May 2, 2013, 8:28 am
So I'm going to be a bit contrarian here. I have only had notable seat time in an e30, e36, and e46 and some minor time spent driving 330i and 335i e90's....
I look at these cars as daily drivers first and foremost. I found the e36 loud and cramped and cheap interior - but very very connected to the road. The e46 was probably the best executed - smooth yet communicative. Stylish in it's time and aging well now. Still somewhat cramped but pretty well done.
I found the e90 naturally aspirated cars to be neither as superbly communicative (due to it's weight gain/smoothness perhaps) nor suitably spacious/luxurious to be a pleasant daily driver. The 335i fixed that by adding a hardcore dose of rip-snorting engine.
But for me, the f30 finally brings a 3-series into a preferred daily driver domain for me. It's spacious enough to actually do executive sedan duty without embarassment. It's much better executed in terms of pleasant to drive in the cabin and layout.
It's fairly close to the e90 in terms of removal from the road, exacerbated also by the steering. But while the e90 did not excel at either at either a backroad bomber (compared to, say, an e36) nor an everyday driver, I feel the f30 DOES excel at being an everyday driver while not giving up much as a backroad bomber compared to the f30.
Simultaneously, if you want a much worse daily driver but a much better backroad bomber....you've now got the 1-series, which you didn't have during the e36/e46 phase.
Just my take. There's alot of little things about the f30 that doesn't quite work for me, but I think it's really embodied the development of the 3-series over the years and the advent of the 1-series.
That being said, I am waiting for the m3 to come out to make a decision