The commenter known as Economist writes:
I, like you, am a committed family man with two small children. Both of them are in car seats. I currently drive a 2007 Acura TL, but I miss the small cars of my youth.
I dream of getting a Miata like I used to have years ago, but I don’t know if I will get enough utility from it to make it worth the expense. I was also considering an S2000 or an older Corvette.
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.
The 3 series has been the benchmark to which all manner of vehicles are measured. The comparisons go beyond the likes of the A4, C-Class and S60 and include things like M3 vs Camaro, 328i vs Prius. There’s a problem with your largest volume product being put on this kind of pedestal: how do you redesign it? Carefully, mildly, infrequently and only when absolutely required. With increased competition from the Audi A4, a redesigned S60 and Caddy’s new ATS, can BMW afford the same formula again? Michael Karesh got his hands on a 328i back in March, while I spent a week testing the 328i in its natural habitat: the California freeway. (Oh, and we spent some time on Lagua Seca as well.)
Last month we reviewed the 2012 BMW 328i and found it less than ultimate as driving machines go. But the reviewed car was a “Luxury Line” sedan with an automatic transmission. For driving enthusiasts, BMW offers the new F30 with different options, among them a larger engine, a six-speed manual transmission, a “Sport Line” trim level, adaptive dampers, and staggered 19-inch summer tires. Check all of these boxes, and the next M3 might seem superfluous. Or not.