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Old 02-18-2012, 08:20 AM
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lbjgh lbjgh is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: North of Toronto
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 710
Mein Auto: 2013 X3 M-Sport
I'd talk to your dealer... it appears some markets get earlier production runs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtc100 View Post
Can we order the N20 X3 now?
This is an extract from a MT review of the 3 series with the N20

Quote:
I'll admit it: I didn't like the idea of a turbo-four in a BMW 3 Series. I know it has precedence and all that, but as someone who used to have a poster of an E46 M3 on my wall, to me the inline-six has always been synonymous with the 3 Series. And having driven the X1 with both the four and the six, I didn't think the four-cylinder engine was right for the 3 Series.

I was wrong.

BMW's inline-six is a fantastic engine, and part of what makes it fantastic is its ability -- nay, desire -- to rev to the moon. Wring one out and it will sing to redline and keep right on pulling until you hit the fuel cutoff and have no choice but to shift, even if it seems like the engine could just keep going. The new N20 four-cylinder doesn't do that. In fact, it pretty much falls flat around 6000 rpm, neither gaining or losing power on the rest of the climb to its 7000 rpm redline. To a purist, that's heresy.

Except that it's not. It doesn't ruin the 3 Series. In fact, the new 328i is a blast to drive in any trim, not just Sport. Lest you think that loping off two cylinders has neutered the 3, consider the numbers. Our eight-speed automatic-equipped tester blew through 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and ran down the quarter-mile in 14.2 seconds at 97.8 mph. BMW claims the turbo-four-powered 328i is actually quicker to 60 mph than the infallible E36 M3, which BMW pegs at a slow-by-today's-standards 6 seconds flat. For the record, the last E36 M3 we tested actually hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, but that doesn't make the new 328i any less impressive. What's more, the 328i actually pulls slightly higher g's around the skidpad than the E36 M3 at 0.90 g and 0.89 g, respectively. Not bad for the new entry-level car.

The 328i does other things the E36 M3 can't. For example, the 328i is rated at a seriously impressive 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. Cruising on the highway at 75-80 mph for 300 miles, our tester returned 30.6 mpg. On a hard-driving, canyon-carving, 150-mile test loop, it managed 16.8 mpg. Now take a look at the E36's numbers: 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway per the EPA, which you know would be out of reach for us lead-footed journalists. Check out the 2011 328i and you'll see it's only rated for 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. And it makes less power. Any way you cut it, this new 328i is some car.

What the numbers don't tell you is just how good it is to drive. There are more than a few cars out there that put down big numbers but aren't all that great to drive. The 328i achieves both. The new electro-hydraulic power steering system reduces vibrations in the wheel and with it some feedback, but still transmits more road information than most cars on the road today. Turn in, and the 328i leans on its optional electronically variable dampers and independent suspension just as you would expect it to. It doesn't flop over or roll in -- it just leans smoothly and quickly, planting its tires on the ground and delivering almost perfectly neutral handling. Really, you'd have to be either the world's worst driver or intentionally trying to upset the chassis to get this car out of sorts. Even with all the nannies fully off, it gives up just a bit of progressive understeer or oversteer, but nothing wild or unexpected. That certainly isn't due to a lack of power, because as we've established, this car has plenty of it and will happily roast the rear tires if you want.

Want to know the real kicker? Don't tell BMW, but the 328i is better than the 335i. I lapped both at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during BMW's launch event. We brought both home to test (you'll be seeing the 335i First Test soon), and we all agree. Yes, the 335i is a lot faster thanks to that turbo-six, but the 328i is the better car to drive. The four-cylinder car is 50 pounds lighter in the nose and the engine sits behind the front axle, making for a superb weight balance that the big-engine car just can't match. On the track and on the road, the 335i feels a bit more nose-heavy and a bit looser out back, with the rear end wanting to step out in turns, whereas the 328i is perfectly planted throughout. Sure, the 328i doesn't have the top end speed of the 335i, but it's more rewarding to drive fast. What's more, BMW's own driving instructors at the track confided that the lap times were nearly identical, with the 335i faster on the straights and the 328i faster through the corners.

Then there's the little stuff. The seats are a wonderful combination of comfort and sport. The extra space in both rows, courtesy of the wheelbase stretch, is noticeable and appreciated. The new dash is a fair sight better-looking, and even the base iDrive system sans nav looks like a little flatscreen TV on your dash. The iDrive system continues to improve and now has the ability to read your Facebook and Twitter feeds aloud and even send pre-written tweets and posts while driving. The steering wheel has gone on a bit of a diet and is a more pleasing size, not as chunky and oversized. The full-color head-up display is handy and appreciably hi-res. The car even has a proper hand brake.


Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...#ixzz1mkctd0SV
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