cars” he meant less able than most other awd and fwd cars.

    From now on, can we just drop the “fwd vs rwd vs awd in snow” debate forever more on any car review that appears on this website?! Please? There’s seriously nothing to debate:

    Typically speaking, all things being equal: AWD is best in snow, FWD is not as good as AWD, and RWD is worse than all of them.

    Obviously, things like weight distrubution, electronic nannies, and snow tires/chains help all variety of drivetrain configurations.

    Look, anyone who has driven a BMW knows it’s a wonderful machine. Some of the world’s best cars, but that doesn’t mean the RWD setup in some of their cars is ideal for inclement weather conditions. (Which is why they offer an AWD setup afterall.) That’s all there is to it.

  • avatar
    nino

    RF,

    Is it possible to post an “as tested” price on the reviews?

    I for one, would find it pretty helpful and I think that it put the review in a better perspective.

    Thanks.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    nino:
    For the car I spent the most time in, the as tested price was $41,040.
    Base price is $37,395 (inc. destination)
    metallic paint ($475)
    automatic transmission ($1275)
    heated front seats ($500)
    power front seats ($995)

  • avatar
    blowfish

    It is really the driver and not the car. Look at those rear wheel drive cars entered in the Monte Carlo races 40-50 yrs ago.
    Anyday Buddy Rich can play with a set of tin cans and still sound jazz to our ears.

    Quite often a car with AWD kind of gave you false sense of security will land you belly up faster than you can say Oh my God.

  • avatar
    tincanman99

    Well now, I keep hearing from the BMW propeller heads that if you put snows on all 4 wheels its not to shabby in the winter. I live in NJ and though our winters can be tough at times its generally not the case but I can certify that when it does snows I see all kinds of rear wheel drive cars (BMW, Mercedes) trapped, stuck and generally screwed. I always assume they were being driven by idiots and did not have snows.

    Years ago I had a Mustang, treacherous when it snowed or there was rain. Regularly used to put sand and stuff in the trunk to get traction. Wasnt feeling the love. My Dad had a Mercury and a Lincoln that were rear wheel drive and they sucked too.

    So which is it? Does this thing work in the snow with just rear wheel drive and snow tires or is the all wheel drive the option to buy?

    Have had all wheel drive cars except one and have to say despite the performance naysayers, front wheel rocks in inclement weather. Yeah, I know its not optimum from a performance standpoint but I dont drive on a race track so I dont care. I want a sporty, firm competant car that behaves.

    The styling is not bad but its eh… um just OK. I wouldnt say its gorgious. It works though, better looking than the other Bangle cars (the 7 series is the ugliest of all followed by the 6 – I love the humpy looking trunk).

    BTW, the Audi A5 coupe is coming out next month. Guaranteed it will have Quattro available.

  • avatar
    ReedSpacer

    I’ve owned both awd and rwd versions of the previous gen 3 series. Living in a place where snow, rain, and ice are part of life, the awd is significantly easier to drive in inclement weather. Without any doubt (imh…and non-expert opinion).

    Yes, snowtires help. Yes, driving intelligently helps. Yes, snow driving experience helps. But really, this is not a review of “how to drive in poor weather conditions” or “choosing the right tire” or “how to drive like a dumbass in bad weather”. Well, I don’t think it is anyway.

    If you can justify the expense, the extra control awd offers is something I highly recommend…esp if you have some loved ones who may not as super-duper-talented of a snow driver as you are. Oh, and awd is also pretty swell in the rain…which has been known to occur in areas where snow does not.

    I also don’t speak Swedish so maybe I have missed out on some greater northern euro wisdom of winter driving that would make me feel sad and inadequate (in my winter driving skills).

    And before you get mad…dude, I’m just kidding. I like Swedes. Especially the bikini team and the meatballs.

  • avatar
    Dreamin' Beamers

    The 335xi will be available in Germany in Mar ’06, with it coming to the US sometime late summer, early fall. I’ve already driven one (I live in Germany) and will be bringing one home with me next year. It is an absolutely incredible automobile, well worth the extra $$$ over the 335i.

  • avatar
    Paul

    “the regular 3-series is singularly useless in snow, no matter what kind of tires you might have”

    Sheer nonsense. My 323i, with four snow tires, handles any weather Canada can throw at it.

    Paul

  • avatar
    bapcha

    Dude:

    Lindsay hasn’t turned 21 yet – not that it stopped her any in her pursuit of ethanol.

    The Bapcha Man.

  • avatar

    Hi to All, I live in Oregon USA, And we have a problem not so much with snow, but rather Black Ice. And I feel secure in my 07′ 328xi. I drove an Acura RL prior to the BMW and it too was impressive, b ut I favor the BMW. My 328xi has 32K miles on it. And it has never put me on the spot or in the ditch. The AWD feature is anxiety relieving in the winter as it never snows much in the Valleys of Oregon, however, when a weather front moves through cold air usually settles in quickly freezing the rain moisture left on the road. Driving the next morning can be hazardous. I am sold on the X drive. If I was Twenty Five Years younger I would not go for it!

  • avatar
    sgticthus

    I have taken my 328xi over the worst roads in Pennsylvania snow covered and it was a dream to control. No other car I have driven in 45 years of expitience had me feel so safe and comfortable.


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