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I drove an E90 330i 6-speed at BMW of Peabody (Massachusetts) this afternoon. For comparison purposes, I currently have a 2003 325Ci with a 5-speed.

The car looks incredible on the outside - I was a little worried after seeing the pictures, but BMW definitely hit a home run with this one. Not a single bad angle.

Some people have complained that the doors feel cheap, but they seemed fine to me. The bank-vault thunk is still there. I can't really do a direct comparison though, since the doors on my E46 coupe are quite different from the E46 sedan.

The interior (no iDrive) is also great. Well organized, all the controls are easy to reach, and so forth. I don't like how they got rid of the angled dash, and moved the window switches to the door, but I'll live. All the buttons and controls are very solid and feel great to use - the buttons in my E46 are rather squishy. The turn signal stalk is of the same design as the 5 and 7, which took some getting used to, but I think it's a genuine improvement over the old style.

The OBC is very easy to use and has some cool functionality. Ditto for the radio - the screen has a lot more information/features on it than did the one in the E46. The Logic7 sounds great as well.

The key mechanism/push-button start worked fine. Neither an improvement nor a regression, just different. According to the salesman, the key still has the rechargeable battery mechanism from the E46 - I had heard that they had switched to a non-rechargeable system. Don't know who's right about that.

As for driving impressions, the handling and ride was great. The car had the sport package with 18" wheels and runflat tires, but the ride was still smoother than my E46. Handling was quite sharp, and the steering felt quicker than my car (it didn't have active steering, though). Some people have complained about a lack of road feel, but I couldn't tell any difference between it and the E46. The steering actually felt heavier than in my E46, so there's no chance of repeating the "Ultimate Parking Machine" debacle.

The car also feels very composed going over bumps while cornering - my E46 tends to skip around and shuffle a bit on rough pavement, but the E90 just soaks it up and keeps turning. Of course, maybe I'm just due to replace some suspension components...

Wind and road noise on the highway were much less pronounced than in my car. The engine note was great. You can hear it quite well from within the cockpit, I don't know why some people say it's more muffled.

The clutch and throttle felt quite different from my E46, but I don't know if that was just because I wasn't used to them. The salesman said the clutch was supposed to be "smoother", but really it just felt rubbery and disconnected.

I was also expecting the E90 330 to completely blow me away with its power, but to be honest I couldn't really notice a significant difference betwen it and my 325. Maybe I was just being less aggressive than I am driving my own car, or maybe the engine needed some time to break-in (it only had ten miles on it).

All in all though, the car is fantastic. Any worries I had about it are completely gone - BMW seems to have gotten everything right. I'm trying to decide now whether I should keep my car, buy an E90 sedan, or wait for the coupe...

Also, the salesman I dealt with (Chris Blasczak) was great, very knowledgeable and helpful. Anyone looking for a BMW in Eastern Massachusetts, I'd highly recommend him.
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