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E90 at the racetrack - a review

1786 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Wolf359
I had a chance of have been invited toa BMW 2006 3-series (dubbed E90) introduction sesssion. It was kind of an hybrid between a slalom and a circuit. 10 cars or so, (325i/330i manual and steptronic, 2 with active steering). 15 persons. After the speech, we had 90 minutes of sheer fun.

I fell in love with the 330i.


ON THE CIRCUIT:
The DSC (ESP) was like it was calibrated differently from one car to another. Some were way too much obstrusive and others allowed some slippage and were funnier. Anyway, you can turn it off or lower its reactiveness. They were very tossable all-around as expected. The 330i even with automatic has serious trust. I see good value with the active steering, but it is not a must. Getting back in my E46, I felt that it was more nimble, though. Is it just because of the habit?

STYLING INTERIOR and EXTERIOR:
There is so much of a difference between the base interior of a 325i and 330; same basic design, but details make them feel different. The Lemon and Terra Dakota leather are nothing short of stunning (beige was not that impressive), reminding the best combos of Audi. Much more rear room than before. What is the point of the 5 again? For the exterior, it looks better in person, but it nowhere a looker. With he sport package, it exudes a good luxury and presence compromise.

ENGINES/TRANSMISSIONS:
The engine didn't feel very different from my E46. BMW claims +30HP and -12% fuel economy. Impressive. One of the car was seriously clattering. The pulled it out. Is it related to new valvetronic design? I hope not. Admisttedly, the cars were over-abused. I would have hoped for a short-throw shifter. The clutch is lower than my E46 and feels more natural. B ut I stalled twice the engine - never happened with my car. The Steptronic is working just fine, just as before. There is a newfound trust with a 330i Steptronic.

VALUE and OVERALL EVALUATION:
Price remains the same as the 2005 E46 except that there is more standard equipement (+2380$CAD for the 325i and +4700$ for hte 330i). Despite a few reservations, I don't see any better car in this segment.
18 / 20 for the 325i
19 / 20 for the 330i
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Is there much difference in the drive between the e46 & the e90? Aside from the new quirks included, would you say the e90 is a big step up (driving/handling wise) or on par?
I saw you are from Montreal, I went there on wednesday for the same test drive at Blue Bonnets.

No car was clattering when I attended the event, but they were abused for a few days, that's true (I don't see many companies allowing that and it's cool).

I'll have to hold on final jugement after a test drive on real (Read battered) roads. That asphalt was just too good to get a real idea of how the car deals with potholes and so on.

It did seem to me that the runflats make for a bit less communicative road readings before giving up traction, but the car is still very predictable and this in no way breaks the fun of driving it. It seemed more confortable than the e46, but then again, the surface was a bit too good to judge that.

I found Lemon gorgeous (Good thing because I actually ordered that 2 weeks ago), but wasn't impressed with Terra (The car was inside a tent and that leather just looked brown to me, I guess you need a lot of sun to get the orange tint coming out).

Also, I can't say the 325i feels wimpy compared to the 330i. 8000$ CDN will get you 40 more horspower, that is a lot of money per horsepower plus a 1 second gain in the 0-60 mph department, but with 8000$ you can load up a 325i with sport package, leather, and other interesting options.

Compared with the e46, I'd say it's a step up, but no so much as to make the e46 a lame duck, that car had great credentials too.
Saintor said:
I had a chance of have been invited toa BMW 2006 3-series (dubbed E90) introduction sesssion. It was kind of an hybrid between a slalom and a circuit. 10 cars or so, (325i/330i manual and steptronic, 2 with active steering). 15 persons. After the speech, we had 90 minutes of sheer fun.
How well would the E90 325i compare with the E46 328i or 330i?

Thanks.

Ed
Wolf359 said:
...Also, I can't say the 325i feels wimpy compared to the 330i. 8000$ CDN will get you 40 more horspower, that is a lot of money per horsepower plus a 1 second gain in the 0-60 mph department, but with 8000$ you can load up a 325i with sport package, leather, and other interesting options.

Compared with the e46, I'd say it's a step up, but no so much as to make the e46 a lame duck, that car had great credentials too.
Never drove an 328i but I'm guessing it's pretty close, however an E90 325i should be a bit slower than an E46 330i (Almost the same horsepower but the E90 weights more than the E46).

With the E90, in both iterations of the 3-liter engine, the sound is great. :)
Imo, not a "big step up". Pretty much comparable. The E90 feels a bit bigger, but it remains as controllable. Ride was about the same level (which means very good) and it was a quieter. I am sure that all those ingredients add up to a better car, but does it mean that it is more fun? I don't think so.

As for the 8000$CAD difference between a 325i and 330i, it also includes a few equipments like the sunroof and electrical seats.
jstalin said:
Is there much difference in the drive between the e46 & the e90? Aside from the new quirks included, would you say the e90 is a big step up (driving/handling wise) or on par?
I missed yesterday's session at the hippodrome because of this stupid food poisoning that's got me stuck at home for the last 2 days :mad: :mad:
So I guess I won't get to go abuse an E90 on the track :bawling:
Damn, Michelito, that is a real drag, I really feel sorry for you.

I went to the Hippodrome event on the 16th in the evening. It was very fun, getting to pound on new E90s on that circuit. My conclusions were pretty much the same as yours, Saintor and Wolf. My feeling was that the E46 was still a darn good-looking and running car. I appreciate that the E90 comes loaded with packages that were extra last year, and that the DBC and other safety upgrades make it that much better.

If I get an E90 I will definitely order Adaptive Steering. On the 330i that was just the cherry on the ice cream. I loved it.

I haven't even test driven an E90 on the road yet, such is my ho-hum feeling, and knowing that the car I want (330xi) is neither available, nor affordable (for me right now).
Oh well, at least I won't be tempted... my car has barely 20000km after 2 years... my mileage was cut in half when I found a significant other who has a cool car to drive too (she's got a Mini Cooper S)
:)
Now if I could only get off my throne :tsk: - guess I'll feel better just in time for the office tomorrow morning - what a waste of a weekend - and it wasn't even raining for once!!!! :bawling:
My deepest sympathies for the loss of test drive opportunity, week-end enjoyments, and other bodily fluids I won't get into, Michelito.

If your car has only 20K km on it, I'd say you're lucky because it still is pretty new and that gives you time to wait for BMW to fix the inevitable small glitches that may affect a new model during the 1st year or so.

Mine has 76K km and after 80K km they could hardly sell a warranty (Or make it a Certified Series), that in turn would affect resale value. Add to that the fact that the warranty was over a year and a half ago and you start getting some real incentive to change with the arrival of the new generation.

So, just take your time, and enjoy your car, the new one is not that much of a revolution (But a good evolution).
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