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BMW 3-Series (F30) First Drives/Tests Thread

Discussion in '3 Series' started by Merc1, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Merc1

    Merc1 Well-Known Member Contributing Member

    • Like Like x 2
  2. mini_cooper4

    mini_cooper4 Well-Known Member

    Looks great in this corner :)
     
  3. -=Hot|Ice=-

    -=Hot|Ice=- Well-Known Member

    That front end has to grow on me. Sounds mean though.
     
  4. Merc1

    Merc1 Well-Known Member Contributing Member

    Automobile Magazine - First Drive: 2012 BMW 328i

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    The Specs
    2012 BMW 328i
    Base price: $36,000 (estimated)
    On sale: February 2012

    Body style: 4-door sedan
    Accommodation: 5-passenger
    Construction: Steel unibody

    Powertrain
    Engine: 16-valve DOHC I-4 turbo
    Displacement: 2.0 liters (122 cu in)
    Power: 240 hp @ 5000 rpm
    Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 1250–4800 rpm
    Transmission: 8-speed automatic
    Drive: Rear-wheel
    Fuel economy: 23/34 mpg (city/highway, estimated)

    Chassis
    Steering: Electrically assisted rack and pinion
    Turning circle: 37.1 ft
    Suspension, front: damper struts, coil springs
    Suspension, rear: multi-link, coil springs
    Brakes: Ventilated discs, ABS
    Wheels: 19-inch aluminum alloy
    Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S001
    Tire size, front: 225/40R-19
    Tire size, rear: 255/35R-19

    Measurements
    L x W x H: 182.5 x 71.3 x 56.3 in
    Wheelbase: 110.6 in
    Track F/R: 60.3/61.9 in
    Headroom F/R: 40.3/37.7 in
    Legroom F/R: 42.0/35.1 in
    Cargo capacity: 13 cu ft
    Weight: 3406 lb
    Fuel capacity: 15.6 gal



    2012 BMW 328i - First Drive - Automobile Magazine


    M
     
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  5. Merc1

    Merc1 Well-Known Member Contributing Member

    Car and Driver - First Drive: 2012 BMW 328i Sedan

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    Are you ready for a BMW 3-series capable of automatic hands-off parallel parking? A Bimmer smart enough to teach you hypermiling, one equipped with enough onboard cameras to scout locations for Warner Brothers? Welcome to the 2012 328i, BMW’s stab at charming the More Generation.

    Test-driving the new 3-series this week in Spain revealed a shuffle of BMW’s priority deck. The current E90 3-series earned its respect and compact-sports-sedan supremacy with a double dose of driving fun backed up by laudable performance credentials. With the sixth-generation 3-series, BMW is reaching beyond mere dynamic attributes to stir comfort, convenience, and far higher efficiency into the mix. To appeal to those demanding everything from their daily driver—that “we deserve more” crowd—the new F30 is slightly larger inside and out and loaded with features hard-core drivers—the “we love our BMWs” set—never imagined.

    The fifth-gen 3-series greeted its driver with a secret handshake: high-effort steering that bends the car smartly into every corner with total authority over body motion. The 2012 edition that arrives in February says “Have a nice day” with normal steering effort and a ride that glosses over pavement flaws the way cream cheese fills bagel crevices. Impact harshness is significantly reduced. But with more rubber between you and the road, the cornering response isn’t quite as crisp and hints of roll, heave, and pitch occasionally fluster the equilibrium. Adjusted to its most aggressive setting, the F30’s optional adaptive suspension provides less body control than outgoing E90 models.

    Six Becomes Four (But There’s Still a Six, Too)

    For almost 20 years, the 3-series faithful have enjoyed the spellbinding whir of inline-six engines that were seemingly sent from on high. While the 335i carries on with a single-turbo 3.0-liter six pumping out a handy 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, there’s a new kid on the engine block with a point to prove. BMW’s new N20 2.0-liter four-cylinder powering the 328i sounds like a throwback to simpler times but that impression vanishes the first time its twin-scroll turbo pumps up 18.9 psi of boost and output swells to 240 horsepower at 5000 rpm. What this engine lacks in cylinder-count prestige, it more than makes up for with what may be a world record for vigor per cubic centimeter.

    Teamed with a ZF eight-speed automatic (the only powertrain combo available for driving on our trip to Barcelona), the N20 purrs while cruising, then snaps to attention when the throttle is pressed. By 2000 rpm, it’s already high on torque; by 4000, it’s growling like a baby grizzly roused from hibernation; and by 6000 rpm, it’s threatening to rip a hole through the 7000-rpm (redline) ceiling. Thanks to balance shafts and a dual-mass flywheel, this engine never gets the shakes or stammers and it’s as genteel as a six when soft pedaled. A two-mode muffler corks the din during cruising, and then releases a rousing howl to accompany the stampede. While EPA ratings aren’t final, we’re expecting that the 328i’s highway mileage will reach the high 30s with the eight-speed automatic and that the combined rating might also crack the 30-mpg barrier. Those who pick the six-speed manual transmission will have to bear the loss of a couple of miles per gallon.

    BMW claims the new four-cylinder is nearly as quick on its feet as the outgoing naturally aspirated six. That means a 0-to-60-mph run of about 5.7 seconds with the stick shift and 5.9 with the automatic. BMW rates the 335i’s 0–60 capability at 5.4 seconds with either gearbox.

    Stiffer Structure, Duller Responses

    This alacrity is partially due to the fact that BMW engineers avoided piling on weight in spite of the 2.0-inch wheelbase stretch and the 3.7-inch gain in overall length. To counteract the negative influence of more suspension rubber, the fully steel unibody’s torsional stiffness is a commendable 30-percent higher. While the suspension systems are carry-over in design—struts in front, multilink in back—every component has been fiddled with in some way to suit the new mission.

    In addition to the slightly duller turn-in agility, we detected a brake pedal that’s a touch softer underfoot. Quicker stops require a mix of pedal pressure and travel in contrast to the mainly pressure-sensitive response provided by the E90’s setup. The 335i upgrades the 328i’s floating front brake calipers to more-rigid fixed four-piston calipers, which may erase this gripe.

    Two power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering systems are offered. Base equipment is the speed-sensitive Servotronic arrangement that’s been available in the 3-series for ages. Replacing the evil Active Steering option, which had the bad habit of changing its ratio at precisely the wrong moment, there’s a new Variable Sports Steering option. Using rack teeth cut at different helix angles, this gear provides a ratio of 14.5:1 on center for poised straight-line stability and control, with a quicker 11.1:1 ratio at the extremes of steering lock to expedite parking maneuvers. An electric motor connected to the rack through a toothed rubber belt provides power assist proportional to both vehicle speed and the tempo of the driver’s steering commands. Variable Sports Steering trims the Servotronic’s 2.7 turns lock-to-lock down to a more wieldy 2.2 turns. Steering feedback is comparable to the outgoing 3-series in spite of the noticeable reduction in effort. The new steering system’s quicker ratios compensate nicely for the loss of response that—at least theoretically—accompanies any wheelbase increase.

    Full Story: 2012 BMW 328i Sedan - First Drive Review - Car Reviews - Car and Driver


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  6. Giannis

    Giannis Global Moderator / Editor Staff Member

    AutoExpress: New BMW 3 Series

    We get behind the wheel of the all-new BMW 3 Series ahead of its launch in February 2012

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    Three really is the magic number for BMW. Ever since the first 3 Series made its debut in 1975, the sporty saloon has set the standard in the compact executive sector. It’s also the brand’s biggest money spinner, making up nearly a third of all BMW sales globally. So an all-new version is big news.

    Dubbed the F30 by insiders, the sixth-generation 3 Series promises to be bigger, faster and more efficient than its predecessor. What’s more, it boasts powerful new engines, lightweight aluminium construction and a whole host of hi-tech extras.

    But has BMW done enough to keep the 3 Series ahead of arch-rivals such as the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class? To find out, Auto Express grabbed the keys to what is expected to be the biggest seller in the line-up, the 320d, to deliver the definitive verdict on one of the most important new cars of 2012.

    What’s immediately clear is that the brand hasn’t taken any risks with the styling. Viewed in profile, the handsome newcomer could easily be confused with its successful predecessor. There’s the same low slung nose, upright windscreen and trademark kink in the C-Pillar.

    Yet move around to the front of the 3 Series and you’ll spot the bold new headlamps that flank the traditional kidney grille, while the rear of the car clearly takes its cues from the larger 5 Series.

    Our Modern trim test car also gets a unique front bumper design and plenty of matt chrome trim. Further classy kerb appeal comes courtesy of the standard 17-inch, multi-spoke alloy wheels.

    Inside, the 3 Series feels more upmarket than ever. The slickly designed dashboard is angled around the driver, while all the controls are perfectly sited. Better still, a wide range of wheel and seat adjustment makes it easy to get comfortable.

    As you’d expect, the fit and finish are first rate and the switchgear operates with slick precision. High quality materials are used throughout, helping to give the cabin an executive feel. Yet we’re not convinced about the heavily textured wood trim that’s standard on Modern guise models - lesser models get more tasteful finishes.

    Still, you’ll happily overlook this quirk when you experience the extra space on offer. The previous 3 Series suffered from a cramped cabin, but a 50mm increase in wheelbase means passengers in the back get a useful 15mm boost in legroom, plus there’s also 8mm more headroom. And while it’s no roomier than an A4 or C-Class, it is at least now up to class standards, as is the 480-litre boot.

    Surprisingly for a BMW, there’s plenty of kit included as standard. All models get a 6.5-inch colour screen for the intuitive iDrive system, Bluetooth phone connection and climate control. Yet it’s still possible to go overboard with options.

    Our car was fitted with mobile internet, surround view parking cameras and heated rear seats, as well as big car kit such as lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and a full colour head-up display. However, all of these improvements and additions will be for nothing if the 3 Series isn’t as engaging to drive as its class-leading predecessor.

    Under the bonnet is BMW’s familiar twin turbo 181bhp 2.0-litre diesel unit, which is a smooth, refined and punchy performer. Extensive use of aluminium in the car’s structure means it weighs around 40kg less than the old model, which helps it feel even more sprightly and further boosts efficiency - the 320d sprints from 0-62mph in just 7.5 seconds, but emits only 119g/km of CO2 and will return 61.4mpg.

    Buyers can now also choose the firm’s excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox - a six-speed manual is standard. At £1,525 it’s not cheap, but it provides seamless shifts and lowers the CO2 emissions by a further 2g/km. Spend another £135 and you can add the Sport function, which speeds up the gear changes and adds crisp acting wheel-mounted paddles.

    Turn into a corner and it’s clear the 3 Series has lost none of its poise and precision. With a perfectly balanced rear-wheel-drive chassis, strong grip, well-weighted controls and direct steering, it’s still the top choice for keen drivers.

    Adding to the car’s appeal is the Drive Performance Control (DPC). Already seen in the new 1 Series, it offers EcoPro, Comfort and Sport modes – the former tweaks the engine settings for greater fuel efficiency, while the latter sharpens the throttle response and adds weight to the steering.

    Our car also benefitted from the £750 M Sport adaptive damper package. This impressive piece of kit adds an even racier Sport+ mode to the DPC system that stiffens the suspension, virtually eliminating roll and further improving body control.

    But it’s the change to the Comfort setting that is most welcome, as it allows the 3 Series to glide serenely over poor surfaces, with only big potholes and bumps upsetting its composure. Combined with the marked improvements to the 3 Series’s refinement and noise insulation, it makes the BMW one of the most relaxed and comfortable cruisers in the class. However, it's worth noting that experience with the similar system on the 5 Series suggests that standard cars are likely to have a firmer riding set-up.

    Even so, even this issue fails to undermine the achievements of the new 3 Series. Its predecessor was still setting the class benchmark after six years in production, yet the newcomer improves on the old car in virtually every area.

    On this showing it's going to take something very special indeed to knock the BMW off the top step of the podium. The best just got better.

    For more photos and a video, click: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/firstdrives/275347/new_bmw_3_series.html
     
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  7. Just_me

    Just_me Well-Known Member

    Autocar

    Autocar


    What is it?
    What’s most encouraging of all about this new, sixth-generation BMW 3-series is that, despite its very obvious eco credentials and its numerous technical innovations – which range from a dizzying new eight-speed, paddle-shift gearbox to an intriguing new ‘Eco Pro’ driver control system – it’s still just a good-looking saloon that drives rather beautifully at heart.
    To the naked eye the new saloon may seem like business as usual, featuring a slick and elegant new style that looks both familiar yet more thrusting, all at the same, but beneath its new suit the F90 3-series is dazzlingly different from and, says BMW, infinitely superior to the car it replaces in every single area you can imagine. It’s more comfortable and more capable dynamically than before; better at pretty much everything it does, in other words.

    In its entirety, the new range will span from the entry-level 316d at £24,880 to the 335i Luxury at £37,025. Later next year will come an even more of-the-moment Hybrid Active 3 model touting 335bhp/46mpg, and beyond that will follow a four wheel-drive model plus the usual estate, convertible and various M versions.
    What’s it like?

    I drove both the 320d and 328i at the launch, both of which were only available in Sport trim with the new paddle-shift gearbox and top-spec chassis and steering systems fitted (optional adaptive dampers and sport specification servotronic steering, in other words, all of which combined with the gearbox would add just under £6k to the price).
    The first thing you become aware of when driving either car is that there’s an incredible lack of inertia when on the move. The new 3-series feels quite amazingly light on its feet, the 328i especially, and to begin with this can make it seem ever so slightly insubstantial as a result.
    The steering of the 328i is so light and fingertip easy, the accelerator so delicate underfoot, the gearbox so smooth in its machinations, you almost feel like a passenger in the car as it wafts gracefully from one destination to the next. The four cylinder engine purrs gently in its low to mid ranges, providing more thrust that you thought possible from such a small petrol engine when installed in a car as big, relatively speaking, as this.

    Select Sport and it instantly feels even more alive, not just beneath your backside and feet but at the tips of your fingers as well. And if you’re feeling truly in the mood there’s a Sport+ setting available in this model as well, which brings yet crisper responses from the steering, gearbox and throttle, and turns the traction control to a fruitier setting for good measure.
    It sounds an awful lot more complex and, no doubt, rather less intuitive than might be deemed desirable in a car that was once praised for its purity of purpose – but in practice it’s nothing of the sort. After half an hour, most drivers will be well used to what does what; and after half a day they’ll be amazed by the ability to fine tune the car into whatever mood, or whatever road, they mind find themselves on.
    The next day I drove the pick-of-the-range 320d and found it to be more of the same but better than the 328i, if anything, where it counts. It’ll also be BMW’s better-selling model, especially in the UK.
    It may not be as fast on paper – with a 0-62mph time of 7.6sec versus 5.9sec – but unless you’re really going for it in the 328i, the 320d feels the brawnier of the two on the road.
    It has even more low to mid-range punch, emits a similarly unentertaining noise and to all other intents and purposes feels like the same car. Same fantastic range of chassis set-ups, same light but lovely steering, same superb optional eight-speed gearbox; same ability to switch from smooth motorway cruiser to crisp B-road bruiser, and pretty much anything in between, all at the flick of a button. Oh yes, except the 320d will do 64mpg on the combined cycle and has a range of over 800 miles.

    Should I buy one?
    If Superman drove a car, in fact, he’d probably drive a new BMW 320d. And the rest of us would be more than happy with any other member of the range. Because be in no doubt, a new world leader has arrived – and it may take a while for the others to catch up.

    BMW 3 Series 320d - Road Test First Drive - Autocar.co.uk
     
  8. Just_me

    Just_me Well-Known Member

    Edmunds Insideline

    Still a Proper Sport Sedan
    The chassis is easily the highlight of the car, and that's partly because of the damper control system, but mostly because the car is 88 pounds lighter, has a longer wheelbase and runs a 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution. It steals what is already an impressive show by being so nimble and light on its feet that it feels like a featherweight when you want it to dance. It's a chassis that overachieves, one that might have been saved up for the next Z4, but here it is beneath BMW's stock in trade.

    Arrive at a corner carrying far too much corner speed and the 2012 BMW 328i's steering lightens for a moment to tell you it's understeering. From there it waits for the tires to scrub off enough speed and then coyly sneaks in toward the apex. It's the same trick when the back end starts to slide as the 328i breaks free so diplomatically that you think the proactive steering input is your reactive idea. From there it just straightens up and drives hard out of the corner.

    It carries far more midcorner grip than we thought possible on saturated Spanish roads. The 328i charmed with brilliant balance, being stupidly adjustable midcorner and refusing to be anything but hugely progressive and unrelentingly forgiving of errors or ham-fistedness. Whether you favor the chip-chip-chipper style or you're a one-turn-in-one-turn-out guy, it works either way.

    As with the rest of the chassis, the brakes are tremendously strong and adjustable midcorner. The pedal position never moved in four hours of hard mountain driving, either. The steering is, in this return to absolute driving fun, not brilliant. Well, it's not bad, it's just not quite at the standards of the rest of the car and is damned by the comparison.

    2012 BMW 328i First Drive
     
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  9. Human

    Human You. The Road. Nothing else. Premium Member

    It feels light on it's feet, has brilliant balance and the steering is, in this return to absolute driving fun!

    THE BOSS IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    :bowdown:
     
  10. Centurion

    Centurion Well-Known Member Contributing Member

    Very encouraging word so far. Good to hear that the 3-Series still behaves like a 3-Series. It's a good step up by BMW in fending off Audi's rapid advancement in driving pleasure.
     
  11. Deckhook

    Deckhook Banned

    No more needs to be said.

    RESPECT. :bowdown:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Deckhook

    Deckhook Banned

    Nothing can be done with the current model of A4 or C-class but the exciting thing is that they know exactly what their next cars now need to beat.

    Fans of both brands will reap the benefits of BMW's fine work.
     
  13. K-A

    K-A Banned

    Wow, after all the criticism with BMW's new offerings all losing the plot, BMW nips it in the bud and ensures that they did not lose the plot with the 3-Series. I like luxurious heavy barges, but I want BMW to stay as BMW!
     
  14. Ultimate Car Guy

    Ultimate Car Guy Well-Known Member

    • Like Like x 2
  15. klier

    klier Member

    That's what you want to read. And because you are as negative towards BMW as one can be, you actually thnk it's true too.
    So because of that, it's pointless to even discuss it with you. My advise: post a bit more on the MB section, and leave the BMW one for what it is. Just look at Nicks, he's the biggest MB fanboy there is (he has all the right), but he doesn't spam the BMW section with constant negativity.

    And your 'wow' part is particularly funny. As if i's surprising the BMW 3 does well. LOL.
     
  16. K-A

    K-A Banned

    A blinded fanboy would never see or hear all the criticism BMW's had toward it's driving dynamics with recent offerings, so I guess you can't help it. ;)
     
  17. klier

    klier Member

    The only blinded fanboy here is you. And reading your negativity time and again bothers me.

    Like I said in the other thread, the competition needs a facelift of it's NEXT model to catch up again. Hah :D
    BMW sets a new standard in the entry luxury (3er), MB sets a new standard in upper luxury (S/SL)
     
  18. K-A

    K-A Banned

    Not my problem that the truth bothers you.
     
  19. Just_me

    Just_me Well-Known Member

    Guys, lets not ruin this thread with silly arguments.

    Clearly , the new 3er is better than ever and that is good news.
     
  20. klier

    klier Member

    Only half is silly, and it's not my half :)

    Anyways, yeah. Lets not ruin it. I'll wait for the next shallow first drive.
     
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