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      12-02-2016, 08:35 PM   #1
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I own a 2011 X5 xdrive 50i (bought used) which I just put into the BMW dealer today for some recall work.

I am by no means an elitist (says me) but this 320 BMW xdrive they gave me doesn't seem much better then a Chevy Malibu.

I can't believe folks would pay this much money for a mediocre small car?

Just knowing that the M3 or 340 version of this car can't be much different then what I have now seems like a let down.

I previously had a 2008 Passat VR6 4motion. Given the choice, I'd rather drive the old Passat then a brand new 3 series.

What do you think? Am I way off base here or is this the ultimate driving machine that I grew up listening to commercials lusting after?
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      12-02-2016, 08:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan5034 View Post
I own a 2011 X5 xdrive 50i (bought used) which I just put into the BMW dealer today for some recall work.

I am by no means an elitist (says me) but this 320 BMW xdrive they gave me doesn't seem much better then a Chevy Malibu.

I can't believe folks would pay this much money for a mediocre small car?

Just knowing that the M3 or 340 version of this car can't be much different then what I have now seems like a let down.

I previously had a 2008 Passat VR6 4motion. Given the choice, I'd rather drive the old Passat then a brand new 3 series.

What do you think? Am I way off base here or is this the ultimate driving machine that I grew up listening to commercials lusting after?
I've had ample seat time in a: 320, 328, 335, 340, M3/M4 (All F chassis). I own the F30 and the F80. If you think the 320 is not that different from the M3, you are out of your mind.
      12-02-2016, 09:12 PM   #3
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This is the shittiest trim 3 series you have. There's a reason why dealerships use this as their preferred lending car, it's because it's cheap in every literal sense. They also turn this piece of crap around at the end of the year as a demo and lose practically nothing selling it. It is in no way representative of what a 335,340 or an M3 is. Just as much as the 340 can not compare to the M3, this can not be compared to any of the other trims.
Maybe you should test drive a 340 or an M3 to get what we are talking about.

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      12-02-2016, 09:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exo-shell View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan5034 View Post
I own a 2011 X5 xdrive 50i (bought used) which I just put into the BMW dealer today for some recall work.

I am by no means an elitist (says me) but this 320 BMW xdrive they gave me doesn't seem much better then a Chevy Malibu.

I can't believe folks would pay this much money for a mediocre small car?

Just knowing that the M3 or 340 version of this car can't be much different then what I have now seems like a let down.

I previously had a 2008 Passat VR6 4motion. Given the choice, I'd rather drive the old Passat then a brand new 3 series.

What do you think? Am I way off base here or is this the ultimate driving machine that I grew up listening to commercials lusting after?
I've had ample seat time in a: 320, 328, 335, 340, M3/M4 (All F chassis). I own the F30 and the F80. If you think the 320 is not that different from the M3, you are out of your mind.
Completely out of your mind. Drive them then decide. Different cars for different drivers. There's a reason the 329 costs what it does and the 340/M3 cost what they do.
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      12-02-2016, 09:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan5034 View Post
I am by no means an elitist (says me) but this 320 BMW xdrive they gave me doesn't seem much better then a Chevy Malibu.
Can you expand on this so we know what you mean specifically?
Are you talking about the:
-Seats
-Power
-Transmission
-Comfort
-Suspension

....or any of the other hundreds of things that define how a car is?

Before I got my M3 (and I've driven most everything in the BMW lineup), I would have vouched that the 340i x-drive could be one of the best all around cars you could buy, period. The platform is a great one.

The 320i is absolutely underwhelming, but hey if you want to say you own a 3 series bimmer but your pockets aren't that deep, there you go.

Have you driven a base Audi A3? I'd be curious to get your take on that.
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      12-02-2016, 10:10 PM   #6
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The 340i and M3 are a WAYY different to the 320i. There is no way you would pay extra grands for something similar. BMW releases models like 320i for people that want an affordable car and still be able to wear the BMW badge.
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      12-02-2016, 10:14 PM   #7
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320 is not even in the same ball park as a 335/340 or m3. Same series but 3 totally different cars. The 320 is your mom and pops missionary position basic Bimmer. It is a point a to point b car for people who like to brag that they own a BMW.
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      12-02-2016, 10:17 PM   #8
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While upper 3 series models including the M3 is night and day to the 320 I will say in proportion todays 320s pail in comparison the likes of yesterdays E30 318i etc

The main reason is the 318 was still a divers car, but the 320 is ..... im not sure what the hell a 320 is supposed to be besides a BMW anyone can afford.
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      12-02-2016, 10:24 PM   #9
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Ok seems like the majority of folks are saying a top spec 3 series is significantly better then a 320.

That's fair. I hope so cause the plastic dash, cheap seats crappy engine can be had in an Honda Accord for less $$.

I didn't buy one nor do I have any intent. And believe me I'm grateful for my dealer able to provide me a car that I can drive home 250 miles away.

It's just I read the magazines and articles and YouTube saying how great a car the BMW 3 series is and I just don't see it in this car.

I'm not here to incite a riot but here to spark a conversation. :-). Keep it coming!
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      12-02-2016, 10:31 PM   #10
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Sassicia- I believe you are totally right- this is a BMW that people can afford.

That said, regardless of engine /powertrain the same chassis / platform and suspension design is at play here, right?

Macpherson struts? I can get that in my Minivan. It's a cheap design for the masses. Does the M3 have the same front suspension design?
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      12-02-2016, 10:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan5034 View Post
Ok seems like the majority of folks are saying a top spec 3 series is significantly better then a 320.

That's fair. I hope so cause the plastic dash, cheap seats crappy engine can be had in an Honda Accord for less $$.

I didn't buy one nor do I have any intent. And believe me I'm grateful for my dealer able to provide me a car that I can drive home 250 miles away.

It's just I read the magazines and articles and YouTube saying how great a car the BMW 3 series is and I just don't see it in this car.

I'm not here to incite a riot but here to spark a conversation. :-). Keep it coming!
Because you are not understanding how German automakers develop their cars. The 3 series is your Civic, your 4 and 6 banger Accord and Acura TL; all under one umbrella. It's all about how much you want to spend. Drive a m-sport 340 loaded up or a M3 and then come back here. What you drove is BMWs version of a base model Civic.
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You can detect right away those that are going to be shaky, and that will fall behind and those that are very hungry, and that hunger you will have to develop. You gotta create a goal for yourself whatever that may be, a short term goal and a long term goal and you gotta go after that. And if you donít see it, and if you donít believe it, who else will?
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      12-02-2016, 10:38 PM   #12
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I think everyone here was trying to give feedback to your question. I dont think any of the reviews are made specifically for the 320 per se and most reviewers will get a heavily optioned car to examine, for example the M3 ZCP that was reviewed by car and driver had every option that car could have, pretty much taking it's sticker price to well north of 90k

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      12-02-2016, 10:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan5034 View Post
I own a 2011 X5 xdrive 50i (bought used) which I just put into the BMW dealer today for some recall work.

I am by no means an elitist (says me) but this 320 BMW xdrive they gave me doesn't seem much better then a Chevy Malibu.

I can't believe folks would pay this much money for a mediocre small car?

Just knowing that the M3 or 340 version of this car can't be much different then what I have now seems like a let down.

I previously had a 2008 Passat VR6 4motion. Given the choice, I'd rather drive the old Passat then a brand new 3 series.

What do you think? Am I way off base here or is this the ultimate driving machine that I grew up listening to commercials lusting after?
Listen I thought my brother's 328 was underwhelming let alone your lil 320 and got the 340i which is the love of my life right now .. so back off!
Just kiddin.. but yea the 320 is a bit (alot) underpowered esp against 335/340/M3 which is really where its at imo
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      12-02-2016, 10:47 PM   #14
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No problem. They didn't offer me a 328 or anything I just took what I got.
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      12-02-2016, 10:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan5034 View Post
Sassicia- I believe you are totally right- this is a BMW that people can afford.

That said, regardless of engine /powertrain the same chassis / platform and suspension design is at play here, right?

Macpherson struts? I can get that in my Minivan. It's a cheap design for the masses. Does the M3 have the same front suspension design?
No, and over half the parts in the M3 are different then the standard 3 series. Its essentially a different car.
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      12-02-2016, 10:56 PM   #16
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Not to mention that the 320 loaner won't come with sports seats.
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You can detect right away those that are going to be shaky, and that will fall behind and those that are very hungry, and that hunger you will have to develop. You gotta create a goal for yourself whatever that may be, a short term goal and a long term goal and you gotta go after that. And if you donít see it, and if you donít believe it, who else will?
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      12-03-2016, 11:31 AM   #17
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With due respect, if one doesn't think a 3-series, any 3-series, is better than a Malibu and would take a boat-sized family car that you can put your wife, 2.5 kids and dog in, explicitly prefer an "old Passat then a brand new 3 series," then there's really not much to contest.

It's apples & oranges. The OP obviously prefers size, comfort and luxury over the fun of driving a lighter more nimble car. I once drove a bare bones manual E36 318 that I'd prefer over any fully loaded Malibu or Passat anytime any day. Talk about road feel, that 318 had it.

And in converse with the OP, I currently have no interest in a large 5000lb X5... at least not until I'm too old to care about driving and just want something with a high-angle truck-like view, to get from point A to point B in high luxury & comfort. To each his own.
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      12-03-2016, 11:36 AM   #18
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Ryan your post seems a little trollish. I just find it hard to believe anyone could think if the base 320 is inadequate that automatically the whole rest of the 3 series line would suck and that M3 and 340 "can't be much different". Not buying it.
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      12-03-2016, 11:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhog View Post
Ryan your post seems a little trollish. I just find it hard to believe anyone could think if the base 320 is inadequate that automatically the whole rest of the 3 series line would suck and that M3 and 340 "can't be much different". Not buying it.
Is it a simple case of first impressions?

I'm a long term BMW user and learned years ago that there are massive differences with specifications in a model range. Not just in the 3-series.

My first drive in an F11 wagon, (on launch day) was a sparsely equipped 4-cylinder diesel. If I had not been familiar with BMW, would have passed and looked for something else, from Ford or whoever. My F11 from further up the range, with added options, is in a different league, even with the same under pinnings.
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      12-03-2016, 12:10 PM   #20
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Well I don't know what constitutes being a troll per se. But I did actually drive one home and it's sitting in my garage right now. Again this is just a loaner, I have no intentions of buying or owning it. I have about 250 miles behind the wheel so it more then just a test drive's worth of experience.
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      12-03-2016, 12:16 PM   #21
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Once again shit on a 320i thread....Great. I thought we were all suppose to be enthusiast who support each other!

I love my 320i! Say what you want. I didn't buy the car to get a cheap Roundel, I bought it because the way it drives. It's dynamic, fun, light, and cost effective. It's a car I daily that won't get me into trouble and is exciting in the turns, yet comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

My recommendation to you is try a 320i Sport package and drive it like you stole it. If you ever drove a good Honda like the s2000, and Type R, or built one in the past. The car comes close to those fun dynamics.
      12-03-2016, 12:31 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan5034 View Post
I own a 2011 X5 xdrive 50i (bought used) which I just put into the BMW dealer today for some recall work.

I am by no means an elitist (says me) but this 320 BMW xdrive they gave me doesn't seem much better then a Chevy Malibu.

I can't believe folks would pay this much money for a mediocre small car?

Just knowing that the M3 or 340 version of this car can't be much different then what I have now seems like a let down.

I previously had a 2008 Passat VR6 4motion. Given the choice, I'd rather drive the old Passat then a brand new 3 series.

What do you think? Am I way off base here or is this the ultimate driving machine that I grew up listening to commercials lusting after?

Thank you for letting us know that our cars are mediocre small cars. Since almost all of us have F3x's with larger engines and more options and packages than (not then) the 320, we must be even stupider than the 320 buyer since our cars can't be that much different and they cost a shitload more than the 320 which is already too much money. We are really stupid.
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