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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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Old 03-23-2012, 05:22 AM
PsychDoc1 PsychDoc1 is offline
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Motor Trend: F30 Absolutely Annihilates Every Potential Competitor

I point this out just because the F10 is a scaled up version of the F30. I can't ever recall reading such unabashed praise for a car.




>>>Sporty Luxury Sedan Comparison

The More Things Change: Eight Contenders Vie For Sport Sedan Supremacy


From the May, 2012 issue of Motor Trend

By Motor Trend Staff

| Photos Julia LaPalme

Illustrator: Paul Laguette



In the car world, a new BMW 3 Series is a big deal. BMW created the small sport sedan class in 1975 with the original E21 3, and even before that with the iconic 2002. Along with the Mercedes-Benz 190E, the segment really arrived in 1982 with the launch of the much-heralded and often imitated, though never quite duplicated, E30 3 Series. That car proved a near-perfect mixture of engine, transmission, and chassis that the competition and BMW have been trying to mimic for years, with varying degrees of success. Perhaps more important (for BMW), the E30 arrived on the scene at the same time as the yuppie. In the 1980s, nothing screamed "upwardly mobile" quite as loudly as a little BMW parked in your driveway.


But 30 years is a long time, and the automotive scene is very different from when the E30 launched. Back in the early '80s, Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus didn't exist; Audi was selling AWD Volkswagens; Buick was terminally ill (though hardly aware of it); and Volvos were but a chromosome away from farm equipment. Only Mercedes was anywhere near its current market position, technically and in terms of status. There have been three generations of 3 Series (E36, E46, and E90/91/92/93) between the 1980s classic and this new sixth-generation car, dubbed the F30. Each of those previous cars represented varying degrees of goodness, but the competition hasn't exactly been resting on its laurels. In fact, back in August 2007, we loudly (on our cover) declared "The King Is Dead!" and handed the 3 Series' crown off to the Infinti G37.


This new 3 Series, then, shows up saddled with great expectations. So great, in fact, that we assembled seven competitors eager to knock the would-be king off his presumptive throne. While some of the sedans follow the 3 Series' longtime winning recipe (front engine, RWD), several are front drive, and the Audi gets mojo directed to all four wheels. Moreover, since we got our hands on the new 328i, which features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine instead of an I-6 (gasp!), we asked for the lowest-powered version of each competing car. Except for the Acura and Buick. Automatic transmissions for all, too. Our task was twofold: to determine just how good the new BMW 3 Series is and see how the sport sedan competition measures up. Frankly, I'm rather shocked by the results. - Jonny Lieberman



8TH PLACE : Buick Regal GS
You Want to Compete With Whom?
By: Ron Kiino


Wait, the underdog American, armed with the most potent engine, Brembo brakes, and 20-inch wheels came in last place, behind the dated and underpowered Infiniti? Yes, we know -- it just doesn't sound right. We had high hopes for this sportiest of slushbox Buicks, what with the aforementioned performance goodies. But when the votes were cast, eighth was as high as this Gran Sport could reach. For those wondering, if we'd instead included the regular Regal Turbo, Mike Febbo may have shot it.


Like the BMW, the Buick uses a direct-injected 2.0-liter turbo four. Yet unlike the 328i, the Regal pumps out 30 more horsepower and 40 extra lb-ft of torque for -- drumroll, please -- a tops-in-test 270 horses and 295 lb-ft. Unfortunately, that output advantage didn't translate to the track, where the six-speed-auto GS was 0.6 second slower from 0 to 60 (6.2 seconds) and 0.8 second tardier through the quarter mile (15.0 seconds at 93.1 mph) than the dragstrip champ eight-speed 328i. So, it's not quicker, but perhaps it's more fuel-efficient? Nope. Per the EPA's fuel-economy test, the BMW ekes out 24/36 mpg city/highway to the Buick's 20/32. Moreover, our observed fuel economy placed the 328i (16.8 mpg) mid-pack and the Regal dead last (14.6), a full 2.0 mpg behind the A4, the second-thirstiest vehicle.


Speaking of the all-wheel-drive Audi, it actually weighs less than the 3748-pound Buick, the -- yep -- heaviest of the bunch. What's up with the corpulence? We're not entirely sure, but we surmise some of it comes from the Regal's polished dubs and Pirelli PZero tires, a $700 option that did very little to dampen the often harsh ride. That said, the wheel/tire package, along with the GS' Brembos and front HiPer strut/rear multilink suspension, did deliver impressive 60-0 braking (108 feet), lateral acceleration (0.89 g), and figure-eight (26.1 seconds at 0.67 g) numbers. Still, over our curvy test loop, we were unimpressed with the Regal's nervous handling dynamics, frustrating transmission ("Shift Denied!"), and noticeable turbo lag.


At $38,565 ($35,720 base), the Regal GS resides in the economical half of the group, yet includes navigation ($1145), power sunroof ($1000), leather interior, satellite radio, Bluetooth, pushbutton start, and dual-zone auto A/C. The lack of a backup camera, especially given the high rear shelf, seems an oversight. And please, please, lose the gaudy chrome inserts in the steering wheel and around the gearshift. As the most powerful entry -- not to mention one of the newest -- the Regal needed to be more than an apparent strong value with flash. It needed to live up to its brawny specs and bulldog looks. As its finish illustrates, it didn't.


7TH PLACE: 2012 Infiniti G25
Late to the Party, Still
By: Alex Nishimoto


There are two ways of arriving late to a party. One, make a grand entrance and act like you have something to offer that was missing prior to your arrival. Two, bring a gift -- maybe chips and salsa or a few adult beverages -- to mask the offense of your tardiness. The Infiniti G25 was certainly late to the lower-priced, reduced-displacement executive-car party. And instead of injecting some spice into the entry-lux dance floor, it showed up in last year's clothes, out of step, and half-asleep. And it brought Zima.


In this comparison, the G25 was simply outclassed. The combination of an anemic drivetrain, dated exterior styling, and an interior that (charitably) looks at least a generation old landed the G25 in seventh place, a finishing position that was debated for nearly an hour before we decided the Infiniti was better than the Buick. For the record, three of the eight minds remain strongly unconvinced.


The biggest complaints revolved around the Infiniti's seven-speed automatic transmission, which is an elementary school dropout in terms of programming intelligence. The car was never in the right gear coming out of a turn, and sport mode did little to correct the problem. The only time the sport setting did anything was in the constant, tight sweepers of Decker Canyon, when it was unnecessary. The tranny would downshift one or more gears for no apparent reason, each time letting out a spooky wail from the relatively gutless 2.5-liter V-6. In the Acura TSX, you wanted to step on the pedal to hear that 3.5-liter V-6 at wide-open throttle. In the Infiniti, listening to the engine carry on got really old really fast. Lieberman compared it to a propeller plane. And if you want to get anywhere in a semi-hurry, you've got to wring the scrawny V-6's neck.



Equally unloved was the bland, low-rent interior, which Scott Evans described as "sterile," likening it to a doctor's waiting room. Infiniti failed to achieve the bare minimum level of quality required for a luxury car by employing cheap plastic that was as relentless and beige as the Gobi Desert. Infiniti clearly isn't going for sporty either, as the G25 is offered with neither a manual transmission nor the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters available on the G37. The lack of atheleticism was all too obvious in testing, with the G25 posting the slowest 0-60 time of the group at 7.5 seconds, and the slowest quarter-mile time of 15.7 seconds at 90.8 mph.


The Infiniti does have some redeeming qualities, though. Based on Nissan's FM (front-mid) architecture, the same platform that underpins such capable and sporty cars as the 370Z and Infiniti FX, the entry-level G is a competent handler, with most editors reporting sharp turn-in and generally good steering feel. That's the inherent benefit of RWD, and most likely the only reason the Infiniti got shelved above the Buick. This fact would've carried more weight had the stability control not been so invasive, cutting power through turns and sapping the fun out of an otherwise agile car. Noted Lieberman, "Through the tightest turn of the loop with the stability control switched off, the G25 essentially turned itself off on me." The Infiniti does get some credit for having the second-best observed fuel economy of the group, seeing an average of 17.6 mpg in our abusive hands.


Despite decent handling and relatively good gas mileage, the G25 proved to be one of the two major disappointments of this test. Here's hoping Infiniti follows the lead of other automakers and gives the next-gen G a turbo-four with a much smarter transmission. Until then, the G25 is seriously outclassed by the major players gathered here.


6TH PLACE: 2012 Acura TSX V-6
Pseudo-European Car Offends None
By: Benson Kong



No offense -- though I'm sure somebody out there will take issue -- but this comparison felt the most right to me during one particular driving loop where it was just the European contenders briskly hustling through the twists and turns. The Japanese and American half of the pack had been separated by a red light. And then some. Yes, it's cliche, but it takes some big talent to be taken seriously in the sport sedan realm.



If the Acura TSX -- known to the cognoscenti in these parts as a derivation of the European-spec Honda Accord -- can take one triumph to heart, it's that no editor stepped out shaking his head, saying, "It's just awful" or "It doesn't belong here." (See eighth place.) In fact, the TSX proved a cautionary tale in automotive what-ifs. What if its transmission had more than five speeds? What if it had better tires and brakes? What if its ride quality were better sorted? To elaborate, let's open our notebooks. "Still has a few drops of that old Honda magic, but not nearly enough," remarked Lieberman. "Engine zings and it basically feels like a big Honda Fit, which isn't bad, but it's definitely let down a bit by the transmission," wrote Febbo. "If the TSX had the BMW's brakes and the Benz's tires, it would've easily been a top-four car. If..." postulated Kiino.


No doubt the most impressive naturally aspirated engine of the bunch, the TSX's aurally pleasurable 3.5-liter V-6 won over most of us. Its exhaust note was described as "deep and bellowing" by Nishimoto. With a comparison-topping 280 horsepower paired with 235mm-wide rubber, the front-drive TSX was third-quickest from 0-60 mph and in the quarter mile (6.0 seconds and 14.5 seconds, respectively), but last in maximum lateral g (0.82) and on the figure eight (0.3 second off the Volvo S60 T5, the next closest). Quick steering helps generate aggressive turn-in, but drivers were then left with a chassis worthy of considerably more grip.


When the going was easy, the sporty but busy ride and plentiful road and wind noise wore us down. The cluttered center stack and low-resolution navigation screen also drew ire, though the interior material selection and color coordination is solid. The TSX is well-equipped, but after a while we started to question the $39,335 as-tested price. It's serious coinage any way you cut it, and the gap in dynamics from sixth to first is tremendous. Of course, it's easy for us to nitpick what needs fixing -- we're not the ones spending our money on product development. But for the same purchase price, there definitely are five better sport sedans from which to choose.



5TH PLACE: 2011 Lexus IS 250 F-Sport
Old? Who You Calling Old?
By: Rory Jurnecka


The Lexus IS 250 was the very definition of an underdog when it knocked on the door of our little entry-level luxury-car party. Having made its production debut at the 2005 (think White Sox winning the World Series) New York auto show, the second-generation IS can't help but look, feel, and seem a little dated. Its 204 hp and 185 lb-ft is light for a modern small-displacement turbocharged four-cylinder motor, let alone the 2.5-liter V-6 the IS 250 has stashed under its hood. The six-speed automatic used to be state-of-the-art with its sport mode and paddle shifters, but today half the cars in this comparison have seven- and eight-speed gearboxes. So where does that leave a nearly 7-year-old sport sedan?




Surprisingly, solidly mid-pack is the answer. Truth is, especially compared with the older-by-a-year Infiniti G, the Lexus still feels like it's a viable purchase. Our impressions were no doubt bolstered by our tester's optional F-Sport package. With its unique sport seats, leather-covered steering wheel, firmer suspension, 18-inch wheels, and grippy Bridgestones, the IS seemed to punch above its weight in the smiles-per-mile category. "Lexus has the bones of a good sport sedan here," said Evans. "The chassis is solid and composed, the handling is good, and it grips well."


We were also impressed with its style. The interior is trimmed out nicely, with the comfy Alcantara-covered, big-bolstered seats holding occupants in place on the twistier stretch of our drive loop. With the exception of the somewhat plasticky, dated center stack, the majority of the interior "still feels luxurious and upscale," to quote Kiino. The exterior design has fared equally well over time, due in part to a mid-cycle refresh a couple years back, and still manages to be eye-catching (especially in F-Sport trim). Adds Lieberman, "Compared with that new squished-spindle Lexus snout, this thing is gorgeous."



Complaints? We had a few, and most were to do with the most outdated part of the car: the powertrain. While the V-6 revs out smoothly enough, it is underpowered amongst its competitive set. We found ourselves wishing for at least another 50 lb-ft of torque to help push the relatively light IS along. We also found the shift paddles somewhat less responsive than those in most of the competition. Rear seat room wasn't impressive, and the $41,214 as-tested price seemed a bit steep, considering the car's age. That said, we know there's a new IS in the works. If it builds on the lessons Lexus should have learned from this iteration, we can't wait to drive it.




4TH PLACE : 2012 Audi A4 Quattro
The Safe Bet
By: Mike Febbo


Quattro -- Audi's brand name for all-wheel drive -- has defined the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer's identity for the last 30 years. Some may question the value of sending power to all four wheels on such relatively low-horsepower vehicles, but in the twistiest sections of our test loop, the difference immediately became apparent. The A4, with its wide powerband from the direct-injection 2.0-liter turbo I-4, shot from corner to corner with grip the other cars couldn't hope to achieve. Well, save for one from Bavaria.


The unanimous complaint among the judges was Audi's beige/gray interior. Even the biggest four-ring fans in our group (hi, Mom!) remarked that this color should never be allowed to leave the factory. While design and ergonomics were praised, wrapping everything in that cheap-looking khaki faux leather makes it look too much like a Frankfurt taxi. The steering wheel seemed to suffer the most from the cheap material, and its function was a point of contention. While most of the manufacturers in this comparison augment steering feel by piping powertrain vibration into the steering system (alarmingly so in the case of the Mercedes), Audi isolates the NVH and lets the front tires do all the talking. Feelings on steering feel were split right down the middle, with some celebrating the sharp responses and others proclaiming the car devoid of soul. However you look at it, the Audi was the second-heaviest car in the comparison at 3710 pounds and still managed to tie the 3480-pound BMW for first place around the figure eight. Again, grip.


In acceleration runs, the Audi again put in a strong second-place showing behind the BMW, coming in just two-tenths of a second behind it to 60 mph (5.8 seconds) and in the quarter mile. Clearly, the sixth-most-powerful car in the field gets the most out of its 211 horsepower. On the street, the Audi felt mid-pack in accelerative oomph, maybe because of the extra weight from the brand-defining AWD hardware, though the new and lightened A6 shows that Audi is capable of making an AWD car that's lighter than the 2WD competition. Also, what's up with the awful wind noise?



The A4 is scheduled for an update in 2013 with new exterior styling details and a rash of interior changes including new materials, steering wheel, and different color offerings. If buyers must have a 2012, spend $1250 on the prestige trim level to get upgraded leather and more supportive seats, 19-inch wheels with wider tires, a firmer suspension, and more aggressive front and rear fascias. Though that would, of course, bump the second-highest as-tested price even higher. The A4 is an aging car but still a good choice, especially for buyers who require all-weather performance.



3RD PLACE: Mercedes-Benz C250
A Very Good Car -- Just Not Great
By: Scott Evans


Well, this is awkward. The mighty Mercedes-Benz finishes third, behind a Volvo? How'd that happen? Well, let me tell you.


Here are the problems we had with our Sport-packaged C250. First and foremost, these seats do not belong in anything associated with the word "Sport." The bottoms are hard, and as flat as the plains east of Denver, while the seatbacks offer just enough side bolstering to remind you how sporty they aren't. Nearly as bad is the boost lag, with the little 1.8-liter turbo-four wholly unequipped to handle the Benz's weight until boost comes in around 3000 rpm. The transmission, meanwhile, is slow to react and doesn't keep the engine on boost even in Sport mode, and the side-to-side manual shifting won no fans. The steering was too light and lacking in feedback, and the design inside and out is conservative bordering on boring.



So that's why the Mercedes is in third. But why is it ahead of the Audi, Acura, Lexus, Infiniti, and Buick? Because it drives better than any of them. Once the turbo-four is boiling, the C250 feels much quicker than its 6.9-second 0-60-mph time suggests. The chassis is rock solid and nigh unflappable. It's a bit disconcerting when the body rolls over hard on turn-in, even though you know in the back of your mind it's going to settle in on the suspension and bite hard at the road. Once it does, the Benz is neutrally balanced, hard to upset, and stuck tight to the asphalt. Better transitions and better seats would help immensely.


The Mercedes also made a strong case for itself in value. Say what?! Yup, at $41,570, our lightly optioned tester landed mid-pack in pricing while still offering such niceties as satellite radio and navigation. Of course, start spec'ing it up like the BMW and you can easily push this car into $50,000 territory. As it stood, though, the Mercedes offered one of the best driving experiences at a reasonable price. It was even the fuel economy winner at 17.7 mpg observed. By the end of our test, everyone liked the C250, but no one loved it. It's a competent handler, a solid ride, a real luxury car, and it has pedigree. Still, there were two other cars that did it at least a little better. Besides, Mercedes is hard at work on a new C-Class, and you can bet a third-place finish simply won't be tolerated.



2ND PLACE: Volvo S60 T5
Swedish Cinderella
By: Nate Martinez


The Mayan prophecy didn't arrive early. Illicit drugs were not consumed. A lofty amount of Chinese yuan hasn't been left in our collective (nonexistent) coffer. Ladies and gents: We are still as surprised as you are at this very moment. We've known for a long time just how very good the turbo I-6, AWD S60 is, but this was our first crack at the FWD, transverse inline-five, and, well, we're surprised.


The Volvo S60 T5 had a lot of things going for it that aren't necessarily related to safety. First, there is that stunning coupelike Swedish body with clean, composed, and well-executed accents. The physique can hardly be called svelte, but it is well-proportioned and ideally sorted for five-passenger hauling. More important, it's different. Refreshingly so. Our particular tester's looks benefited from optional bright silver sport front and rear bumpers. Over the multi-day test the design received nary a complaint.



Much like its metal panels, the cabin's no-nonsense black/silver/tan innards were penned with simplicity and attractiveness in mind. Yet, as most of us discovered, the simple space proved extremely comfortable and nearly concert-hall quiet, not to mention highly usable with ample storage, cupholders galore, and a straightforward multimedia system. A few labeled the plain cockpit too "stripped" and "not premium enough," but in the end, it did what it set out to do -- and did it well. We especially took a liking to the front seats, which are supple enough for long highway hauls and supportive enough for aggressive runs on desolate zigzag paths. Not often do our posteriors sit in such magnificent thrones in an entry-level model. The fact that they were fabric instead of real or fake cowhide was also appreciated.



Those aforesaid aggressive runs revealed a solid 3500-pound platform that liked to dance. It wasn't the quickest on our track with its relatively skinny 215/50R17 Michelin Primacy rubber (the thinnest of the bunch), nor did it carve canyons with a surgical skill of a certain Bavarian. In all honesty, the nose-heavy car that some called "a tank" and "a heifer" plowed at its limits on tight, complicated corners. But it was controllable, and, most important, extremely fun. Granted, long sweepers were where this Volvo truly shone. The smooth, peppy 2.5-liter five-cylinder and its six-speed automatic doled out consistent power and thrills whatever the situation, and was one of the most fuel efficient at 17.5 mpg observed.


The S60 won our hearts with its ability to take the high-stress runs we dealt it in its competent, confident stride. When it comes time to go home, it coddles you. It sips fuel penuriously. And it looks damn sexy. For all this, Volvo charges just over $35 large. Yup, this is one special Swede.




1ST PLACE: BMW 328i Sport Line
That's First Place With a Competition-Killing Bullet
By: Jonny Lieberman


The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we write about cars. Why's that? Your thoughtful, loving comments, of course! Unlike in the old days where my predecessors would cherry-pick only the best, friendliest letters to the editors (and spellcheck 'em), today whatever you have to say becomes permanently affixed to the article in question, online. And lest you feel like you're writing to each other, be assured, we read your comments. I mention this because I want to talk about the big albatross hanging around the new 328i's neck right up front: price. This car rings the bell to the tune of $50,560, by far the highest as-tested price of the competition. Shock! Horror! You all will cancel your subscriptions en masse, of course the most expensive car won, because we're all idiots, etc.


Yes, yes, yes. We know. However, unlike the other seven competitors, this particular car was driven away from the U.S. 3 Series launch BMW held in San Francisco where the cars were (of course) trimmed out with all the fixings. The point I want to make is that, using BMW's online configurator, you can spec out a mechanically identical 328i Sport Line for $41,095 that would have beat up on and choked out the competition just like the one in our test did. Questions?


As mentioned, we sat around screaming at each other for over an hour trying to determine if the Buick was in fact a lamer duck than the Infiniti. We spent all of three minutes declaring the BMW best in test and best in class. This is not just a win for the 328i; it's a massacre. A slaughter. Doomsday. Armageddon. I say this with a straight face: There is no competition. Not only was the BMW's first-place finish never in question, but I can't remember a comparison test with such lopsided results. Honestly, we had a hard time finding bad things to say. Aside from the as-tested price (see above!), the worst anyone could come up with is that the new 2.0-liter twin-scroll I-4 sounds like a diesel. But, as Evans logs, "That's hardly a complaint," and you only hear the clatter-clatter-clatter at idle. Let's call it the sound of efficiency. As for the good stuff, well, our notebooks were boiling over.

Here's a sampling. Kiino: "Does everything well. The epitome of a luxury sport sedan." Evans: "What a car. There really isn't anything this car does wrong." Jurnecka: "Last week I was telling a buddy (and huge BMW fan) that there isn't a single new BMW I'd even consider buying these days. I was wrong. I'd buy this car." Febbo: "Maybe the most impressive thing about the BMW is that there is no superfluous stuff. They just built a really solid car." Martinez: "Seriously, where's the M badge?" Kong: "BMW wants to make my life difficult with a shocking product that is as good as it's been hyped." Nishimoto: "BMW does what it does best with this new 328, and thus the bar is raised yet again." And from me, "They picked the appellation F30 for a reason. Like the E30, the new 328i is the ideal blend of engine, transmission, and chassis." Seriously, folks, I'm awed.



You want specifics? The BMW was the fastest car here (0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and through the quarter in 14.2 at 97.8 mph), beating even the AWD Audi. The 328i rode the best, had the best steering and transmission, is the only car here with start/stop technology, gets a class-leading 36 mpg highway, has thebest laid-out interior, is the most comfortable, has an unbelievable nav screen, and, to top it all off, has the biggest back seat.


Want more? Of course you do. Moving from Comfort mode into Sport produced real, actual changes in the vehicle's behavior, transforming it from a very relaxed cruiser to a sharp-edged canyon carver. And because of the $900 Adaptive M Suspension option (part of the $2500 Sport Line package) there's still Sport+ to further stiffen the suspension, increase throttle response, and get the eight-speed auto to bang home shifts like a dual-clutch. There's also an Eco Pro mode that turns down the climate control and throttle response to achieve more efficiency. It even logs and shows you how many extra miles you're eking out. Long story short, the 328i is four cars in one. Let's make that four excellent cars in one. Ultimately -- and this cuts right through the heart of the sport sedan segment -- the BMW was without question the most fun to drive.



Like Rory, I'm not a fan of modern BMWs. Not only do I feel the automaker has lost the "Ultimate Driving Machine" plot, but I think the 5 Series Gran Turismo is the German Aztek. But since I first took a spin last week, I haven't stopped thinking about the 328i. "Maybe," I tell myself before looking at my credit card statements. "Maybe I could swing some sort of sweetheart lease?" I mention this to stamp out all claims of any sort of BMW bias you might think Motor Trend has. Not only did I already mention that five years ago we declared the Infiniti G superior to the 3 Series, but the last comparison test I wrote involving a BMW had the Bavarian finishing dead last. True, the 740i did win our Entry-Level Full-Size Luxury Sedan comparo (March 2011), but here's what Frank Markus had to say about that victor: "By the end of our deliberations, the BMW found itself backing into the winner's circle by doing everything 80-90 percent right without doing anything terribly wrong, all at a moderate price." Talk about damning with faint praise!


In full, glaring, retina-searing contrast, this BMW wins this competition because it does everything better than the rest. For now, all the competition can do is head back to their drawing boards. Like I said up front, I'm shocked.<<<


Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...#ixzz1pwRJru22
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Last edited by PsychDoc1; 03-23-2012 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:38 AM
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Kzang Kzang is offline
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Umm the 3 series has ALWAYS been on top in its class....
The new 5 series although as you mentioned is an upscale of the new 3, however the 5 is bigger from the previous 5 series and the steering feel is not as enjoyable, at least to me..
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:50 AM
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The F10 is not a scaled up version of the F30. The F30 has a different design and engineering philosophy.

It used to be said that a 5 was a big 3. Now it's a small 7. Having spent a decent amount of time with the F30, I agree with this whole heatedly.
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
The F10 is not a scaled up version of the F30. The F30 has a different design and engineering philosophy.

It used to be said that a 5 was a big 3. Now it's a small 7. Having spent a decent amount of time with the F30, I agree with this whole heatedly.
I don't agree. I think, at this point, they are really all (i.e. 3/5/7) pretty much the same car in different sizes and with different levels of trim. Sure, if you nit pick you can isolate one or another characteristic and argue that that one characteristic renders one of the cars significantly different from the others but it's pretty obvious that they all share the same archetecture, design cues, suspension geometry, transmissions and engines. Hell, the N20 is just a 4 cylinder version of the N55.
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:58 AM
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Agree it is more like a small 7 ...... in fact the F10 weighs about the same as my 01 E38.

I appreciate that the ride, including steering, on the F10 is more "luxurious" than the F30. They are two different cars. Each has a happy driver in our (focus group of three) family.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:00 AM
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Umm the 3 series has ALWAYS been on top in its class....
The new 5 series although as you mentioned is an upscale of the new 3, however the 5 is bigger from the previous 5 series and the steering feel is not as enjoyable, at least to me..
Yes and no. With the advancing age of the E90, others were catching up and a few comparos had it losing it's crown to other competitors.

Looks like the F30 has removed all doubts about who rules the small sports sedan category.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:11 AM
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I don't agree. I think, at this point, they are really all (i.e. 3/5/7) pretty much the same car in different sizes and with different levels of trim. Sure, if you nit pick you can isolate one or another characteristic and argue that that one characteristic renders one of the cars significantly different from the others but it's pretty obvious that they all share the same archetecture, design cues, suspension geometry, transmissions and engines. Hell, the N20 is just a 4 cylinder version of the N55.
+1, the entire line of cars are incestuous
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:23 AM
mdstx330ci mdstx330ci is offline
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Yes and no. With the advancing age of the E90, others were catching up and a few comparos had it losing it's crown to other competitors.

Looks like the F30 has removed all doubts about who rules the small sports sedan category.
For now... Remember that this is a brand new model and the competition came to the party with older models with new versions coming out soon. I'm very pleased to see the new F30 (and the new 991 for that matter) dropping some weight. I hope it is a sign of the future. A lighter car is just much more fun to drive. Congrats to BMW for building the F30! Looking forward to seeing what the M3 brings... lighter weight I hope.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:16 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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Originally Posted by PsychDoc1 View Post
I don't agree. I think, at this point, they are really all (i.e. 3/5/7) pretty much the same car in different sizes and with different levels of trim. Sure, if you nit pick you can isolate one or another characteristic and argue that that one characteristic renders one of the cars significantly different from the others but it's pretty obvious that they all share the same archetecture, design cues, suspension geometry, transmissions and engines. Hell, the N20 is just a 4 cylinder version of the N55.
Sorry, you didn't convince me.

First, the 3 does not share architecture with the 5 and 7. While the 5 has adopted the 7's multi-link front suspension, the 3 still rolls on the tried and true strut setup. This is significant.

Next, the design cues are similar, and in pictures look very similar. In person, the differences are much more pronounced. Translated to the smaller platform, the language is the same but the accent is much different. The headlight treatment which looks weird on paper looks very purposeful in person. More aggressive than the F10's already aggressive look. The hood is still creased, but the creases are not as deep and are less formal. The look of the long, long F10 hood when viewed from behind the wheel is gone - the hood drops away more steeply and the car is visually smaller. It may be larger than the E90, but it looks a lot smaller than the F10.

Moreover, while the other ingredients might be similar, the F30 recipe yields an altogether different dish. The steering has a much different setup, the base transmission shifts probably as quickly as the F10's SAT, the F30's SAT shifts like a DSG! The result is less ponderous, more precise and a sharper scalpel. While the F10's steering is accurate, the F30's steering is immediate. Jumping on the highway in an F30 less than 30 minutes after making the same run an an F10 results in an almost constant back and forth correction of course while your brain commands your hands to not react as much as you normally would. Not sure if the rack is quicker, or what, but it's very noticeable.

As I noted in my other thread, I recently spent 24 hours and about 70 miles in very varied traffic with an F30 328. I really got to do a good comparison to the F10. It is a different design brief altogether. Forget all the teeth gnashing about the 3 becoming too big, being as big as an E39, whatever, yadda yadda. Driving in it, I felt transported back to my friend's late 80's E30 325. It's noisier. It's more intimate. It's harsher, less refined than the F10. You don't sit in it and think, "hey, I'm driving a smaller version of my car". The dash and interior layout is functionally very different and a different place to be.

All in all, it's a winner.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:29 AM
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:40 AM
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If only F10 can have the same steering feel and new run flats as F30. These two are the biggest disappointment of F10.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:04 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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If only F10 can have the same steering feel and new run flats as F30. These two are the biggest disappointment of F10.
One of those two issues is very easily fixed.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:21 AM
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Capobranco Capobranco is online now
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Given the dimensions of the F30, when I see and sit in a F30, I feel I might be in my E39 reincarnated - redefined and honed for a new age. The same joie de vivre, that was at the heart of the E39, lives in the F30. Gives me hope that BMW will build cars in the future that will continue to excite me.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:48 AM
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I just can't believe how expensive the f30 is. I was at the local BMW dealer and they had one with a sticker of $57k. That is insane for a 335...for the price they are charging it better beat any competition out there!!!
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:44 PM
smashhell smashhell is offline
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I just can't believe how expensive the f30 is. I was at the local BMW dealer and they had one with a sticker of $57k. That is insane for a 335...for the price they are charging it better beat any competition out there!!!
Yeah for that price you can get a pretty well equipped 535.

Makes no senses at all
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:54 PM
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I just can't believe how expensive the f30 is. I was at the local BMW dealer and they had one with a sticker of $57k. That is insane for a 335...for the price they are charging it better beat any competition out there!!!
And you can spec up a 535 into the high 70's. The cost of the F30 is no more than the E90 but it has more available options.

You can also get a decent 750 for less than a loaded 550

BMWs are expensive across the board.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:27 PM
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Die Wolfe Die Wolfe is offline
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And you can spec up a 535 into the high 70's. The cost of the F30 is no more than the E90 but it has more available options.

You can also get a decent 750 for less than a loaded 550

BMWs are expensive across the board.
YES, I learned that very fast! LOL
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:29 PM
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Yeah for that price you can get a pretty well equipped 535.

Makes no senses at all
My thoughts too - I have even seen loaded F30 328s for close to 50K.
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:29 PM
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:04 AM
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I love my German Aztek.
There was a reason why the pontiac aztek = fail.. lol
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:55 AM
DerStig DerStig is offline
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History will always repeat itself.... 5 series has ALWAYS been the guinea pig for the 3 series. The idrive, the HUD, seats, entertainment system, even the run-flats, thanks to the 5 series users who sort of "beta test" them for the 3 series, the 3er is at the top of its class. While 5 is the smaller version of the 7, 3 is the smaller version of 5. They have been getting more and more similar in the last decade and this last version only certifies that.

You can look at it this way...

1) With 7 series BMW comes up with a brand new untested technology that is very luxurious and only the rich millionaires can afford.
2) Thanks to their hard earned money, BMW takes that technology/featureset/etc and puts into more affordable, but still expensive and luxurious 5 series. This is where the "beta testing" phase happens. With 7 series, they simply dont have enough feedback from their buyers. With 5 series, thanks to you guys, they have thousands of people "beta testing" their stuff for them, so that they can make their final move, which is...
3) Designing a 3 series that is best of the both worlds. Has the luxury and top notch technology that has been perfected and improved thanks to those 7 and 5 series owners.

Look at BMW production cycles. They always start from 7, then to 5, and finally to 3. The old 5 er was so ugly, even to this date when I see it on the street, I look the other way. The old idrive was horrifying and so was other millions of bugs. BMW took that and turned it into the beauty called the 3 series. They are doing it again this time with F10 and F30. The annoying steering, the pulling to the one side, the run flats, all have been corrected and improved thanks to F10 buyers

You cannot argue the fact that the similarities of the current 3 and 5 series is a lot more than that of in the last generation.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:45 AM
swajames swajames is offline
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Der Stig, I think you can make an argument that the Three and Five are more different this time around. BMW focused on the Three's chassis to the point where the F30 weighs less than its predecessor. The Five, on the other hand, weighs more(and often considerably more) than its predecessor. I'd argue that the Five that the new F30 has the most direct connection to is the E39. The new Three for me is the reincarnation of the classic E39.
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  #23  
Old 03-25-2012, 10:37 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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It is pointless to make this argument unless you have actually driven both cars, and for decent periods of time. You can argue weights, sizes, equipment, price all you want but when you actually spend time behind the wheel, you will clearly see the outcomes of the engineering designs.

One thing I personally found interesting was that when I used to go from an E90 328 loaner to my F10 535, my 535 felt HUGE when I got back into it. It felt big, aloof and a bit bargy. By comparison, going from the F30 to the F10 did not produce such an immediate response.

However at the same time, there is no loss of immediacy when driving the F30. It is still nimble and light. Interesting.

I would like to drive an E90 and an F30 back to back.
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Last edited by Needsdecaf; 03-25-2012 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:43 AM
SuperTerp SuperTerp is online now
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I'm more intrigued by what BMW and even Audi and MB plan to do about the ever increasing amount of cheap HP producing cars, and not even just raw HP, but as technology advances the gap will close even more on what even some of the worst engineered cars can do.

I mean who really wants too spend 60k+ on a car and start getting lapped by 30k kia's, hyundai's, and americans.

Or maybe I'm just in the minority that it would bother

*oh the reason I brought this up is an article about the new mustang and I just ran a truecar 29 or less if you do it off invoice, and is pumping out 420hp.

Last edited by SuperTerp; 03-25-2012 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:53 AM
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Needsdecaf Needsdecaf is offline
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I'm more intrigued by what BMW and even Audi and MB plan to do about the ever increasing amount of cheap HP producing cars, and not even just raw HP, but as technology advances the gap will close even more on what even some of the worst engineered cars can do.

I mean who really wants too spend 60k+ on a car and start getting lapped by 30k kia's, hyundai's, and americans.

Or maybe I'm just in the minority that it would bother

*oh the reason I brought this up is an article about the new mustang and I just ran a truecar 29 or less if you do it off invoice, and is pumping out 420hp.
Well, there will always be cheap high HP cars.

But a Mustang is a Mustang, for all it's good and bad. THe problem more so is cars like the Genesis, that offer SIMILAR levels of luxury and power for a lot less money.
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Hell is where the police are German, the cooks are English, the cars are French, the lovers are Swiss, and it is all organised by the Italians
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