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      02-03-2014, 03:01 PM   #1
drob23
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Chris Harris BMW 320i Review

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Chris Harris reviews the new 2014 BMW 320i at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in California.
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      02-03-2014, 03:34 PM   #2
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Very nice. There is a nostalgic factor in buying a 320i, which is hard to ignore (for those owning BMW's for long enough to remember). I think it invokes basic driving feelings which are often lost in much more powerful engines. The engine and the pull of the car is not excessive enough to distract you from the steering feedback and handling refinements. I would imagine it is a much more balanced and well rounded driving experience. I think this car will be a hit with both enthusiasts and new BMW owners who don't have a clue that they just stumbled on one of the industry's biggest bargains, which also happens to carry a BMW badge.
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      02-03-2014, 04:01 PM   #3
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Nice one. Only 1000 miles in but I love the car and with BMS Stage 1, it's quick. Excellent handling and road feel with the sport package, refined & the only real 'bargain' in the model line-up.

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      02-03-2014, 04:13 PM   #4
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I can't wait for Chris to review the new M3/M4.
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      02-03-2014, 04:28 PM   #5
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I'll be checking out this review after work. This could have been a contender for me, but I really wanted the M Sport package.
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      02-03-2014, 04:34 PM   #6
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If money isn't an issue, I'd still vote for the 328i. You get M Sport, nicer features standard, more options to add on, more power out of the box etc.. 328i can get real pricey though but it's obviously a better car. I think it makes sense how they did it though with the 3 series this time around having the 320 as the entry point, the 328 in the middle and the 335 at the high end. My wife's friend has a loaded e90 328i, premium, cold weather, sport, everything that i've driven quite a bit and all in and all, my 320 is a better car. Not quite as raw but a better car, despite that great I6. The new 328 on the other hand is such an evolution that it makes sense it's a more expensive, 'step up' in the line. My e90 coupe 6 speed was really bare bones and it was a fun car but I'd take my current car any day as a daily driver.
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      02-03-2014, 06:08 PM   #7
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I can't wait for Chris to review the new M3/M4.
+1
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      02-03-2014, 06:53 PM   #8
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. My e90 coupe 6 speed was really bare bones and it was a fun car but I'd take my current car any day as a daily driver.
What's your take on E9X 335 vs. F30 320?

That's always an interesting question to me, since the older N54 335 a good bit cheaper than a new F30 320, and the N54 really wakes up with a chip, much more than the 2 liter motors.
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      02-03-2014, 08:16 PM   #9
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I'm surprised I haven't seen many of these around me yet. I've seen a decent number of 328i's and no 335i's. I will correct that last one when mine gets here next month
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      02-03-2014, 08:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M235i
Very nice. There is a nostalgic factor in buying a 320i, which is hard to ignore (for those owning BMW's for long enough to remember). I think it invokes basic driving feelings which are often lost in much more powerful engines. The engine and the pull of the car is not excessive enough to distract you from the steering feedback and handling refinements. I would imagine it is a much more balanced and well rounded driving experience. I think this car will be a hit with both enthusiasts and new BMW owners who don't have a clue that they just stumbled on one of the industry's biggest bargains, which also happens to carry a BMW badge.
Nice collection you have
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      02-03-2014, 08:31 PM   #11
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It is a great value if you opt for the sport package, and nothing else (maybe the lighting package too). I'd also go 6MT in this car since the Sport Auto is not available in the 320i.

Any other options and you start getting into 328i territory. But w/ those two options and a 65% residual you're looking at a beast of a car for around the same payments as a Jetta or Camry.
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      02-03-2014, 08:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M235i View Post
Very nice. There is a nostalgic factor in buying a 320i, which is hard to ignore (for those owning BMW's for long enough to remember). I think it invokes basic driving feelings which are often lost in much more powerful engines. The engine and the pull of the car is not excessive enough to distract you from the steering feedback and handling refinements. I would imagine it is a much more balanced and well rounded driving experience. I think this car will be a hit with both enthusiasts and new BMW owners who don't have a clue that they just stumbled on one of the industry's biggest bargains, which also happens to carry a BMW badge.
Too bad so many will overlook this because to the majority it's all about torque, horsepower and how fast a car get go from 0-60 against brand X.

What I find frustrating is how many people will look at this car and how it's equipped and complain about the price. Maybe I'm not looking in the right spots but the price of something this size is around 30k. A 320i starts around 36k CAD. If I had to pick between a BRZ at $28k or a 320i, I'm picking the 320i without thinking or feeling like a "chump".
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      02-03-2014, 08:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TheBingoBalls View Post
Too bad so many will overlook this because to the majority it's all about torque, horsepower and how fast a car get go from 0-60 against brand X.

What I find frustrating is how many people will look at this car and how it's equipped and complain about the price. Maybe I'm not looking in the right spots but the price of something this size is around 30k. A 320i starts around 36k CAD. If I had to pick between a BRZ at $28k or a 320i, I'm picking the 320i without thinking or feeling like a "chump".
Not to mention you already have FI on the engine, so you can easily get another 100 lb-ft/HP or whatever people are seeing with a simple stg 1 jb4 piggyback tune, for $500!

http://www.f30post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=934316
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      02-03-2014, 09:08 PM   #14
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this is a boring cheap car that puts the starting price of a bmw 3er at 32k. these are the rental fleet cars enterprise uses at the dealership by me. Ive taken out their 328i's before this came out and this is nothing more than a more stripped down version of that (didnt know they could find away to take even more away). I cant believe manual seats are still on a bmw along with halogens. i couldnt imagine owning this as it feels cheaper than my e46 stripper i had. the engine is noisy and the plastic bits on the interior are cheap. you get more quality interior out of a chevy cruze. im sure many will disagree with me, but this car was only created to have a lower starting point in the US to compete with the c-class and audi a4. This has far less options than its competitors and is still overpriced. I'll definitely be skipping the f30 until at least the facelift. here's to fingers crossed on a 1er sedan with xdrive and the same engine but lighter.
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      02-03-2014, 09:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdeerfield View Post
this is a boring cheap car that puts the starting price of a bmw 3er at 32k. these are the rental fleet cars enterprise uses at the dealership by me. Ive taken out their 328i's before this came out and this is nothing more than a more stripped down version of that (didnt know they could find away to take even more away). I cant believe manual seats are still on a bmw along with halogens. i couldnt imagine owning this as it feels cheaper than my e46 stripper i had. the engine is noisy and the plastic bits on the interior are cheap. you get more quality interior out of a chevy cruze. im sure many will disagree with me, but this car was only created to have a lower starting point in the US to compete with the c-class and audi a4. This has far less options than its competitors and is still overpriced. I'll definitely be skipping the f30 until at least the facelift. here's to fingers crossed on a 1er sedan with xdrive and the same engine but lighter.
I respect your opinion. If you had your way, all cars would have power seats.

I don't care for manual seats. They weigh too much, they have motors that can and will break and they take too long to move. I had power seats in my E46 M and I swapped them out for manual ones. I get in the car, and quickly pull the seat up. I get out of the car, I quickly push them back.
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      02-03-2014, 09:46 PM   #16
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+1 on the sport pack PLUS the xenon lights. The upgraded lighting is a must have in my book, as it makes a big difference. I would gladly do without leather, power seats, etc. just to get that one feature.

All in all, this doesn't seem like a bad deal, as where else will you find a RWD sedan with manual transmission and decent handling for the low 30's? Too many are jaded by big horsepower/low 0-60 times. This would be considered a quick car not too many years ago. Since it's just a tune away from a pretty decent jump in power, wait until the warranty is up and get an aftermarket tune.

If it's just a difference in the ECU programming, I don't understand why BMW doesn't just make the 320i and 328i have the same power and call it a day. How about this - offer a budget model PPK for the 320i to upgrade it to 328i power with a warranty?
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      02-03-2014, 09:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdeerfield View Post
this is a boring cheap car that puts the starting price of a bmw 3er at 32k. these are the rental fleet cars enterprise uses at the dealership by me. Ive taken out their 328i's before this came out and this is nothing more than a more stripped down version of that (didnt know they could find away to take even more away). I cant believe manual seats are still on a bmw along with halogens. i couldnt imagine owning this as it feels cheaper than my e46 stripper i had. the engine is noisy and the plastic bits on the interior are cheap. you get more quality interior out of a chevy cruze. im sure many will disagree with me, but this car was only created to have a lower starting point in the US to compete with the c-class and audi a4. This has far less options than its competitors and is still overpriced. I'll definitely be skipping the f30 until at least the facelift. here's to fingers crossed on a 1er sedan with xdrive and the same engine but lighter.
I can see your point, but I had a 320i xDrive as a loaner a couple months ago and I was rather impressed. I thought the steering was crappy and when in Eco-Pro mode it was pretty brutal, but otherwise I thought it was a pretty solid, speedy for most, well done car. Yes, BMW cheaped out in some areas, but not overly brutal for most car buyers they are looking for in this segment. Sure, my 335 is a hell of a lot faster and seems to have better materials, but the 320i is still a pretty solid entry level effort for those needing 4 doors and you can put together a pretty solid package in the mid $30's...and with BMW's lease rates, drive out not giving away the farm. I do wish they had the M sport, however.

As for the 1er sedan, don't hold your breath. A good friend of mine is buddies with some high up people in NJ HQ and we talk BMW/cars on a daily basis and they don't see a need for a 1er sedan in the US. Could certainly change, but we were discussing the new M235 and the potential sedan version (1er) came up. Not looking good for that to ever come to our shores.
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      02-03-2014, 10:02 PM   #18
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Just built a 320i and 328i (CAD prices).

320i w/lightning package = $45,400 (taxes incl.)
328i w/Sport line, 6MT, Sport suspension = $54,703 (taxes incl.)

Sorry, but leather, power seats are not worth the $9300 price difference if I'm looking for a car to just drive. Add a tune to the 320 for around $500 and you're still under $46k. I don't know how you can say anything negative about the 320i and it's potential.
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      02-03-2014, 10:06 PM   #19
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Did Chris say the 320i has a turbo? It actually doesn't, it's just a 328i w/o the turbo but pushes better than a Corolla.

If ppl want a basic BMW, they should get it. It's just nothin but handle. I have a F30 335i and it's the best car I've had. It's better than 535, the S4, the C350, the IS 350 and even better than all the US muscle cars. Just install the Stage 1 and a drop in you are good to go!!!
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      02-03-2014, 10:12 PM   #20
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I'd wait few years, there will be a shitload of cheap 320s for pick-up.
I wouldn't mind owning a stripped down bmw with manual transmission, I just couldn't pay anything over $30k for it.
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      02-03-2014, 10:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ///M Power View Post
Did Chris say the 320i has a turbo? It actually doesn't, it's just a 328i w/o the turbo but pushes better than a Corolla.

If ppl want a basic BMW, they should get it. It's just nothin but handle. I have a F30 335i and it's the best car I've had. It's better than 535, the S4, the C350, the IS 350 and even better than all the US muscle cars. Just install the Stage 1 and a drop in you are good to go!!!
...The 320i does have a turbo. It's just a detuned N20.
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      02-03-2014, 10:44 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ///M Power View Post
Did Chris say the 320i has a turbo? It actually doesn't, it's just a 328i w/o the turbo but pushes better than a Corolla.

If ppl want a basic BMW, they should get it. It's just nothin but handle. I have a F30 335i and it's the best car I've had. It's better than 535, the S4, the C350, the IS 350 and even better than all the US muscle cars. Just install the Stage 1 and a drop in you are good to go!!!
....what?
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