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      05-11-2012, 06:23 PM   #1

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My F30 328i Drive Event Review

Just completed the BMW Drive Event at BMW Encinitas (San Diego area) and wanted to share my review of the 328i. I drove it against an Audi A4 S-Line provided at the event. The 328i had every option on it except the Sport Package. Yep, non-Sport.

Background: Past BMW: 2007 E93 335i Current BMW: 2011 F10 535i and 2002 E46 M3. BMW is all about "sport" to me. I have every sport-oriented option available on my 535i -- Sport Package, Dynamic Dampeners, Anti-Roll Stabilization, Integral Active Steering... even the 6MT tranny!

Exterior Big win for the BMW. I like the F30 body style so much more than the Audi

Seats Slight edge to the Audi. The Audi seat was a little more supportive and had better leather.

Instrument panel Edge to the BMW. The Audi certainly looked nice and presented the driver interface well... but it was just too cluttered for my taste. The BMW was simpler and more direct. Made for a more pleasant interior.

Brakes Big win for the Audi here. The braking pedal feel was much better on the Audi and the stopping power was obviously better on the Audi. Nice job in this department for BMW's competitor.

Engine/Tranny Big win for BMW. As much as the Audi had better brakes, the BMW had better acceleration and tranny behavior. I'm guessing the Audi had a 6-speed tranny. But even though I had it in "S" mode the whole time, it still lugged compared to the BMW 8-speed even when not in "S" mode. The BMW engine sounded better, too.

Auto Stop/Start This is my first experience with the BMW Auto Stop/Start functionality. The engine shutdown was worse than I imagined. It definitely isn't seamless with a noticeable shake when the engine stops. But start-up was very fast and seamless. As soon as I took my foot off the brake, the engine was back on. Very nice.

328 vs. 335 I chose to drive the 328i at this event because I wanted to try BMW's new 4-cylinder to compare against the I-6 328i I've driven in the past. The 328i power was pretty reasonable. More torque than the I-6 version for sure. Having said that, if I buy an F30 it will definitely be a 335i.

Future cars My 535i lease is up in another year. Not sure what I'm going to replace it with yet. Maybe the 335i... but realistically I'd love to move up from my 5-series to a 6-series. The ideal car would be the 6GC... the most beautiful car BMW makes. I just have to convince myself I want to spend that kind of money.

Thanks for the Drive Event BMW, a great way for marketting to get people to drive new BMWs.
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