In defense of the BMW 3-Series

As dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts, it’s easy to be dismissive of the BMW 3-Series, given all the stigma-laden baggage that these cars come with:

  • In some parts of the country, they can be about as ubiquitous as Toyota Camrys
  • Stock and stripped down to base trim, they can be about as exciting
  • Plenty of people who remain deeply unpassionate about cars can be found driving them (which, given their aforementioned ubiquity, should be statistically unsurprising)
  • People of all stripes – enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike – drive them poorly (though to be fair, we can’t help but wonder whether this is less factual and more a matter of popular perception– in other words, are people behind the wheel of a modern BMW really disproportionately bad street drivers?)
  • For as long as we can remember, they have (rather obnoxiously, as these things are wont to be) been something of a status symbol, not unlike a designer watch, a ZIP code, or a newly-acquired job function or title (“junior executive”; “middle manager”)

But the simple truth is, they’re great cars- the 335i in particular. With its near-50/50 weight distribution (much-ballyhooed, but rightfully so), 3OO hp, and 3OO lb-ft of torque, it’s probably about as much car as 99% of us could possibly ever need (we are firmly in the camp that it is better to drive a slow car fast than it is to drive a fast car slow- not that anyone in their right mind would ever accuse the 335i of being slow). And if driving enjoyment and four-door practicality in a single package [within this price range] were the objective, the 335i would have to be high on top of anyone’s short list for consideration. Anything else would be intellectually dishonest.

In short, if none of us truly cared what the other guy thought, this might just be the car that more of us would want to drive.

Image: jonnysundell


~ by velofinds on February 19, 2010.

2 Responses to “In defense of the BMW 3-Series”

  1. Come on! The 3 Series is a classic driver’s car. I’ve owned two E46’s and they’ve both been incredible fun. Are they the fastest cars on the planet? Nope – but they’re excellent momentum cars once wound up.

    I’ve not been able to pull the trigger on the E90 yet to replace my E46…too attached.

  2. I’m a proud owner of an e90 and I am in love with it. It’s not a racing machine for sure, but there’s room so I can throw my snowboard in it with some friends and truly enjoy the mountain roads on the way up. I may get some carsick friends in the back, but they knew what they were getting in to when the climbed in! The steering and ‘road feel’ are just unmatched. (Though my previous car, a Mazda 3 hatch, had fantastic steering too :))

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