By on December 10, 2018

Has the crossover craze taken another victim? Or is it just simply a case of a rare body style not drawing sales?

It’s not like wagons (with some exceptions — ahem, Subaru) were selling like gangbusters before the current crossover trend took off.

Still, the BMW 3 Series wagon has garnered attention from enthusiasts in search of utility. But, alas, it appears that the next-generation 3 Series won’t be sold with a wagon variant, at least not in these United States.

(Read More…)

By on October 7, 2018

BMW has decided to take the polarizing 3 Series Gran Turismo behind the factory to be shot, ending its short and tragic life. Introduced in 2013, the GT hasn’t been the model’s most-coveted variant. Perhaps this explains why the German’s are so averse to taking design risks.

Defined as an “expanded take on the original sports sedan” by the automaker, the Grand Turismo is a higher-riding, long-wheelbase covert hatchback. But its uniqueness won’t carry over into the 3 Series’ next generation. BMW doesn’t see a need for it in today’s car climate and isn’t particularly worried about an uprising from its fans — which it believes will be happier in a crossover, anyway.  (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2018

Image: BMW

The car’s everything you’d expect a next-generation German sports sedan to be. Lighter, slipperier, more efficient, and slightly larger in footprint. Handling dynamics are reportedly improved — a requirement that, if missed, might necessitate the need for nationwide group therapy.

It still looks like a BMW 3 Series, too, as wary designers employed at German luxury marques aren’t known for their overt craziness, Chris Bangle notwithstanding. But tradition, while seemingly intact in this next-gen 3 Series, goes out the window the minute you search for transmission options. (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2018

Image: BMW

Undoubtedly, the BMW 3 Series, besides being the benchmark among premium sports sedans, holds the crown for having the most stereotyped drivers.

It doesn’t help that, while attempting to make my way across a city jam-packed with tornado-darkened intersections last weekend, a sedan failed to wait its turn at one of the impromptu four-way stops, nearly hitting me. The make and model of the gauntlet runner? A BMW 3 Series. I’d love to see a study on this phenomenon.

Anecdotal accounts of impatient drivers aside, BMW loyalists have a new 3 Series to look forward to, and they won’t have to wait long to see it. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2018

German cars in North America are not immediately associated with base, no-option models or economical motoring. But that didn’t stop Adam Tonge from suggesting today’s trio. Which vehicle gets the Buy when you’re shopping at the bottom of the German luxury barrel in 2002?

Ladies and gentlemen, select your strippers.

(Read More…)

By on June 18, 2018

1996 BMW 318ti in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe most affordable BMW in the United States, during the middle years of the E36 platform, was the 318ti. A four-cylinder hatchback, it sold for about two-thirds the price of a six-cylinder 328 sedan or coupe.

In 1996, buyers could get a version with a huge canvas-covered sunroof, known as the California Edition, and that’s what I have found in a Denver-area self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2017

2016 BMW 330e iPerformance - Image: BMWBMW intends to unveil an all-electric 3 Series at the Munich Auto Show in September, according to German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

Will BMW report the intake of hundreds of thousands of $1,000 deposits for an all-electric, next-generation BMW 3 Series? Probably not.

But which car are you more likely to purchase: a 3 Series EV from long-heralded BMW with roughly 250 miles of range, or the much-hyped, oft-discussed Model 3 from nascent Tesla, production of which should be in full swing by the time the 3 Series EV appears?

This may be the next Mustang vs. Camaro, a quasi Accord vs. Camry battle to end all Accord vs. Camry battles, an F-150 vs. Silverado skirmish without the 87 octane. (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2017

Chevrolet Corvette C7 convertible roof gif - Image: giphy

Intending to ask your advice before I actually made a purchase, I was left alone with no family to entertain me last Friday night and, well, something happened. To go along with our long-term 2015 Honda Odyssey EX, I exchanged a large sum of cash for a new vehicle.

Tell people what you’re going to name your baby, and they will tell you what they really think. Tell people what you named your baby, and they’re more likely to say, “Oh, how nice,” even if you named him Dwayne.

Similarly, tell people what car you’re planning to buy, and they’ll be forthright with their opinions. Tell them what you’ve already bought, and they’ll be more likely to say, “Oh, how nice,” even if you bought a Outlander.

So we’re going back in time to last Thursday. The automotive universe is littered with options. My choices are limitless. Major life changes have presented our family with new opportunities, but also new challenges. Regardless, it’s time to double the size of our fleet. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2017

2017 BMW 340i - Image: BMW USA

BMW isn’t known for revolutionary design changes, so it likely won’t be hard to pick the upcoming 3 Series and X3 crossover out of a crowd of domestic and Japanese competitors. Nor will the models’ powerplants see a complete overhaul.

One somewhat surprising claim, given recent events, is that both next-generation models will retain a diesel option in the United States — and a new one, at that. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2017

BMW CPO commercial Toyota Camry screenshot - Image: YouTube screenshot

Call them frenemies. BMW and Toyota are working together on a high-profile sports car project that will result in a long-awaited Supra successor and a replacement for the Z4. Two heads are better than one.

“The concept works, the platform can deliver and now we have two proud sets of engineers — one group German, one group Japanese — who are each fighting and arguing for the car they want,” BMW sales boss Ian Robertson said last year.

The fighting and arguing extends beyond the R&D facilities in Munich and Toyota City.

On a mission to exalt its 3 Series in a certified pre-owned commercial, BMW sought to make fun of a typically bland midsize sedan. 2001 Chevrolet Malibu? 2006 Kia Optima? 2017 Subaru Legacy?

No. BMW chose the most basic, beige, new Toyota Camry to make a point on behalf of a bright red pre-owned 3 Series.

Hardly the work of a BFF. (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2017

2017 BMW 340i manual shifter – Image: BMW USA

The manual transmission isn’t dead. But it appears to be dying. Now Munich is making sure everybody knows BMW has a hand in the demise of the third pedal.

At the traditional core of BMW’s U.S. lineup, the manual transmission 7 Series disappeared three decades ago. So foreign is a manual shifter to buyers in the full-size luxury limo category, this seems entirely natural.

M models aside, the U.S. market lost BMW 5 Series manual transmission availability after the 2014 model year.

What’s next?

“Across the world, virtually all of our 3 Series models and above already have automatic transmissions,” BMW sales boss Ian Robertson tells Car And Driver.

“We will certainly see fewer and fewer manual transmissions being offered,” says Robertson.

Ultimate Driving Machine? (Read More…)

By on September 29, 2016

BMW Concept X2

It looks like BMW isn’t interested in slotting a slightly larger crossover above the X1 that resembles both it and the larger X3.

The automaker’s Concept X2, unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, is a departure from the brand’s existing utility lineup, with styling designed to appeal to a sportier buying demographic.  (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2016

1986 BMW 325 in California junkyard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I have been doing this series at TTAC since way back in 2010. Before that, I shot junkyard cars for Jalopnik, starting with this ’60 Corvair in 2007, and these days I also do Junkyard Gems on Autoblog and Junkyard Treasures for Autoweek. In my files, I have photographs of 1,157 junkyard vehicles. Yes, I am King of Junkyard Automotive Writing! And yet, in all that time, I have never written about a discarded BMW E30 … until now.

Yes, E30 fans, that day has arrived!
(Read More…)

By on June 20, 2016

2016 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon

Why? Surely you jest.

Why is an automobile manufacturer’s U.S. arm killing off its lone remaining wagon? You don’t need to ask, for the answer lies therein: it’s a wagon. So they’re done with it. Insert the proverbial duh.

A report on BimmerFile.com, sourced both anonymously and from prolific BMW forum user Scott26, says the current BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon will be the last iteration of the car imported by BMW USA. (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2016

2016 BMW 340i Exterior Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

The BMW 3 Series has been the benchmark to which all manner of vehicles are measured. The comparisons go beyond the likes of the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo S60, and include BMW M3 vs Chevy Camaro and BMW 328d vs Toyota Prius. It seems that every car company in America makes at least one “3-Series fighter.” But there’s a problem with your largest volume product being put on this kind of pedestal: die-hard fans hate change.

Enthusiasts claim that BMW ruined the 3 Series when they redesigned it in 2012. The “F30” sedan got bigger, fatter, softer, and more gadget-filled than ever before. BMW fanbois cried in their gemüsesuppe, Road & Track called it an “also ran” and … BMW laughed all the way to the bank.

For 2016 the 3-Series gets a facelift, new engines and a redesigned suspension. What isn’t changed, however, is BMW’s new direction. And that’s a good thing in my book.

(Read More…)

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