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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,148

    Tlong, you sound like me. I think a good word to use is Balance, along with control (you mentioned precision).

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • justg0justg0 Posts: 62

    @tlong said:

    To me, being "sporty" is NOT about horsepower or torque. Sure, that's nice, but if that were what was important I'd buy a Vette or a Camaro. Straight-line acceleration is not what makes an ELLPS appealing to me.

    I admire and appreciate, shall we say, "precision". I like precise, tight steering. I like a reasonably comfortable, yet firm and precise ride. I like going around corners, not at 0.8g, but in a way that the steering feel is precise, I know exactly where the car is going to go, and I can feel the feedback through the steering wheel. I don't even particularly care to autocross my vehicles or pull high g's in corners.

    I couldn't agree more. I just traded in my BMW 335d (M-sport package) and got a BMW 320i (Sport package) and I am loving it.

    I was looking at other similar cars in the price range - Audi A3 2.0, VW GTI, Honda Accord, but none of these came close to fun that I had when I test drove the 320i with Sport package. I would have been able to get more standard options with all other models, but none of them came close to the handling and nimbleness that was there in the BMW (my opinion).

    I also looked at 328i (Sport line and no line). The 328i Sport line was definitely faster compared to 320i, but only if you went at it hard. In normal to mid range driving (which is what I normally do), I found really no difference. 328i without sport package felt too soft.

    I am actually having more fun driving the 320i than I had in my 335d, which had much higher HP and gobs of torque.

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,475
    edited May 31

    I just attended BMW's drive event with 4-series, C350 coupe, S5 and Lexus IS. I drove 435 with Msport line, Benz and Audi. All three are very nice. S5 felt sportiest of them, the DSG shifts made sounds like computer game. Its supercharged engine had phenomenal note. Benz was plush, well balanced, still quite quick. BMW had everything in great balance, the sports suspension was what I like. The exhaust note more throaty than I remember on 335 I drove during the performance delivery in Spartanburg. They also had 428 Gran Coupe on display. It's gorgeous. Back seat headroom is too small for 6 feet tall person, but the extra utility of hatch is great. Love the looks. Couldn't drive it, as that one was preproduction European model, even had manual transmission, not available for US market. It's definitely on my list, but I'm not rushing in to put a deposit down.

    BTW, I had a great conversation with the product rep about some features. They reportedly changed the start/stop feature defaulting to last setting, as opposed to previous always going back to active. It is reportedly US market only, in Europe they kept the old one due to carbon emission garbage. The shaking on restart is reduced and also depends on which cylinder restarts first.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,106

    @dino001‌ thanks for sharing that seems like a cool event. Just looked online @ 435 (grand) and the hatch body def improves overall looks. Looks like the bigger engine will not be avail at launch(?) with xdrive. Which I think is a little disappointing but I guess bmw has to cut something as they have the most complete line of vehicles out there.

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,475
    edited May 31

    The 335 xdrive will come not so long from the launch, it already is on the pricing lists, just blacked out (or to be exact, yellowed) for now.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,395

    "I admire and appreciate, shall we say, "precision". I like precise, tight steering. I like a reasonably comfortable, yet firm and precise ride. I like going around corners, not at 0.8g, but in a way that the steering feel is precise, I know exactly where the car is going to go, and I can feel the feedback through the steering wheel. I don't even particularly care to autocross my vehicles or pull high g's in corners."

    Very well said

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733

    OK, let's get serious for a minute. 4 doors and leather and nav and doesn't suck at handling? I put every option that I could find on a Focus ST, plus the special paint, moonroof, and so on and got a Truecar price of $27K.

    4 doors. Handles better, looks better, is faster. Almost 335i fast, in fact. Those full leather Recaro seats are also very comfortable, despite their color scheme. So if you want more performance, you have a better option for less money.

    Or you can go the other way and want more luxury and better performance for the same money. Auto magazines compare the 335i and the G37 routinely. I think the poor 320i will end up roadkill vs even the base model G37.

    It's not that BMW doesn't make good cars, it's that they did the same thing that Lexus did with the miserable IS250. It's so weak, bland, and uninspiring to drive compared to the bigger version that it really doesn't deserve to be in any category other than "next".

  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,106

    @plekto - forget about it- as flight explained in his genesis comments from May, its about brand has nothing to do with what you actually get. I would ask flight he bought a 320 while his partner got a genesis- 2 cars that are very close in price but far in spectrum.

  • justg0justg0 Posts: 62
    edited May 31

    @plekto‌ - Focus ST or G37 or GTI all are very nice cars in terms of handling and performance. I think it comes down to personal preference in what you like.

    So who would pay BMW premium to get a 320i with lower horsepower? I am quoting from an article that I read online (http://www.bimmer-mag.com/issues/120/articles/practical-considerations?page=4#.U4odyagWeG0):

    Beyond that entry-level buyer, here’s who should also consider the 320i: urban commuters seeking BMW handling, luxury, connectivity and panache, and those upon whom the harsh realization has dawned that they don’t need a rocket car to satisfy their daily driving needs. From stoplight-to-stoplight, it would be rather nice to use less gas, and it’s equally nice to spend less money. The 36-month lease payment is $50 less for the 320i than that for the 328i, and even though the latter is much quicker and potentially faster, you won’t miss that sitting in traffic. The two cars are virtually indistinguishable at light throttle under 40 mph. Why pay more?

    That's me going from a BMW 335d to 320i. I save $200 per month on my lease and I am actually having more fun with the 320i. Maybe because its lighter, not sure, but it feels just more lively and the handling is so much more precise.

    I could have gone with Focus ST or G37 and saved some more money (for some reason the GTI and A3 lease much higher due to really bad residuals), but decided to stay with BMW, since having had it before, I knew exactly what I was getting - a RWD sedan that handles great and is lot of fun to drive in around the city.

  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,106
    edited June 1
    Don't mind the above response understandable wanting to save money, and get a rwd sedan & if you can due it with weather, but is this car a ELLPs under that configuration, no it's not - Lexus once sold a RWD is250 that could be had with a 6 speed - they sold it as a performance sedan- no one bought this configuration or cared- even caddy which is aiming big time at the bmw has a similar priced car and a base engine with similar weak power but neglected to give us the manual because it's not a real draw with the weaker engine-non-turbo, it's more of a pricing thing I guess. Real performance seekers would never opt for the 4 cyl 180 non turbo- it's bland. Also real lux seekers would never opt for a pleather, base stereo, no power seat car - doesn't add up- car is not Ellps. And at the bargain price of 35k really? And done
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,475

    Have you even driven it, Sweeny? How do you know it's so bad and weak? I have not driven it myself, perhaps my next service visit I get a chance, if dealer finally turns that 328 loaner inventory. I must say, I rather believe a guy who actually drove it and wrote that article that said this 320 reminded him the old 325 he actually owned (which has been basically a benchmark defining the category in its balanced design), rather than a guy who looks at some number tables and proclaims the thing not being worthy his time.

    BTW, isn't it interesting that today's car having track time of 1988 M3 (just 26 years) can be seen as having a "weak engine"? Sure, things evolved and expectations today are somewhat different then 20+ years ago, but perhaps we went a bit too far. It is true that the competition honestly caught up with BMW in lot of aspects of that category, a lot of that started in arms race in brochure values of the horsepower, or straight line accelaration numbers combined with adding nice stuff to it. It is a new reality. Over 200 horses, 3000 lbs, we still complain too little of thise or that. Consumer is the king. BMW themselves also evolved in direction that many think lost some original appeal. But I simply cannot take your argument that just because some numbers don't align with your idea what ELLPS should be, it doesn't belong. Until I actually sit inside and try it, I don't know.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,106

    @dino001 - quick - no never driven it. No interest. - ", I rather believe a guy who actually drove it and wrote that article that said this 320 reminded him the old 325 he actually owned (which has been basically a benchmark defining the category in its balanced design), rather than a guy who looks at some number tables and proclaims the thing not being worthy his time." Me too and Agree, look at article I posted to start this. Car and driver good enuf? So not getting the point- I always cite research / professional articles when talking- more fact less fiction ask flight and 'leader ad' argument, epic. But I'd rather believe a professional then someone who ownes a 320 and tells you how great it is going to whole foods. - bmw you hit it on the head they were part of the problem(?) by adding hp. But so did ford, caddy and others and there is no defending the weight power of this car vs lesser (non lux badged) cars when considering what's included , you can drive it all you want- and if you buy it you will say real world driving the car is on par with the 328, and for whole foods runs it's going to perform great, but 60 hp loss vs 328, which some argue is already overpriced, 35k stripped is a joke in MhO. We get it people are huge bmw guys but is the 320 - other bmw lovers talk about how its a great drivers car but wasn't the older (2012) a better driver? Here's what edmunds comment "Base price skyrockets with options; electric-assist steering sacrifices some feel; skinnier tires in this base model."

    • I'll put my tables away- TKO.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,280

    Lots of read testing going on here; much like arguing about movies when you've only seen the trailers...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • justg0justg0 Posts: 62

    Yeah, there are plenty of reviews out on 320i, most being positive. Here are a couple that I can point to:

    http://jalopnik.com/the-six-letters-you-need-to-know-if-you-want-a-bmw-472513915

    http://jalopnik.com/let-chris-harris-explain-why-the-jalopnik-edition-bmw-1514877066

    If you haven't drive one, definitely watch the video above.

    But you really have to drive it to feel it. Reading stuff can only do so much. I would love to hear from people who have driven one, especially with ZSP...

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,148

    I heard this a lot when I was looking at a 535i (2001 model I think) back then. Oh, too slow, underpowered, what a dog, yada yada yada.

    except when I drove it, I found it incredibly well balanced, smooth, and powerful. Merging down an on ramp at 40 it shot up to 70 quite quickly (and smoothly!). Maybe the manual tranny helped, but I doubt I would have ever thought it was underpowered.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733

    The article above said it perfectly...

    "here’s who should also consider the 320i: urban commuters seeking BMW handling, luxury, connectivity and panache, and those upon whom the harsh realization has dawned that they don’t need a rocket car to satisfy their daily driving needs. From stoplight-to-stoplight, it would be rather nice to use less gas, and it’s equally nice to spend less money."

    There's a harsh bit of reality in all of that, though. The type of driver who is all of that will be buying the car with automatic virtually 100% of the time.(barring some oddball statistical freak who you find to come here on this forum just to dispute this)

    So no manual. But, wait... everyone says that to be ELLPS it has to have manual...

    So are we talking "offered with manual so that I can say it qualifies, despite that nobody buys this model with manual" or "It's not the real thing unless it has manual - let me show you the pictures"?

    So... no manual, no power, no luxury, and 30K?

    Tell me how this qualifies. All I get out of this equation is ELS... Entry level sedan. If we are to believe that article, the driver who is satisfied with that for their daily driving needs would probably be happy with anything if it had the right badge on it to impress their co-workers for a few seconds.

    P.S. I'd like to see the person who has one here answer me that question: Manual or Automatic in your 320i?

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,280

    @stickguy said: I heard this a lot when I was looking at a 535i (2001 model I think) back then. Oh, too slow, underpowered, what a dog, yada yada yada.

    except when I drove it, I found it incredibly well balanced, smooth, and powerful. Merging down an on ramp at 40 it shot up to 70 quite quickly (and smoothly!). Maybe the manual tranny helped, but I doubt I would have ever thought it was underpowered.

    You're dead wrong stick, the guys who have only read about E39s know MUCH more about them than than you do! Two of my BMWs have 150 bhp or less and they are two of my all-time favorite cars to drive. In fact, I still use the Club Sport at HPDEs; my students are amazed at how fast an "underpowered car" can go when driven properly.

    On the other hand, I have a hot hatch that puts over 300 bhp through the front wheels. It is also fun, but in an entirely different way.

    Of course many of the "experts" in this topic would dismiss all three cars because-oh the horror!-none of them have full leather power seats. The seats are extremely comfortable and have outstanding lateral support, but those attributes pale in comparison to the ability to push a button and move your seat 1mm forward or back...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,325

    @flightnurse said: Interesting comment coming from someone who never owned a BMW, just for the record, my loaner was a 328d, which had M sport package. The dealership I deal with had X1's, 328i, 328d's and a few X5's. No 320i's as loaners.

    To be fair your offering a sample of one single BMW dealer, and the 320 has just come out recently. Give it a few years. Still, maybe I was being overly harsh, I"m sure they'll be an assortment of loaners, only it will probably include the 320.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403

    Well then, the argument for the 320 has to be that a 328 is not worth an extra $50 a month. That seems a bit weak, no?

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  • justg0justg0 Posts: 62

    @Mr_Shiftright said: Well then, the argument for the 320 has to be that a 328 is not worth an extra $50 a month. That seems a bit weak, no?

    I think its worth it for people looking for that extra hp. Its the same argument when going from 328 to 335. Is that extra hp worth the premium you pay? Only the person buying can decide that for themselves.

    Another thing is that in reality the difference comes out to be more like $100 or more. The moment a dealer gets a car with Sport line or M Sport, they put some much other stuff that the car gets lot more expensive. I was hard pressed to find a 328i with just Sport line and nothing much more. So unless you are willing to custom order and wait, you would end up paying much more.

    @plekto said:

    So no manual. But, wait... everyone says that to be ELLPS it has to have manual...

    I can bet 90% of people who buy the cars in the ELLPS category, whether BMW, Audi, Lexus, Mercedes, etc. get automatic (and also probably have never seen this forum). I haven't looked at any data on this, so if someone has anything to support or refute this, would appreciate that. I am just going on based on what I found on dealer lots when I was looking. So, in that case none of these cars would qualify to be a ELLPS, we might as well close this forum down :wink:

    And yes, I did get an automatic, but that's my personal preference. BMW does make it available in manual like their other 3 series.

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