By on July 3, 2013

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230 horsepower and 3362 lbs doesn’t sound very impressive on paper. But that’s the last reason anyone buys a BMW 328i. I admit that in my numbers-obsessed adolescence, I was skeptical of the promise of a silky-smooth I6 and the intangible promise of perfect poise and balance. Why not just go straight for the 335i? And then I drove one.

It turned out that yes, the 328i really did deliver on the much vaunted promise of being one of the finest sports sedans in the world. Since then, I have longed for a naturally aspirated, manual transmission BMW. The 328i has always held a certain appeal, though I wouldn’t turn down the E90 330i, with its juiced-up 3.0L I6.

The introduction of the turbo-four BMWs has added a certain urgency to that desire, and this article by Road & Track isn’t helping matters. The guys at R&T have come to the same conclusion that many of us have over at TTAC. For all its supposed pace and efficiency, the turbo-4 can’t compare to the purity and sophistication of the I6 powertrain and the hydraulic steering system. I’m off to find one on Craigslist, hopefully not in that eggplant color.

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109 Comments on “3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Backward...”


  • avatar
    Mad_Hun

    Last year, I was shopping for a pre-owned car in this segment. I could have purchased the M3, the 335, the G37, etc. After some research and test drives, I concluded that a base 328 offered the best balance. Mine is a 2011 with virtually no options – manual seats, no iDrive, no sunroof, 6-speed manual. It’s pretty perfect.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I wouldn’t have looked twice at a G37. Even though they ultimately give you more bang for your buck than the 3-Series models, the proportions are awkward and G35/37’s don’t age nearly as well stylistically, nor do they feel as special, in my opinion. That doesn’t seem to have changed with the Q50, which looks so unremarkable that I can’t even remember whether or not it’s been released yet.

      Also, it looks like you’ve got the 3-Series to have if you value preservability and dependability. As nice as BMW electronics are, you just know they’ll undergo catastrophic meltdown eventually. And those turbos…

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        cough, splutter … “the proportions are awkward and G35/37′s don’t age nearly as well stylistically, nor do they feel as special, in my opinion.” fair enough … your opinion … but it did nearly make me swallow my tongue!

        I’ll take my opportunity to counterpoint. As a kid who grew up in Munich, spending hours at the the BMW museum each month, soaking in the exquisite designs of the newest model in the window of the BMW showroom at Karlsplatz, BMW still has some way to go to recover from Bangle.

        Sure, BMW designs are recovering, but they’re not there yet. In my opinion, Infiniti has created multiple modern design classics – the original G35 coupe and sedan, the original FX and the current M all make my list. Off hand, I can’t think of anything really special (but plenty downright ugly) that BMW has styled in the last decade and that has left the field wide open for Audi to become the current day German icon of style.

        Style: BMW can do better. They have done much better in the past. BMW fans deserve better.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Funny you should say that, I parked next to a brand new-with-temp-tags G37 this week at work. I thought to myself as I got out. “Hmm that looks kind of old, in a 2005 sort of way.” I noticed the switchgear front and rear (since it wasn’t tinted) didn’t look impressive for a premium car either. The window switches in particular looked Altima-y.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Indeed there seems to be more of a difference between current and past Nissans than current and past Infinitis. Despite having the same shape as one, you wouldn’t confuse our 2005 Nissan Murano SL with one of the 2009 and later Muranos, which look much edgier. The only Infiniti to have been radically restyled is the QX56 (soon to be QX80) and that was entirely due to it going from a luxury Nissan Armada to a luxury Nissan Patrol.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’ve long looked at the naturally aspirated 3-series as an aspirational car that I could never quite justify in real life. That ended with a giant thud once the 2012 model landed.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    get a good exhaust system on that car, perhaps even the factory performance one. While the 328 sounds pretty sweet, it’s way too muffled. Having driven that, as well as plenty of other 6 cylinder BMWs, trust me, that engine has a voice that needs to be heard loud and clear. If you want to live dangerously, you may also want to think about swapping the OEM run flats for normal tires. I noticed the handling and steering on the E90s I drove weren’t as good as the e46s, and a couple BMW people have told me the run flats are to blame, not to mention they are insanely expensive, even compared to an already pricey set of michelin pilot sports. Perhaps other e90 people can confirm or deny whether this swap makes a worthwhile difference.

    As I’ve been car shopping with a friend of mine (he’s the one looking), I occasionally have come very close to making a totally irresponsible purchase when confronted with a 328 or 128. I always go and look to see if it is that diamond in the rough, the no options sport package stick shift car. I’ve come close, but luckily for my finances, I have yet to actually see one. Lord knows if I did, I’d have to call a couple people and start the conversation with “I need you to talk me out of something very stupid…”

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a low mileage no options 2007 328i stick for sale right near me. Ugh.

      • 0 avatar
        1998redwagon

        o go ahead and look at it….. the car is close, it’s a holiday and more than likely it’s not what you wanted anyway.

        on monday tell us how it went!

        btw banks are open on friday this week.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Grab the I6 while you still can. No 4 cylinder will ever come close to the refined, silky goodness of BMW’s inline 6.

          Many consumers that are now choosing, or increasingly being forced, to purchase turbocharged 4 bangers in place of what should have been a 6 or even 8 cylinder mill in their vehicles are going to suffer greatly in terms of overall product satisfaction and in terms of higher rates of maintenance and repair/failure due to increasingly complex and arduous regulations being forced down the manufacturers’ throats at a pace much quicker than reasonable.

          Many new consumer guinea pigs are being made daily at this moment in history.

          Here’s a GREAT article I will link here that merely states the obvious and massive reliability/durability issues associated involved with turbocharging gasoline engines.

          This will become even MORE of an issue now that lower viscosity oils (present 5W-20 and soon to be required 0W-20) will be mandated and in long terms use in such turbocharged gasoline engines.

          Bearing seizures and catastrophic turbocharger failures will become increasingly common in the years to come now that small displacement, turbocharged petrol motors have been introduced in relatively heavy passenger cars and light duty trucks, especially given the regulatory mandates forcing the use of increasingly lower viscosity oils.

          I often emphasize the fact that Honda, Toyota and Mazda, for the most part, have stayed as far away as possible from turbocharging the gasoline engines in their volume selling vehicles, and will continue to do so for as long as they can.

          http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/35ca7263#/35ca7263/20

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It won’t me edit above, but I wanted to add that the reliability & durability issues that are going to once again accompany mass produced turbo mills will only be compounded by the fact that gasoline direct injection has been unveiled en masse at about the same time (although some manufacturers are not suffering the short and intermediate term woes their cohorts are; time will tell if they continue to dodge the carbon bullet, however).

            1) Turbocharging (of small relatively small displacement engines attached to relatively heavy vehicles);

            2) GDI

            3) Increasingly stringent regulatory standards mandating things such as lower and lower viscosity motor oils (as just one example);

            That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the added complexity, costs and stresses now beseiging the ICE.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Oh, for god’s sake.

            I don’t think I’m going to base my high-performance-car purchases on what Honda, Toyota and Mazda do. With a couple of exceptions, there aren’t many Hondas, Toyotas or Mazdas that can pull the skin off of a bowl of pudding.

            I read the article – he doesn’t seem to think that they’re not up to the challenge of designing lubricants to meet these requirements.

            Yeah, I know – don’t get a forced-induction engine. Or direct injection. Or a dual-clutch automanual. Because they’ll break.

            Hey, just think about how much longer valve trains will live and how much less stress they undergo, and think how much lower piston speeds are on engines that stay under 5k rpm most of the time, compared to engines that have to spin over 5k before they make any horsepower – ?

          • 0 avatar
            suspekt

            your are 100% absolutely correct!!!

            I will take the Honda ED V6 in the Accord ANY DAY over any turbo-charged 4 banger… any day…

            as many are discovering, the V6 in the Accord (especially the manual transmission V6 Accord which is really an Acura CL in disguise) is under-rated in the HP category….

            ***again I raise the question, why is that Honda is able to engineer a V6 that delivers PEERLESS refinement, revablity, and fuel economy with a SOHC design and no DI???????

            Is Honda not making a joke of the European, American, and Japanese car makers that are still relying on 4 camshafts to accomplish what Honda is doing with 2?????

            and lastly, go check out a dyno of a 2013 V6 Accord (auto or manual) before going off on a “…but the torque…” argument. The J series whoops the ass of most other egines while being a pleasure to wind-out to boot….

            A manual transmission 2013 V6 Accord with minor exhaust mods, some billet accessories, and a decent driver will deliver 105mph+++ traps…

          • 0 avatar
            suspekt

            ***HONDA J Series SOHC V6 + GM OHV LS1-LT1 > rest of industry….

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            ++..suspekt is there something wrong with your keyboard 2day???..”…

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Your comment is full of fallacies and misinformation. What evidence do you have that today’s turbocharged engines will experience any unusual failures at all? None at all, right? Of course not. This isn’t the 70s or 80s….turbocharged engines have been very reliable since the early 90s. Remember all the twin-turbo cars like the 300Z, 3000GT, Supra? Or all the single-turbo cars of the same era? You know, the Talon/Eclipse, RX7, Conquest, etc…? Even back then, the turbo engines were as reliable as their naturally aspirated counterparts. And that’s without the superior turbo technology we have today, like water cooled (not just oil cooled) units that continue to pump coolant when the engine is turned off and turbo temp is high.

            Face it turbos are here to stay for the foreseeable future. All the engine technology in the world has not trumped the fact that turbocharging is by far the best way to get power and fuel economy out of a modern engine.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Once again, you have an uncanny insight as to what lies ahead in the over-turboed small engines being pumped out by manufacturers, especially Ford. Common sense says pushing anything to it’s limits over a period of time has got to reduce it’s life-span considerably and once again I have to say I wish you were wrong, but I know you’re not

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            I’m going to partially agree with Deadweight on this one, being an owner of an ’06 2.0TFSI from Audi. The engine, while great, has been a great source of frustration during ownership. The only saving grace has been Audi’s willingness to extend the warranty on various components that are prone to failure.

            The first generation 2.0TFSI was pretty plagued:
            1. Failing PCVs
            2. Failing coolant flanges
            3. Carbon buildup
            4. Failing flapper control module
            5. Vac leaks, vac leaks…and more vac leaks

            To Audi’s credit they moved fairly quickly to update the motor with the second generation EA888 2.0TFSI for the 2008.5 model year. Those engines have been substantially more reliable than the first gen units.

            This all said, I have no doubt that as fuel economy and emissions requirements become more stringent that we’re going to have to deal with these kinds of problems.

            Audi’s 3.0TFSI has not had nearly the kinds of problems that the 2.0TFSI is. I have little doubt that the warranty costs for the first generation unit were pretty substantial.

          • 0 avatar
            Gardiner Westbound

            One would hope Ford and others offering turbocharged engines would have the smarts and integrity to beef up the engine internals to withstand the higher turbo operating pressure.

            Turbo problems usually manifest themselves after 120,000 kilometers, conveniently after Ford’s 5 year/100,000 kilometer powertrain warranty has matured.

            Time will tell how reliable and durable they are. In the interim I won’t go near one.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            I too will take the J35whatevertheheckitis over some blown 4-popper. And I did!

            My 2013 Accord Touring will pull 6-second 0-60 runs all day, then towel-down with a nice run down the Interstate at 80+ and A/C blasting, while pulling low-to-mid 30-mogs; Honda has traditionally underrated their engines in general, as 93-octane will likely change the timing a little! This without DI, BTW, as that part of the “EarthDreams” meme is Acura-V6-only, for now; that DI will likely be added to the Honda V6 for the Accord MMC in a de-tuned state in order to run optimally on 87-octane, but oddly, the V6 in the small Acura SUV only makes a few horses more than the Accord, yet 93-octane is ** recommended **, not required, in the O/M. I prefer that, just to see if Honda’s DI implementation is free of the problems other manufacturers have had; on that note, the K24 ED ** N/A ** four-banger has enough scoot of its own right for the Accord with the CVT attached, and is the only option if you want to row your own gears with four doors!

            A nice large-displacement N/A four-banger like that would provide adequate motivation for Fusions, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @Dereck

        Thought you wanted an Abarth?

        Though I have to say, they make the PERFECT pair to have in the garage – one for town, one for trips.

        Just some advice. When you buy your first house, DO NOT buy one with a 6-car garage. It is the road to ruin, especially if you make it to your mid-40s unencumbered by spousal restraint.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          sgeffe said: “My 2013 Accord Touring will pull 6-second 0-60 runs all day, then towel-down with a nice run down the Interstate at 80+ and A/C blasting, while pulling low-to-mid 30-mogs”

          LOL, that’s terrific. But so will a 2.0T BMW. Yes, it will run 0-60 in 5.5 seconds all day long. Yes, it will run 80+ mph with the AC blasting and return low-to-mid 30s mpg. So what was your point again?

  • avatar
    BMWnut

    If you must get an I6 E90, make sure it has low mileage and a warranty. Things go south soon after a BMW passes the 100,000 mile mark. Ask the man who owns two M54 powered BMWs. A cooling system replacement and a cylinder head overhaul might just be in your future. It is very bad when the car is paid for, but much worse when it is not.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The E90 has the N52 I believe. Same architecture/bore spacing but basically a brand new engine, with Valvetronic etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I would spring for a MY2009 or later example if you could. That’s when the facelift (or Life-Cycle Impulse, as BMW likes to call it) took shape for the sedan and wagon. Among other things are the newer iDrive system, new front and rear fascias, LED tail-lamps, and some other electronic goodies. It’s also when the 335d first became available, but even pre-owned BMW diesels carry hefty price premiums over their gasoline counterparts. I believe the coupe and convertible styles got mild facelifts for MY2011.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Cooling system failures are a known fault on the M52 engine at around 60,000 miles (the M54’s predecessor lacking variable-lift in the valve train). That’s about $1,000 worth of stuff and an afternoon’s work to replace EVERYTHING in the system, including wear items like hoses. Or you can pay your indie BMW mechanic to do it for about twice that. It is better to replace everything prophylactically, than to wait for a failure. Since failure can be catastrophic (radiator tank or expansion tank rupture) leading to a very rapid loss of coolant, it may not be possible to shut the engine down before it’s damaged.

      I don’t know anything about head gasket failures in M52 engines, not associated with a catastrophic loss of coolant and overheat because of a cooling system failure. Aluminum engines do not like to be overheated; they warp.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The cooling system issues as far as radiators and hoses and pipes seem to be long since resolved. The only e9x cooling system issue is the electric water pump and computerized thermostat. Replace them at 80-100K preemptively. Seem to last a lot longer in cold climates than hot ones, and longer on the non-turbo cars, but they all fail eventually. Then again, so does every other water pump on a car that doesn’t get routinely changed with a timing belt.

      The non-turbo e9x cars are proving to be very reliable over the long haul. Though of course, the fewer electrical toys, the fewer there are to break.

  • avatar
    th009

    You might have more luck on Kijiji than on Craigslist — there are over 200 examples of the E90 328i listed for sale in Ontario.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I love these new turbo 4-cylinder engines. Forget the HP…that doesn’t matter. What really matters is the fact that they make lots of low-end torque, which is what really makes driving the car enjoyable. I believe the BMW turbo 4 puts out 255 ft.lb. of torque at just 1250 RPM and it holds that torque output all the way to 4800 rpm. That is a fantastic torque curve for a small engine!

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Thats a great torque curve for a commuter car or family sedan. A good enthusiast engine doesn’t give up.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Not sure what you’re trying to imply. The 2.0T engine doesn’t give up. That small engine will pull the car up to the 155 mph speed governor. It will also out-accelerate the straight 6 with ease, all while returning better fuel economy. The only downside to the turbo 4 is that it doesn’t have the same sound as the straight 6.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          He’s implying that all the fun should be at the top of the rev range and torque made lower in the rev range shouldn’t matter for fun driving because your revs should rarely get that low. For a family sedan that doesn’t promise fun, lots of torque down low is nice because it improves drivability. For what is supposed to be a fun car, revs matter. Revs are fun. A supposed fun engine shouldn’t sacrifice high end power for a flat torque curve at the low end. That was one of the few complaints I had of my ’07 GTI. It seemed happier lugging around rather than screaming.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            Given how much I do “normal” driving and how little opportunity I have to drive on the rev limiter, I will take low-end torque over peaky top-end power every time.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Exactly. The 2.0T is very similar to the VW TFSI lump as far as powerbands go. I prefer a powerband that is somewhat flat throughout the rev range, with a little more life/sound up top. Not peaky at either end. The old NA 6s (as well as the current turbo 3.0) have that.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Seriously? LOL, don’t look now, but the VAST MAJORITY of street driving is at LOW revs, not HIGH revs. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive or what roads you’re on, the fact of the matter is that a very low percentage of time do we find ourselves screaming at 7000 rpms (or higher) compared with the times we are at, say, 2500 rpm.

            A friend of mine has an S2000 and I find it a boring car to drive unless it’s at the very upper end of its rev range. Unfortunately, in the real world, it’s impossible to spend much time up in that rev range.

            And FWIW, the 2.0T doesn’t stop pulling int he upper revs. It makes good torque from way down low and well into the middle of the rev range, but it continues to build to it’s HP peak as the toque curve begins to decline.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            WS,

            With a manual tranny, it is very easy to spend as much time as one could want above 6000 in an S2000. It does get loud and annoying after awhile, but every engine fuels crisper up high than when barely ticking over, hence is much more engaging to drive.

            The NAI6 Bimmers are very different though. They in no way feel strained and tuned like a racecar, the way the S2000 does. Heck, even the M3 is smooth and sedate compared to that Honda racer. Instead, the (non M) I6s are smooth top to bottom, with no kneepoints in the power curve at all. Spectacular engines. They may deliver less mileage than a turbo 4 of equal output (although even that is less cut and dry on driving cycles less gameable than EPA, see Hondas V6 vs turbo 4s..)

            Mated with an auto, low end biased engines are nice, but with a decent manual, give me an NA engine any day. Especially if the NA is as nice as the Bimmer I6.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            A vast majority of driving would be more comfortable in a cushy suspension, yet cars with sporting pretenses come with harder suspensions.

            I had 58k miles behind the wheel of a GTI. It is missing some fun up top on that first version of the 2.0T….

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        ***I prefer a powerband that is somewhat flat throughout the rev range***

        LOL, you just described the 2.0T to a tee. It has an extremely flat powerband. It’s not peaky in any manner. Having maximum torque available at 1250 rpms all the way through 4800 rpms should be enough to illustrate that fact to you. And what happens above 4800 rpm, you ask? Well, HP takes over, as it peaks a big higher than the torque peak. Like most 2.0T engines, there’s really no point in continuing all the way to the redline. I have to LOL at all the boy racers that think they have to be at redline to go fast or to have fun.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          Yes both the Audi and BMW turbo engines are great. Not only is the torque curve very flat and its starts very low – but the HP Is really underrated.

          In the real world they tend to alot faster then they should be. In the last comparo the Audi did 5.6 to 60 and a 14.4. The BMW did 5.5 and 14.2. These are sporty cars – and that’s with the automatics.

          I dunno about reliability but overall the engines actually are often better then the 3.0 V6/I6 they replace.

          Once you get to like 3.7 liters that displacement starts to overwhelm the torque advantages of the forced induction.

          But overall the small turbo engines are a nice way of providing good performance and good EPA mileage.

          if we want to talk driveability and decent gas mileage and reliability I really believe that the new GM pushrod v-8 is the best in the business. The HEMI with cylinder deactivation is already awesome – this new V-8 should surge past it.

          Its good to have your power come on at 1250 or 1500 RPM. Its even better if you don’t have that gap.. That’s what high displacement engines do..

          Not only are they reliable but they cheap -and the gas mileage is not that terrible.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Again, you might be happy with an engine that’s not worth revving over 5K, others are not. That’s a diesel engine powerband. I don’t think its unreasonable to want or have an engine that has decent low end, midrange AND top end- like BMW’s NA 6s. There’s nothing “boy racer” about it.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            It’s not a diesel powerband in any sense. Diesels are often done at 4000 rpm. The 2.0T engines from both Audi and BMW are still making maximum torque by 4000 rpm. And peak HP is even higher still.

            My “boy racer” comment was for people like you who think that running an engine at redline all the time is the only way to go fast. I think kids today are watching too much of the Fast & Furious movies.

            The problem with the S2000 is that it is absolutely gutless until the tach needle swings about 6000 RPM. And no, it’s really not easy to keep it in that little narrow band between 6000 RPM and redline when you’re driving on the street with other cars.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Can you point to the post in which I said “running at redline all the time is the only way to go fast”? I drove the 2.0 S2000 many times and didn’t like it for the reasons you didn’t- it was completely flat off the big cam and kind of a pain in the ass to keep moving. The other side of that equation is something like the new 2.0T, which makes peak torque around 3K, peak power around 5K and then immediately begins to fall off. The old NA 6 might not have made as much specific power/torque, but it was just as strong and enjoyable anywhere in the rev range. Again, what is “boy racerish” about that?

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            I never claimed that you said that. I said that you think that way, based upon your own words & comments. If you can’t figure that out for yourself, I guss we arre done here.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      What’s new about 2.0T powertrains? This was Saab’s specialty for years and years and years. Well ahead of their time, as usual.

      It’s a quandary for me. I absolutely love a good small turbo engine. Whether the 2.0T in my ’08 9-3SC, or the rabid little 1.4T in my FIAT Abarth, they are just terrific. Power when you need it, economy when you don’t. All of this yammering on about how unreliable they will be is just utter horsepucky. I have owned nearly two dozen turbo motors, most with LOTS of miles on them, and I have never had a turbo related issue, ever.

      BUT… The BMW six is pure magic. Utter refinement, polished to perfection. As someone mentioned, too muffled from the factory, but put the BMW Performance Intake and Exhaust on and it is pure delight. It doesn’t have the low end pull of a turbo, but it pulls so ridiculously SMOOTHLY – 30mph to 130mph in a seamless sweep in sixth gear in my car. Or rev so smoothly you are into the limiter before you even realize it. The N52 is in no way peaky, there is still plenty of pull down low. There is just MORE if you rev it, and more again beyond 4500 rpm where there is a noticeable upward kink in the powerband.

      BMW needs to get whoever at FIATsler made the Abarth motor sound the way it does to work on their 2.0T. The FIAT sounds just as good as the BMW 6, though in a very different way.

      • 0 avatar
        CelticPete

        SAAB didn’t have direct injection and the computer control abilities that come with it. this is what enables the crazy flat torque curves – and helps the power down low.

        SAAB engines could be powerful – but they had lots of lag making them rather unsuitable for automatics which is mostly what gets sold nowadays.

        In general larger turbos = more peak power but more lag. This DI use small turbos for modest boost that comes on very low..

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Hell, my very first 2.0T engine was in a 1990 Eagle Talon Tsi AWD. Think about that….nearly 25 years ago, Mitsubishi made a 2.0T engine that is very similar to the 2.0T from BMW & Audi today. No, it didn’t have Direct Injection and no, it wasn’t a twin-scroll turbo design, but it still provided a nice amount of low-end torque relative to it’s displacement. As usual, I raised the boost on that engine too and beat the hell out of it for the next five years, peaking out at 18 psi all the time.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    The inline-6 seems to be dying, and that makes me very sad.

    My dream everyman’s supercar has a mid-mounted inline 6.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I believe the 3.0 in the 128i is the last NA I6 for sale in a new car in the US. From a practical POV it makes sense. I think a well sorted V6 is a decent replacement- change out the headers on a VQ35 and the sound changes from Chewbacca to a poor man’s BMW I6, with less weight.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    One thing I wish is that BMW would make projector headlamps—if not full-out HID units—standard on its lower-tier models as well (3-Series, X1, X3…). Unless you’re lucky, you practically have to go $10-$15K over the base price to get them on the aforementioned cars.

    And I have heard great things about the turbo-four in the F30 328i.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Yup, BMW finally decided to take a page out out Audi’s book. We all know that Audi has been putting fantastic 2.0T engines in several of their models for many years now.

      The low-end torque these engines make is really fantastic. If you’re a manual transmission driver like me, then you’d appreciate the flexibility of the engine to have awesome passing power on the highway without ever shifting out of 6th gear. Simply fantastic!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I used to agree with you, but a rev matched downshift is a lot more fun when highway passing. Unless I was going 65mph, my 2.0T GTI was pretty slow to accelerate when passing in top gear despite the high amount of torque down low. Dropping to 3rd or 4th gives you a much more fun feeling and sounding slingshot around the person holding you up on a 55mph highway.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          You missed the point. You can still do a rev-matched downshift if you want maximum power. Nobody is stopping you. But at the same time, there’s simply no need to downshift when you’re on the highway in 6th gear because the engine has plenty of torque to pass with authority without having to downshift. But if you want to downshift, by all means go ahead and do that. The difference is that an engine like the 2.0T does not REQUIRE you to downshift out of top gear to quickly pass someone on the highway.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        You and I are very different, sir…

        Audis 2.0Ts has got to be the most depressing engines ever to grace a car costing above 20,000. The new BMW 2.0s are less so, and the TFSI V6 in some Audis are nice as well, but their 2.0s feel like an insult to my senses….

        I grew up Hondas with nothing under 6000, so that may be a partial explanation. But I do like the smallblock (and get a giggle out of the Cummins I6 turbodiesel with a manual), so it’s not like I have something serious against low revving power bands. Just that Audi plant really offends me with it’s highly engineered coarseness.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          stuki +1

          It’s an objectively sad world when a Hyundai Sonata 2.0T is every bit as refined and potent and likely to be more reliable (as well as far less expensive to maintain) than those in many Autobahn Stormin’ Teutonic sleds costing twice as much, or more.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            So basically German cars suck unless they come with a straight six.

            Then they’re fantastic – get ‘em while you can.

            And I bet Honda, Toyota or Mazda are laughing up their sleeves at the trouble that their upstart Korean competitor is headed for, what with turbocharging and direct injection. Man, Hyundai is really living on the edge.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          I grew up on V8 muscle cars, not Hondas. That said, I prefer low-end torque to high-rpm horsepower. I hate driving most Hondas simply because they have no balls at all until you get the revs up near redline. To me, that’s no fun. And in the real world, it makes driving them very depressing. Audi’s 2.0T puts out 258 ft.lb of torque at just 1500 RPM. Nothing dull or depressing about that. It’s called having balls off the line. Like I said earlier, why bother running an Audi 2.0T engine to redline when more power is available at, say, 6000 RPM instead of 7000 RPM?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re reading my mind. Toyonda (or whomever) can put out an OHC 900hp screamer, but if those 900hp don’t come until 8000rpm then what’s the point outside of the track. I can’t drive 8 grand on the way to work just to run my horses.

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          For the vast majority of owners the VW/Audi 2.0T is very well matched. For some enthusiasts, perhaps not so much.

          My ’04 R32 was fantastic and the VR6 was a blast to drive – but I rarely wrung that car out, so much of the engine was wasted on someone like me.

          The 2.0T in my ’06 A3 is in many ways better suited: fun and much more economical.

          Now, the 3.0TFSI in the S4……that’s a whole different ball of fun.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        It’s a real tragedy. BMW traded the character and soul of their cars for ease of use to appease folks who don’t even enjoy shifting. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have to shift a ~240HP 3300lb car to make a pass on the highway; but I guess money prevails.

        BMW took a page out of Audi’s playbook, and combined with the growth of the car and the dulling of its dynamics have also taken away many reasons for folks to buy a BMW over an Audi. They traded ease of use for the attributes that made the 3 series the segment benchmark.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          It has nothing to do with enjoying shifting. I love shifting as much as anyone. But I also love the fact that my engine has the flexibility to accelerate swiftly without being REQUIRED to shift. I’m not so sure why that’s so hard to understand. Hell, back in the day I had a 5-speed 5.0 Mustang and if I floored it on the highway in 5th gear, it went absolutely nowhere. I had no choice but to downshift to 4th (or better yet 3rd) to pass someone on the highway. I hated the fact that 5th gear was strictly for fuel economy and wasn’t useful for anything other than maintaining my speed on a flat highway. Today’s turbo engines are nothing like that. They pull like bandits in top gear at highway speeds. And I love it!

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            I am watching these comments popping up in email over and over, back and forth, high revs vs. low-end torque. Can’t you just understand that some people like engines that rev more, others like the low-end torque of turbos??

            I have a 2.0T GTI, I get the appeal of the turbo engine. I love how fast my car is off the line, almost like a V8. My dad had an S2000… I liked driving it too. Hearing the VTEC sing at 7k+ was intoxicating. I also love the smoothness of the older BMW I6’s, it really is a very satisfying feeling when you can wind it out. I even like the way Mazda’s rotary engines feel, so smooth and feeling like they rev forever. To each his own, surely you can understand why some people might prefer one to the other?

            I think the main issue here is BMW has long been known for their amazing inline 6’s, and its going away now. While a small turbo engine might be better suited for 90% of the driving most people do, not everyone buys a car for how well it is for commuting, they might want it to do one special thing. I test drove an F30 and personally I thought it felt pretty good, but admittedly I didn’t drive it back to back with the old car so maybe I just didn’t notice the differences as much. I also wasn’t really too impressed, it did not feel much different that my GTI.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Again, you claim to love shifting, but then say you prefer an engine that enables you to never shift. Those seem mutually exclusive. Plus again, you don’t seem to understand that other people might not have the same preferences as you. I have driven the 2.0T in the GTI… the torque is great… but the engine has no sound, which is important to me. The old BMW 6s had everything balanced. This new turbo 4 traded character for torque. Which is fine if you prefer torque… but not everyone does.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Um…no. I didn’t say that I enjoy an engine that never requires me to shift. I never even implied that. What I said was that I enjoy an engine that has the flexibility to allow me to pass on the highway without being forced to downshift. Why is that so difficult for you to comprehend? I love shifting, but I also love being able to accelerate without being required to downshift. Does that mean I never downshift or that I don’t enjoy downshifting? LOL, of course not.

          Besides, its not just about shifting. Engines tht make great low-end torque are much more flexible than peaky high-rpm HP engines, like the S2000. No thanks, that’s boring to me. Why can’t you accept the fact that some people prefer torque over HP?

    • 0 avatar
      rickyc

      That’s a negative Mr. Williams, BMW started offering the “lighting package” for MY13 which offers adaptive xenons as a stand alone option for $900 on the 328.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Last time I checked though, that stand-alone lighting package was only available if you first stepped up to one of those trim levels (like the sport package or luxury package) above the actual “base” model. Which can add a lot to the price. If you want the absolute base trim I don’t think you can get Xenon. But I could be wrong…

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        @eickyc–You’re actually right, from what I can tell by BMW’s online configuring tool; however projection headlamps should still be standard on a car of this caliber, even if they aren’t necessarily HID. The reason is that most people don’t order their BMWs, and a lot of dealership-stock cars skip the lighting option and have the ho-hum halogen lamps while still having price-tags that approach $50K…

        • 0 avatar
          rickyc

          Oh I agree in this day and age any car over $35k should have xenons standard. No if ands or buts.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I completely DISAGREE.

            I did not want and did not order xenon headlights on my 328i wagon. They are better, but they are not enough better to justify the increase in cost both up front ($1200) and in replacement bulbs and ballasts and whatnot down the road. $20 for a pair of halogen bulbs vs. $200+ for a pair of HID bulbs, and God help you if anything else goes wrong with them. Having them as options lets us both be happy.

            FWIW, I find the halogens on my ’11 just fine, and I am one who has spent a fortune over the years upgrading headlights on my various Euro cars. All of my older cars have E-code headlights, for example. I even have the e-code Euro headlights for my Grand Cherokee, brought over from Hungary by a friend of mine.

            Assuming they last long-term LED headlights may be the ultimate answer. Time will tell.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    I’m sad to see the BMW hallmark – the naturally aspirated inline 6 – go the way of the dinosaur. The S54 is of course the best production NA I6 ever, but forget that engine and even the “regular” M54 of two generations ago is outstanding. It is incredibly flexible, smooth, efficient and it sounds wonderful. Plus, for most normal maintenance items it is a dream to work on. Put it in the 3-series and you have an outstanding overall package.

    Sad to know that there is no possibility of getting a CPO/used F30 with their legendary engine configuration. The 2.0T is impressive but the complexity added by the turbocharger system scares me. The E90 328 has been reviewed as too soft, and the 335 has 1-2 turbos depending on the year. I sure wouldn’t want to foot the bill for new BMW turbos down the road.

    Perhaps there will be big business in keeping E46s running…

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      No worries. Modern turbo technology is nothing like the old days. Today’s turbos should easily outlast the car without ever needing to be replaced. I’ve been driving turbo cars since the early 90s and I’d say they are every bit as reliable as a naturally aspirated car.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        There’s nothing that will give the 2.0T the character of the engines it replaced though….

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Character? You think an engine has character? LOL, sorry, but I don’t find character in any engine. I want my engine to be responsive and able to propel the car with authority under any/all circumstances. If you spend your days conversing with your engine, then I can see why you’d want it to have character. LOLOLOL Personally, I like it when people have character, but that’s not a trait I’d expect from an engine or any other non-living object.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            BMWs: The cars for people who can’t make quality distinctions and claim that nobody else can either.

      • 0 avatar
        mbaruth

        Reliable turbos in BMWs? That must be why this website exists:

        http://www.bmwtwinturboengineproblems.com/

        So exactly when did you lease your F30 328i?

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          The N54 twin-turbo six had HORRENDOUS teething problems when first introduced in 2007. Though most of the problems were from the direct-injection fuel system, not the turbos. They have had issues with rattling wastegates, and replaced turbos under warranty for it, but that is really a cosmetic, not functional issue.

          The DI system issues seem to be pretty well resolved now, and I have not heard of any issues with the 4 cylinder cars. Note that none of them are actually twin turbo anymore, rather they are now a single turbo with twin exhaust scrolls in late e9x and f3x cars, with the exception of the e9x 335is, which still uses the older motor with two actual turbos.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          I own an A5 2.0T. It’s got an upgraded (larger) K04 turbo running 21 psi. Besides that, the only other mod on my car is a dual exhaust system. The way it sits right now, it will outrun a V8 S5.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Well, you can still get an F3X with a six (as long as you don’t want a wagon), it will just have a turbo bolted on to it. 300hp, no waiting. And a LOT of low end torque. If you are going to buy used anyway, not much in it price-wise.

      The only reason the 328i gets called soft is that they are too quiet from the factory. Dial the road noise up to e46 levels (LOUD) and they would feel about the same. I am also of the opinion that the sports suspension ruins the ride without adding much to the handling. Any handling advantage is due to the stickier tires it comes with, add those to the standard car and it will go just as well, while leaving your kidneys intact. The sport seats are nice if you fit in them though.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    My mother bought a 330i brand new in 2006. She still has it. I will admit, it is an absolute gem. I also own a 2008 325d in Germany, and her car is noticeably better than mine as well. Don’t know if it is the diesel 6 weight, or the higher assist power steering on my car, but hers dances with you and mine just doesn’t have that magic.

    I haven’t driven the new 3, but I have driven the new 5 quite a bit. if the new 3 is similar, I understand it. The new 5 is a great car, but it definitely doesn’t communicate magic through the controls like the older cars. I like driving it, but it doesn’t feel special. Not enough that I wouldn’t go look at an Audi or Cadillac or similar.

    I helped my mother pick that car back in 06. We drove I think 5 or 6 other competitors struggling to pick a true favorite. Then finally to BMW. We both walked out knowing the BMW was the hands-down best driver, and the one we were comparing every other car to. Pretty clearly tells you which one is the one to buy.

    To this day I love going home to see her and taking it into the mountains. Its starting to feel a bit of age, but still blows me away every time. Makes me feel like I’m the best driver on the planet.

    I’m starting to feel about BMW how I felt 10-15 years ago about Honda. Saddens me quite a bit.

  • avatar
    david42

    Last year I bought what I believe to have been the last new e90 328i rwd sedan in New England. Automatic, alas: I was too late to snag a stick. Still, I consider myself very lucky.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Yep, I6 = quality > quantity.

    Living in the Great White North, obviously you need to buy the nicest ’90s Skyline GTS you can find, then take good care of it so I can buy it from you when they’re old to come south of the border.

  • avatar
    iganpo

    I bought a 2012 wagon last year, fearing that bmw would axe the wagon for North America. Also not a big fan of the nvh 4 cylinders make. Well BMW decided to bring the F30 here after all. The gas mileage on my E90 is not great — 20-21 in mostly city driving — and back seat room is tight. So I’m regretting my decision a bit, but just a bit. The 4 cylinder sounds just don’t seem right in a car that pricey. And BMW does a great job keeping its 3 series styling timeless.

  • avatar
    bigd

    Love my S4 with stick shift. The change in “feel” and capability from the A4 to S4 is night and day, even if they will behave similarly in “everyday driving”.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    My neighbor is a BMW fanatic, and a few years back he had a 330i with sport pack and stick. I guess that was a 2009 model? It was black with black interior, and the sport pack and black paint really help with the bangle-ized look of that model. I would guess that is the one to get if you can find any so equipped.

  • avatar
    jaybird124

    The article is false about the E90 steering. While I whole heartedly agree E90 328 has much better steering, they’re both electric. Only E90 335i, 335d, and M3 had hydraulic.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    BMW now only makes cars for the people that real BMW drivers humored out of well bred civility, something that is completely absent from their current audience. Numbers? Those are for people trying to rationalize an unsatisfying purchase.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    There are two realities at work that create this situation. The first realty is that the great bulk of BMWs are now purchased with automatic transmissions of some sort, and that share is increasing. The number of people who can properly operate a clutch and manual transmission and enjoy doing it is falling. As Detroit discovered decades ago, a torquey, slow-turning engine always “feels” best when connected to an autobox.

    Secondly, today’s buyers in the U.S. are all about how the car does at the stoplight Grand Prix. Engines with gobs of torque available just after throttle tip-in do the best at this game. Hence the “superiority” of the BMW turbo 4 over the various n/a versions of the 3-liter six.

    To be sure, the M54 engine produces adequate torque at 2,000 rpm to not feel slow. The engine in the Honda S2000 it isn’t. But if you’re into the stoplight Grand Prix, then you have to do a little violence to the clutch in order to keep the revs up at launch.

    The feel is just different. I own a Saab Aero with the 250 hp 2.3 liter turbo engine and a 5-speed automatic. Driven moderately, that engine will spend most of its time between 1500 and 3000 rpm and not feel sluggish. My M52-powered Z3 spends most of its time between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, driven mildly. That’s the difference. And, of course, Saab’s 4 is pretty agricultural in sound and feel . . . light years away from the BMW.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    I just spent a few days with an F30 328i as a loaner. It’s a nice car, but the E90 was definitely more involving to drive. I was also happy to get my 135i back – it feels like a Lotus Seven after a few days in the 3er. Funny, because the S2000 always feels like a Lotus Seven after a few days in the 1er, but didn’t feel extra go-kart like when driven back-to-back with the 328. Go figure.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    I miss the compact 6-cylinder engines we had in the late 90s, the kind were used in BMW 323i or Contour SVT. If BMW updated the 2.3L I6 engine with GDI and low presure turbo, the new “328i” could have had the same power and fuel efficiency as the I-4 328i, but with a lot more character.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      They weren’t very compact, to be honest. The 323i had a 2.5L which was a destroked version of the 2.8 & 3.0. Contour SVT was a destroked Taurus 3.0- many folks swap the blocks or internals from the Taurus to the SVT head + transmission.

      In any case I def prefer those motors to the soulless 2.0Ts. The off the line torque is great for a point A to B car, but hardly as nuanced or soulful as a naturally aspirated motor with a high cylinder count. Plus if we are going to turn gasoline engines into diesels, essentially, why not just go all the way and reap the benefits of diesel fuel? A 328d would probably be no less enjoyable than the 328i while getting significantly better gas mileage. The whole thing is pretty sad.

      • 0 avatar
        CelticPete

        You should look at the torque curves of the diesels and the gas engines.

        THe gas engines are better. The turbo diesels don’t make peak torque till 2500 instead of 1250 and they run out of steam nearly a 1000 rpm early and simply can’t rev high.

        Diesels just have a narrow band. Takes of their awesome torque are overrated. They have a peaky torque curve and a narrow power band.

        • 0 avatar

          Own a 330i E46, manual sport. Rented a 320d E90 in Germany (manual and Sport…sometimes God smiles). Yes, the gas car is better to “drive”…on mountain roads, twisty places, etc. The Diesel is better for most daily driver routines. In real world use I saw 225 kph on the autobahn and got over 35 mpg. If your fuel is $10 per gallon the diesel wins. The 320d is a spectacular car, which I regret I cannot buy here.

          The e90 is an e46 under odd clubbing clothes and with a bigger back seat (moved back 3 inches, and it makes all the difference). Having driven the 335d (m Sport) over here, I can report that the M3 is the best 3 ever (love that 8), followed by the 335d. The automatic short shifts but you still get 100 mph real quick.

          Drove the F30, 328 and 335 versions. Steering sucks, even in sport mode. Cannot be compared to the e90 M3, which they got very right, or the 335d (e90) with the M Sport. At all. Sad. The turbo four makes good power but lacks the silky feel of the 6.

          The ultimate damnation of the F30 comes from a guy I work with. He’s not a car guy, probably never got the e90 OR his F30 over 85 mph, ever. Lease on e90 is up. Gets F30. Wishes he could have had another e90, thought it a significantly better…and he’s the sort of Badge Buyer (Leather, Automatic, Premium Package) the B and B scoff at.

          The gadgets are nice, and the 335i has great motor, but the steering is video game-in all modes….I wish I could transplant them into my e46, but keep my “old school” steering. Oddly, changing profiles in the M3 really changed the car…not so much in the 335i.

          I’m currently dreaming of a nice Z3 with six and manual….

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        You really have no idea what you’re talking about, do you? Just because a modern 2.0T makes great low-end torque doesn’t mean it’s anything like a diesel engine. Sure, they both have that characteristic of fantastic low-end torque, but the similarities end there. Diesels have a very narrow powerband. On average, they rev to about 4000 RPM. And even though they make low-end torque, it doesn’t compare to the low-end torque of these 2.0T engines. A diesel engine’s torque comes on later and peaks sooner. It’s not a long, flat torque band like you find on the 2.0T engines. Not to even mention the differences in HP between a diesel and a 2.0T

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          If you think the gas engines are like diesels you..

          A – haven’t driven a diesel.
          B – haven’t pushed a new BMW/Audi.

          Diesels have a very narrow power band -realistically this means you have to wait for the power to come on – and then when its there you have short shift it to stay in that narrow power band. You have shift a lot because unlike the gas engine if you rev a diesel high it loses alot of power.

          Its not great and its not fun.. OTOH the gas engines are flexible. You can let the engine rev – and you are still pulling hard. Or if you upshift – you can still accelerate – you don’t get ‘screwed’ if you fall out of the narrow power band.

          This is why diesels don’t really accelerate that well. it’s all about the power under the curve..

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Exactly. I suspect he hasn’t driven any diesel vehicles lately (if at all) and he most certainly doesn’t have any seat time in a 2.0T car from BMW or Audi. Like I said in my comment above, the ONLY thing those engines have in common is great low-end torque. The similarities end there, however.

            It is ironic that a few of these guys sing the praises of high revs, yet the fail to understand that compared to a modern diesel, the Audi or BMW 2.0T is an extremely high-revving engine. Funny, isn’t it?

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    The difference between steering and feedback of old 328i and the new 328i is like difference between sex without condom and sex with condom.
    The feedback was the only reason not to buy much more reliable Lexus IS.

    • 0 avatar
      CelticPete

      I haven’t driven the new IS – but the old one was REALLY small in the drivers seat. If you are big guy – the German rides are almost always better. Also the 3 series looks better – especially in the coupe – something Lexus doesn’t even make.

  • avatar
    Chris FOM

    I’ve got the car the B&B despises: 2011 E90 335i with auto and pretty loaded (has everything but the heated seats and the M-sport package, has the regular sport package instead). About the only thing I did that they don’t disapprove of is I bought it used instead of new (much less lease), but even then I went CPO, so hold that against me too. And I love every second I spend in it, including the options. It’s a perfect do-everything car with no weaknesses. On the interstate when there’s no excitement to be found anyway, the upgraded sound system is worth every penny. Get stuck on a two-lane road doing 10 under on a warm but not hot day? Kill the A/C, open the sun roof and windows, and let in some air. And as soon as even the shortest dashed line appears it’ll pass without blinking. Hit an interchange and want to bomb the curve? It’ll take it at twice the recommended speed. I like the feel of the leather seats, I like the window shades in a Texas summer, hell I even like iDrive. And yes, the fact that it will go from any speed to any speed (up or down) at the speed of thought is pretty awesome. I’ve driven 328s as loaners, and I freely admit that’s a beautiful engine. It sounds better throughout the rev range and the lack of turbocharger means that it averages about 500-1000 RPM higher than mine does outside of holding a speed on a level road, but even with the turbo the N55 has a pretty fantastic sound, and the nearly endless torque/power from 1000 RPM all the way to the 7k redline is amazing.

    So yeah, take that as you will. I’m not a track rat, although I do intend to track it, but I do love the car, and even the options serve their purposes, especially at times when I can’t hoon it and want some creature comforts instead, which is far more often that I would like.

  • avatar
    carguy

    There is a typo in your headline – its supposed to read “two steps forward and three steps back”. Having owned every 3 series coupe since the E30 my current E92 will be my last unless they fix the current car’s problems: The steering is over-boosted and numb, the engine sounds like a diesel, the hood is too high, the interior too busy and the brakes are terrible.

    For anyone that want a real BMW, get a used E90/92, ditch the run-flat tires and enjoy what might be the last great drivers car from Munich.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    I’ve noticed that a growing number of youngish guys in my area (DC) who might otherwise be 328 buyers are driving Caddy ATSs. Has anyone else noticed a similar trend? It’s been causing me to wonder if Caddy’s attempts to attract that crowd are finally catching hold as the 3 Series loses some of its sporting appeal, or if I’m just taking special note of 20 through 40 somethings driving Caddys because its so incongruous with my normal expectations.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    The original BMW four, circa 2002, was a fabulous engine. The I6 is also fabulous, one of the best motors ever in my opinion. Having owned BMW’s and Audi’s, the fact is I will not go back to turbo-fours. Soulless, and positively frightening at 100K+ miles (sludge?), the six is just smoother and has such a nicer sound. Bought a 2011 128 specifically for the six (terrified that would implant a turbo-four in it soon), and am delighted. Buying advice: 2 years <20k miles gets you two years of warranty and avoids the first year depreciation hit. If you buy the low profile tires, replace the run flats with regular ones and make sure your insurance has towing coverage (cheap addition). Oddly enough the regular run flats on the 17" are ok, but the 18" hunt like the devil on the freeway. Good luck finding a six speed, they are nice, although more likely to have been beat up than the autos.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      That M10 engine in the 2002 goes way back to 1962, when it debuted in the 1500 (which saved the company at the time!). A good, enduring design it was, and done on a small budget, too.

  • avatar
    dartman

    In late 2009 I bought my wife a 328i with sport pkg, automatic, the only thing I really didn’t like about it were the Potenza run-flats; when they wore out at 20k miles I replaced them with standard Continental DWT All Season tires in the same size. The difference in ride, handling, acceleration and fuel mileage was very noticeable. Why? Because the Conti’s weighed almost 8 pounds less per each tire! Reducing the un-sprung weight transformed the car and keep in mind these were all season tires.


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