By on April 20, 2015

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I don’t think that my review of the M235xi rustled too many jimmies among the B&B — but it did cause one of our readers to sit up straight in his chair and say, “Hey, I want this idiot to drive my car, just to uphold the honor of the mighty Roundel.” Or something like that. So what we have here is a fully loaded, fifty-seven-thousand-dollar Bimmer 3er, ready to rip around my modest suburb and show off a few party tricks.

Let’s get started.

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Looks proper, doesn’t it? The visual… stubbiness that afflicts the 2-Series is absent here, mostly because this is a very large car by BMW standards prior to the turn of the century. Some of the details are really nice — look at the three-dimensionality of the chrome grille and the overt sporting nature of the bodykit. The front end is clearly drawn to comply with European pedestrian regulations, but you’d never mistake it for anything but a Pontiac Grand Am BMW and more importantly, neither will your neighbors.

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I’d praised the interior of the M235xi, but not all of you agreed that it looked like a fifty-grand car. Well, this one is better, and there’s a distinct improvement in the materials quality across the board compared to the Two. The lower-spec 335i that I drove for R&T’s Sweet Science test had a two-tone interior that did not stand up to direct comparison with the opulent confines of the Q50 or the Eighties-Nippon-chic of the Lexus IS350. In the funeral full black of this example, with just the metallic blue trim stripe to distract from what would otherwise be a completely monochromatic cockpit, things are somewhat improved.

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We start the test drive with me occupying the passenger seat so the owner — let’s call him Chip, because that’s a great name for a 3-Series owner — tells me about his career and his relationship with the BMW marque. He’s younger than I am and this is far from his first BMW. It also wasn’t his first choice; he picked it because four-door M3s weren’t thick on the showroom floors when he was shopping. His next car will be the twin-turbo M3 DCT that has managed to capture my respect, but not my affection. Chip shows off the various features of the car, including a frankly fascinating display mode that shows you what cameras mounted on both sides of the nose can see. This is beyond brilliant for urban environments where you often have to poke your car’s front end out past a bunch of double-parked Range Rovers and whatnot. Every Viper and Corvette should come with these cameras.

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When it’s my time to drive, Chip puts the car into Maximum Sport mode, or some approximation of it. Launched from a stop, this Three feels a little more spry than the Two. I’d guess that the broken-in motor makes enough power to account for the frankly minor weight difference between an RWD Three and an AWD Two. The same comments — rapid but not DCT-accurate shifting, a willingness to sit at redline in manual mode, relatively close ratios — that applied to this transmission in the smaller car apply here. It’s so lovely, however, to not have that moronic front axle interfering. I could come to like this car for the way it torques its way out of roundabouts and the near-seamless shift from second to third when you’re trying to hustle on back roads.

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If only I could love the way this big Bimmer corners — but I cannot. It’s balanced and predictable, about as close to neutral as you can have in a modern street car, but again you’re steering by eye and ear, not by feel. I’m willing to put up with this shit in a C5 Corvette, because in a C5 Corvette you can lay waste to a wide variety of drooling mooks at pretty much any open trackday, but in a car that (cue the furious comments) is barely any faster than my Accord, I’m not as forgiving. What I will say is this. Given the usual caveats, such as “you can’t really learn much about a car’s handling on the street”, I think this car out-handles the M235xi. I was able to get a few miles per hour more exit speed on a few different corners and the drama quotient was very low. You can get all four tires squealing in a long turn and the 335i is very well-behaved while you’re doing it.

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I know what you’re thinking. RWD car out-handles AWD car. Film at eleven, right? But it’s more than that. It’s the way the steering ratio works with the longer wheelbase, it’s the better driving position, it’s the way you can adjust the car a bit without worrying about when the front axle will take an interest in your shenanigans and what it will do when that interest appears. You don’t need to go to a racetrack to feel the difference. If you think you need the “X” version of a BMW, you should drive both and decide whether you can live with what the tacked-on FWD does to the car’s dynamic qualities.

Now let us turn our hymnals to page 2002, like the man said, and take a look at the $14,000 worth of options:

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The base car is $43,150. That’s a bit of a deal, actually; I paid that much for a 330i M-Sport back in 2001 and it was a hundred horsepower south of this car. Not, mind you, that I wouldn’t rather have that 330i and a solid punch to the throat over the modern F-whatever Bimmers. The M-Sport package is $3,200. Yeah, you want that. If you stopped right there, you’d have a hell of a car. Cold Weather Package is $950, and it’s hard to do without it here in Ohio. And it has heated rear seats too, just like a Hyundai Elantra! The Driver Assistance Package is $1,900 and I’m not sure it’s worth the money, even if it has BMW NoseView(tm). The Premium Package is $2,200. BMW has some nerve to charge that kind of money for stuff my Accord V6 has standard. The Technology Package is an eye-watering 3,100 for a nav system and Bluetooth audio. Come on, man!

The automatic transmission is $500.00. Chip got it so his wife could drive the car. The last few women I’ve dated have been motorcycle owners or stick-shift Jeep Wrangler drivers so I wouldn’t have to make that choice, thankfully. The side window shades, which are very nice for children, are $575.00.

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The M3’s base sticker is $62,925 or thereabouts, but remember that you don’t get all this stuff with a base M3. What Chip’s constructed here is a very rapid, very comfortable, very well-equipped luxury sedan. It’s basically an old 535i with a 335i badge, minus the Bangle-era flame surfacing and the brilliant steering. Costs like one, too. The current Five feels like a Seven, and the current Seven feels like a Wal-Mart version of the Rolls-Royce Ghost with which it shares mechanicals, so this is all just fine. You can think of it as the opposite of the downsizing the domestic manufacturers did thirty years ago. Remember how the LeBaron became the New Yorker, and the Le Mans became the Bonneville Model G? This is the same thing, in reverse.

Just as the hasty downsizing left big Parisienne-sized holes at the top of automaker lineups, BMW’s commitment to fatkini-friendly proportions has left a very conspicuous empty space in their showrooms. Something the size and weight of the E36, maybe. The M235xi ain’t it. The upcoming smaller BMWs will be FWD. It’s amazing, really; BMW doesn’t make a proper 3-Series any more. Yet their sales continue to grow. It would be like if Jeep just canned the Wrangler, or if Ford stopped making the F-150.

Driving Chip’s 335i, I kept thinking of my old 330i M-Sport. The moment I saw it in the dealership lot, I knew I’d pay whatever it took to put it in my driveway. I had raw desire for it, the kind of thing that shakes you by the scruff of your neck, the way you feel when a woman in the fast-food line ahead of you turns to give you her profile and it’s simply perfect and in that moment you fall for her, the needle and the damage done. I liked this Estoril Blue sedan but I didn’t have any desire for it. Just as soon have an A4, or a Cheap-class, or my Accord. Just don’t care. Fifty-seven grand is a lot of money to not really care — but if something about this car does call to you, I beg you, leave that front differential at the Dingolfing plant, okay?

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92 Comments on “Review: 2013 BMW 335i M-Sport Steptronic...”


  • avatar
    319583076

    Complains about numbness, bloat, and cost yet claims heated seats are a practical necessity for Ohio residents. Tell us, Jack, did your passionate 330 have a cold weather package?

    If you’re willing to pay $575 for window shades, how much can you really care about steering feel and handling? It seems like all BMW packages are really profit packages, and the people are buying.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      What does a cold weather package or window shades have to do with handling? Dont tell me you are one of those people who thinks option sheet purity = driving fun. This is a very silly post

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I did indeed, and I was happy to have it.

      My Boxster has heated seats, too.

      I get heated seats for the same reason Katt Williams got silk covers for his pillows.

      $575 for window shades is not a terrible idea, assuming that, like me and like Chip, you have six-year-olds who don’t need to be blasted by the sun in a state where tinting your windows is illegal. The alternative is to get $200 worth of stick-on window shades from Amazon and then you can’t roll down the back windows.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Well, as Barry Pepper said in the role of Dale Earnhardt, “You better tie a kerosene-soaked rag around your ankles to keep the ants from crawling up and eating your candy-a..”

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          I’ve won a NASA enduro driving by myself.

          I’ve raced BMX professionally after breaking my C2 spine.

          Most importantly, I’ve eaten an entire bag of “Grippo’s BBQ Chips” without any water handy.

          I AIN’T NO CANDY ASS YO

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      A spurious foot of length and four inches of width = bloat. Badly tuned EPS, fade-prone brakes, and Camry-ish suspension tuning = numbness.

      Heated seats and window shades have nothing to do with either, except that between the two of them they probably add about as much weight as a couple gallons of gas.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Hey you left out the extra cost paint color too on your itemizing of the sticker. That’s one of my personal pet peeves – manufactures, you are going to paint the car anyway, don’t tell me it costs you $1000 to do it on your assembly line.

    Oh you want a color other than some shade of silver, white, or black? That’s gonna cost you.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup, any color other than black is $$$$. Thanks guys. This is why all of the leasmobiles are silver. What are you, Honda ? (actually for the mass market, they’ve become Honda-if you don’t check the right boxes you get a really glossy German Accord) Even a guy I know who is the “new BMW” buyer mourns losing his e90 lease…his e90 and F30 are both “manager specials” with leather, premium, and automatic….in silver. Even Mr. Non Enthusiast, but successful and stylish, could tell between the fluid/electric steering and the blown 4/I-6.
      My two pet peeves. If you want a seat heater, it is a $1500 option, because the system makes you take leather seats. Only in the 320i can you heat mere Sensatec Vinyl. Or, in europe.

      The option sheet is to raise the car from the fake low price they can advert against the Japanese competition, to the real transaction price. We do get them cheap, compare to the prices overseas…..The Infiniti, or the Lexus, will give you the LOADED car for the same $. This is where Caddy fell over, trying to price nosebleed like BMW.

      As a 300k mile owner of an e46 330i MSport, I can say that every time I’ve driven a newer car, I find it to be “more power, better gadgets”. Once I got a decent bluetooth solution (Kinivo 450) to the aux in, it became “more power”, but that trades off “worse steering”.

      In short, I’d like a fresh e46, but not a new F30…not enough to sign a big note. It is kind of odd that the new one isn’t better.

      I think it all peaked at the e90 M3, which felt like my e46 with a smallblock.

      My next BMW will be a used e90 with the correct options, or maybe a Z3 with the six. I bought the e46 new, with a custom build sheet (cloth seats !), but don’t see myself doing this again for the current product.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “Yup, any color other than black is $$$$. Thanks guys. This is why all of the leasmobiles are silver”

        If I recall, non-metallic white, non-metallic black and non-metallic red are no-cost colours. Anything else costs money, and the pearl/tricoat stuff is even more still.

        Mind you, metallic anything is standard in a Mitsubishi Mirage, which you can get four of for the price of this car.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “Oh, sir wants the car in visible light, does he?”

      I loved that Top Gear news segment.

      “Audi will do this car in BLACK, SILVER, SILVER, OR BLACK.”

  • avatar
    vtecJustKickedInYo

    For 57k you could get an Audi S4 with the Torque Vectoring Sport Diff. Plus you can get a pulley upgrade on the supercharger and make over 400hp if you feel like voiding the warranty, which brings up the total cost to the same as the 335.

    • 0 avatar
      hotdog453

      Voiding the powertrain warranty on a 50k+ Audi sounds like a wonderful idea.

      • 0 avatar
        vtecJustKickedInYo

        It is. Its really impressive how much faster the 3.0T can be with a pulley than the B7 RS4.

        • 0 avatar
          hotdog453

          Yup; I had a flood-damaged (ie, no warranty) 2012 Audi S4 with the APR pulley/tune; it was much much better.

          But voiding the powertrain warranty on a new car, especially an Audi, is ballsy. And not really comparable against stock cars; the BMW owner could simply tune their 335i via Cobb and make more power too.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If voiding the warranty is an option you might as well get an old M3 sedan and a supercharger, which will probably come to about 45K when its all said and done and be a better driver’s car than the S4 or 335i.

      And the RS4 is slow because a heavy car with a low torque engine never works.

  • avatar
    hotdog453

    Today I learned: You can option a 335i up to 57k.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    “The front end is clearly drawn to comply with European passenger regulations”

    Pedestrian regulations?

    1. a person walking along a road or in a developed area.
    synonyms: walker, person on foot; foot traffic
    “accidents involving pedestrians”
    antonyms: driver
    adjective: pedestrian
    2. lacking inspiration or excitement; dull.

  • avatar
    John R

    Nice. This week on “The Emperor has No Clothes”…

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Extra points for “drooling mooks”

    Joey ‘Clams’ Scala: “We’re not payin’, because this guy, this guy’s a f****n’ mook.”
    Jimmy: “But I didn’t say nothin’.”
    Joey ‘Clams’ Scala: “And we don’t pay mooks.”
    Johnny Boy: “Mook, what’s a mook?”

  • avatar
    mitchw

    If not for Jack having written this review, there’s so no way I’d have read it. It’s hard to be an enthusiast about this generation of BMWs.(or much else)

  • avatar
    danio3834

    57k is in the territory of unjustifyable. There are countless better ways to spend that money on four wheels. Dat badge.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It really is a very nice car, but you can get most of the niceness if you’re less liberal with options.

      Mind you, the options are why this car costs what it does.

      I would again recommend a CPO late-model E90, though. You get just about everything that the F30 does, and someone else’s paid for the depreciation.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        And you also lose the very best years of the cars life, and getting to specify it the way YOU want it. Which actually means something on a BMW, as opposed to the “3 trim levels, no options” world of the Japanese and now VW. Do Euro Delivery, save a bit, and drive it in its native habitat as a bonus.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    I just dont understand the claim that the accord v6 is just as fast as the m235/335.

    C&D

    accord
    0-60 =5.6s
    0-100 =13.4s
    5-60 =6s
    1/4 mile [email protected]
    braking
    70-0 =186ft

    m235
    0-60 =4.3s
    0-100 =10.8s
    5-60 =5.1s
    1/4mile [email protected]
    braking
    70-0 =153ft

    ———

    The accord is quick, but how is it just as fast as the bmw’s?

    PS

    m235 while not light, is just 127lbs heavier then the accord, and thats with the auto.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      For the record, the Accord V-6 is about a second slower than the 335i sedan, which begs a question: what price does that second come at? A top of the line Accord EX-L with V6 and nav runs about $34,000. A similarly equipped 335 is in the mid-$50,000 range.

      And in this day and age, 5.6 seconds to 60 is PLENTY quick.

      Is it worth it? That’s the question I think Jack is asking.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      This is just a pushback from comments in the M235i piece…he has the last word because he CAN. Has nothing to do with reality.

      Yeah, a V6 Accord is about as fast as a 3-series…a four-cylinder 3-series, that is.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        I’ll meet you at Laguna Seca.

        I’ll bring an Accord.

        You bring any BMW you like.

        We’ll see which is faster.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Aw, don’t get mad.

          I’m pretty sure this guy’s M-Sport 335i would be faster than your Accord around Laguna Seca.

          It would be faster for a lap or two, and then it would be WAY faster, when the wonderful Honda brakes start smoking and fading and the all-season tires go away.

          Be serious.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            To be fair, the brakes on pretty much every production BMW without carbon-ceramics are extremely fade-prone, although Honda *does* set the standard in the industry for low thermal capacity.

            When I ran a Civic in Koni Challenge I spent 100% of the time with the pedal bouncing off the floor.

        • 0 avatar
          michal1980

          But which car would you be faster in?

          I’d probably be slower then you in just about anything.

    • 0 avatar
      Buford T. Justice

      The BMW is more fun too drive because they will sell you any 3 series (except the GT) with a manual transmission. Honda will sell you a manual Accord so long as you buy the shitty one.

      Try buying a manual Accord with a V6 or leather – not gonna happen. Where did the the Honda of the late 80’s go? I miss the 88-91 4WS Preludes that were so cool and affordable. Now they do a great job building reliable bland boring cars. Way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Yeah- 1.3 seconds slower to 60 mph.

      1.3/4.3 = .3, so the Accord take 30% more time to reach 60. That’s a lot!

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    So, how long after BMW loses guys like Jack before they totally lose the BMWness and the sales start slowing? I think they have gone mainstream, but can they keep demanding a premium?

    I’m still amazed Mercedes still sells so many cars. They are still luxurious, but the quality took a real dip ten years ago, and I’m not sure it’s really back.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Based on the new C-Class, I think that trend is reversing. It’s spectacular inside and out.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Based on the sales numbers coming out of BMW I feel that once they decided to abandon? the small enthusiast market their sales figures took off.

      RWD only? That is for us on this site. AWD allows them to compete with Subie, which in some/a lot of respects they do here where I live.

      I find the 57k appalling; as noted, the accord is 1 second slower. On the track, I get that is an eternity. Merging in to I 25 probably not. I would think that the Chevy SS is proof the enthusiast market is no longer. Now that it is offered with a MT, how is this not the reincarnation of the old 5 series? (Forgive me for not knowing the BMW nomenclature maybe those are a E732 or something) Does the SS not handle well? Legit question on my end not sarcasm, I just don’t know. They seem to be about the same size, offer all the Luxo barge amenities, what are the reasons we don’t see these cars in the hands of the enthusiasts out there?

      Back to BMW, despite their current trajectory of making cars the masses want, complete with the prestige of the badge, I doubt highly we will be seeing a drop in sales anytime soon.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        But does the prestige of the badge hold if the cars are no longer the ultimate driving machine?

        Companies tend to do what seems to be making them more money and forget their original value proposition. This works great until it doesn’t.

        One day Jack Baruth decides the latest BMW not only isn’t quite the car to him, but isn’t even the car for anyone who wants a driver’s car. Maybe a lot of us agree, then what happens? If BMW loses the plot, do the mainstream buyers stop ponying up the prestige price and walking away because part of the value is image to most buyers who really don’t appreciate the driving dynamics enough to pay a big premium. And, how many of them tried BMW because a friend who loves cars recommended it?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I want to believe that Mercedes is finally turning the ship around in regards to quality (CLA not withstanding). A E-Class wagon would make a perfect post-residency car for my dog-having, kid-wanting gf, I’d just never want to wrench on it.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    Rather pay a couple grand extra for a 4GC than drive something that manages to be both boring and ugly at the same time. Have they been taking cues from Acura??? At least Bangle made them look interesting.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    I test drove a 6 speed 335ix (F30 model) last summer and it felt like poop. While I realize it was heavier, the acceleration felt “meh” and both the ride and cockpit felt very non-sporty. It was less than the sum of its parts, and I passed on it.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I did the same thing with a final model year E90. Wasn’t AWD though. I thought it was inferior to the MKVII GTI I drove earlier that day, which didn’t steer as well as a 5 year-old Mazda3 to be worth the difference.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’m wondering how long BMW is going to listen to complaints about their electric steering (which every reviewer points out) before they fix it.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Car and Driver just had a preview drive of the new 7er, in which a BMW rep stated that it would be easy to improve the steering feel but that too many buyers complain if there is steering feel. Don’t expect any improvement anytime soon.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Electric steering? They still can’t get window regulators and door lock actuators to function properly past 75k miles.

      My family has owned BMW’s for 16 years. I’m likely on my final one. Their excuses pile up for this stuff, but none of them sound good to anyone but BMW and their super high quality dealers.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    Most importantly, what in the ever loving fkcu is up with that front license plate?! Just throw it in the trunk and put it in the front window if you ever have to park at a meter.
    Also, on a happy note, I spoke to a fellow at a MB dealer a few days ago and they noted that Ohio will soon banish the front plate.
    Front plates, pffft.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    And this sums up why a part of me still regrets giving up my e46 330i zhp – a sedan like that will never be made again and so that was probably my one opportunity to own what. I’ll never lust after what BMW makes today the way I did that e46.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      Why did you sell the E46 at the time? Hindsight is 20/20, but you had to have a reason back then.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @cognoscenti- I had decided to buy another car to be a more affordable and practical daily driver than the zhp and keep it as a second car. However, when I started accounting for the total cost to own the car (insurance, gas, the trade in offer from the dealer, the interest savings on the loan from a bigger down payment, a new license plate, etc), it was more (more than $6k over a six year period) than I can currently justify in the budget to spend on a toy car, especially when its daily driver replacement isn’t a slouch (Fiat Abarth). A part of me regrets it, but the other part knows it was the financially smarter decision.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I just don’t care about the F30. It evokes zero desire in me.

    I think the reason why is a combination of the rental-grade interior and the obvious tuning for luxury — those two things together make no sense. If I’m going to sacrifice sportiness for luxury, give me a C-Class with that beautiful interior. If I’m going to put up with a relatively plain interior, I’ll save some money and buy something like a Chevy SS or even… an Accord V6.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    “…automatic trans…chip got it so his wife could drive the car.”

    Sure he did.
    I hear this all the time. Just own up to it, you didn’t want the manual. Quit blaming the wife.

  • avatar
    Fred

    The real issue I have with all BMWs is the price. It does seem high compared to other cars of similar ilk. And if you don’t care about the badge, then yes even cars like humble Accords are pretty close and will save you a lot of money. I know maybe the price isn’t a big issue to leasers, but a cash buyer like me it’s something. Fortunately it’s high enough that I barely give any BMW a second thought.

  • avatar
    focal

    I’ve driven and owned a bunch of BMW’s over the years. We still have an older E46 330xi 6MT. Fabulous car with a great steering feel.

    When it came time to replace my E60 545i RWD 6MT, I actually knew the newer F30’s were bigger and softer. Handling was down and the electronic steering, a necessary evil of modern automobiles, was numbing the feel. My father’s F10 535i is horrible! I loved the increase in size of the new 3’s and the smoothness of the ride as a daily commuter.

    I planned this before delivery and factored in the cost of purchase of a F30 328i RWD 6MT. From the BMW parts department, the M Performance Suspension (~ $3000) and the M Performance Exhaust (~$1000). It definitely transforms the car’s handling. Along with using non run flat higher performance tires. These aren’t modifications that would scare most people. These are factory parts. Michelin Pilots are used on a few models in the BMW line.

    The rarity of my combination of car isn’t as easily known to most buyers nor are salesman pushing this configuration. It took some reading and planning.

    So if you are in Toronto and want to try it, happy to oblige a THIRD BMW review.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      And when my RWD, 6spd, non RFT shod M235i arrives, Jack is welcome to give the proper version of that car a go as well.

      BMW has always made cars from mild to wild, why he is hung up on “the Ultimate Driving machine” marketing BS is beyond me. They have also ALWAYS been massively more expensive than quite decent mainstream cars. Nothing new under the sun. And frankly, anyone complaining about BMW option pricing while owning TWO PORSCHES (and who spent $5K+ having a new S5 factory painted green – cool though it was) needs to be slapped upside the head. Porsche invented egregious options pricing, and licensed it to the rest of the Germans.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    As someone who has sold his two previous cars on Kijiji, I’d recognize those ‘MS Paint plates’ anywhere!

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Yup, BMW seems to be ‘missing’ a 3-series right now, but as you sy, they don’t seem to be loosing any sales (or sleep) over it. As for the bloat. The BMW hasn’t grown any more than any other European car over the years I think. If you compare a new Fusion to Sajeev’s Ford Sierra I think you would be surprised. The Sierra (Cosworth, XR4X4 versions at least) and BMW E30 ran head to head in the 80’s/early 90’s before Ford abandoned RWD in Europe, and I don’t think the Fusion and new BMW 3 series is comparable in any sort of way today. (they sure aren’t cross-shopped by many)
    As for looks, I prefer this generation over the previous, as that one looked really cheap in anything but M-trim.

  • avatar
    ccp

    I think what you’re looking for is the 228i w/ track handling package. And maybe the sport or m-sport line. The brakes are made by brembo. 3250 lbs for the 6 MT, 50/50 weight balance, dyno’d at 235 hp/255 lb-ft torque at the rear wheel. Get Jalopnik’s car and review that!

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I was thinking the same thing. Really any RWD 2-series should fill the role previously occupied by the E36 or E46. I’m not sure why that was ignored, since I thought Jack had driven it for the R&T PCOTY story.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @burgersandbeer and ccp – I can’t speak for JB, but as a former e46 owner and the son of a former e36 owner, I can think of a few reason the 2 series (and specifcally the 228i) would never be on my radar as a replacement for my car:

        1.) 2 door only.
        2.) EPS
        3.) 4 cylinder engine

        number 1 means the car has to face some very worthy competitors including the Infiniti Q60s, Ford Mustang, Subaru BRZ, and Hyundai Genesis Coupe, as opposed to a 4 door which would sit unopposed (the only reason to get a 335i is that it’s the only 6 cylinder rwd 4 door sedan available with manual transmission). Also, there are some people (like myself) for whom a 2 door coupe just won’t cut it as a daily driver.

        number 2 and 3 are why no matter how good the numbers and specs look, the driving experience will never equal what an e36 or e46 could deliver.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    If I spent this much on a 3-Series, I’d want it to come with a color matched Bluetooth earpiece.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Is that the biggest eyesore of a front license plate mount yet devised?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      With respect to the owner of this one, “Chip,” I have never seen another BMW here with the plate displayed in that location.

      It goes in the lowest grille, centered.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I can understand the desire to not block airflow to the giant heat-exchanger under the bumper(intercooler? A/C condenser?). I can’t understand the employment of useless pieces of dung that design cars without taking into consideration that the vast majority of them will wear front license plates.

  • avatar
    rjg

    Used to have an e46 325 with a manual and remember that same “gotta have it” feeling. Kept it for about 12 years because nothing else really called my name. Wife/baby forced me to consider larger/safer/newer/automatic family sedans and out of habit I checked out various 3 series. Nice, but didn’t inspire me at all. Interiors seemed cheaper in many ways too. Then again, I feel the same way about nearly every modern car. And the few that do pique my interest are way out of my price/practicality range.

    I’ll probably be laughed out of here for what I ended up with though: a 528. Overall I’m happy with it as I find it to be one of the few good looking midsize sedans, and have come to appreciate the huge trunk and amazing seats for long hauls to the inlaws. Liked the whiff of e39 in the interior design. For some reason, the steering feels a little better than in the 3 I drove too. Staying away from AWD probably helped. And BMW lease deals mean that this thing doesn’t cost much more than a nicely equipped family sedan- way less than any A4 much less A6. There were enough added niceties (to me) over an Accord/Fusion/Camry/Passat so I pulled the trigger. Not sure where I’ll go after my need for such a big car subsides— maybe a VW GTI. An e39 M5 or e90 M3 sometimes crosses my mind, but I just don’t have the patience for an older out of warranty German car

    One random observation on the A4 by the way: Despite having the same 8 speed auto, similar 2 liter turbo and weighing a bit less, it feels so much more lethargic than the 328 or 528. Seems like they program the transmission far less aggressively or something. Then again, the Audi gives you that “nice car” feeling in a way that the BMW doesn’t.

  • avatar

    Jack, I like your big brick house with the Porsche hanging out in the front.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    If you’re ever in the greater Atlanta area, Jack, you are welcome to ride with me up rt 129 in my 6-speed 335 rwd. I might even let you drive. The Steptronic is for suburban assholes named Chip.

    My last car (which I still have) is a ’91 Volvo 240 I bought in 2008 right before the Great Recession, so as you can imagine this is a big step up.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    “A lot of money to not really care” is how I feel about almost everything these days. Last time I changed cars I briefly considered new and that was how I felt about the Accord at around $23k, and that car is certainly a good value. I’m not sure there is anything out there that can compel me to commit to the payments, even at the less expensive end of the market.

  • avatar
    csross

    I bet the “Chip” guy is some kind of handsome dude with a baller job, attractive wife, and lives in a huge McMansion. To a dude like that, $57K on a car is not that much money… and he probably doesn’t drive an Accord because he can afford to pay the extra cash for something awesome. If I ever meet this “Chip” dude, I will congratulate him on having good taste.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    As a former zhp owner, I know exactly why I sold mine. Every non drivetrain related part was falling apart. I remember my justification to the wife at the time I bought it, a 330i zhp with an Active Autowerk supercharger is all the car I will ever need, I’ll never sell it…it was a great drive though, now it resides in Memphis.
    I replaced it with an uber rare (at least in KC) 2010 G37s sedan MT. Much better brakes, 95% of the steering feel and cooler tech type stuff I’m not really into. I miss this car dearly, but an injury forced me into automatic tranny car.

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