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      02-07-2012, 07:13 PM   #1
MonsterM
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C/D 328i First Drive

Interesting read. According to C/D:

2012 335i 0-60 5.3 sec (tested)
2012 328i 0-60 5.7 sec (estimate)
2009 328i 0-60 5.9 sec (tested)


BMW won’t say how many manual-transmission 3-series it sells in the United States for “competitive reasons.” It’s not as many as in Europe, where 3-series sedans are sold in great numbers with small gasoline and turbo-diesel engines paired with manuals, but enough are moved here to keep a six-speed manual on the order sheet as a no-cost option. In the States, the cheapest of the new F30-generation 3-series is the 328i sedan, equipped with BMW’s new N20 turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder and starting at $35,795. That’s a savings of $7500 compared to the 2012 turbo six-cylinder 335i sedan.

BMW was chasing fuel economy with its 3-series overhaul and the 328i manual reviewed here scores toward the top of the class—23 mpg city/34 highway—in EPA testing. The optional eight-speed auto, as a no-cost option or a $500 “sport” auto option with paddles and sport/manual shift modes, does even better, at 24/36. Considering the small size of the all-aluminum 2.0-liter engine and how tall the gearing is in the double-overdrive manual—first gear is good up to 42 mph, the electronically limited 130-mph base top speed is reached by fourth (the Sport goes 155)—the 328i is still a fairly lively, if perhaps not quite ultimate, driving machine.

The 240-hp four, which replaces the 230-hp six in last year’s 328i sedan, has such flat torque delivery that it behaves more like a modern diesel. Peak torque of 255 lb-ft arrives at just 1250 rpm and stays level to 4800, so the 328i steams forward with a surge of acceleration almost from idle. BMW quotes a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.7 seconds, which, if accurate, isn’t much slower than the 5.3 seconds we just recorded with a new 335i manual (BMW quotes 5.4 on that car). For reference, a 2009 328i manual sedan we tested hit the mark in 5.9 seconds.

So far, this is the most refined application of this engine. In the 528s and Z4s we’ve driven, the N20 sometimes felt lumpy or surge-y as it worked hard with an aggressive throttle to mask its smallness. In the 328i, this turbo direct-injection four comes into its own, with smooth, even flows of power. No, it won’t be confused with the outgoing six, as its distinct idle vibration and sound signature betray its less physics-friendly configuration. And when a 328i pulls up, a pronounced ticking from the injectors also gives away its identity. BMW tried hard to suppress the N20’s diesel-like injector noise with both an acoustic cover and a thick rubber pad on top of the engine, but it remains somewhat noticeable.

Still, there are upsides in addition to the expected fuel savings. The 328i simply feels lighter—and is lighter, as BMW says it weighs 165 pounds less than the latest 335i—and more nimble than its six-cylinder stablemate. The suspension offers both cosseting compliance and firm control through corners, and the brakes are marvelous. Fitted with the manual, the 328i is a perfect companion for sluicing through holes in traffic on the daily slog to work. As with the last 3-series, the clutch is firmly sprung and the shift gates are narrowly spaced, short, and precise. The throttle calibrations work perfectly to make it easy to match revs with selected gears. There’s no “throttle hanging,” as in some earlier BMWs, which made smooth shifting an elusive art.

The 328i sounds like a steal at its price, except that, as with all BMWs, the good stuff is optional and it quickly drives the window sticker into the 40s and beyond. For example, only two colors (white and black) are standard; the rest run $550. The new Luxury, Modern, and Sport trim upgrades run $1400, $1400, and $1700 respectively. The iDrive interface is standard, but navigation and the head-up display come in a $2550 Technology package. And so on.

That said, the savings over the 335i are substantial, and considering that about 80 percent of the old E90 3-series sedans were sold as 328s last year, it’s not hard to imagine the base 3 model pushing to even higher levels of penetration with its new four-cylinder.

via: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...-drive-reviews
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      02-07-2012, 07:20 PM   #2
justinnum1
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They havent actually tested a 328 yet...manual or auto...those are estimates
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      02-07-2012, 07:34 PM   #3
MonsterM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
They havent actually tested a 328 yet...manual or auto...those are estimates
I just realized that. Thanks for bringing it up.
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      02-07-2012, 07:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonsterM View Post
The new Luxury, Modern, and Sport trim upgrades run $1400, $1400, and $1700 respectively.
Those line prices are for 335i.
For 328i, they cost $2100, $2100, and $2500 - for no good reason.
Plus Lux & Modern require Premium Pkg, which runs $3600 on 328i.
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