2012 BMW 328i Sedan (F30) – First Look and Review

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BMW’S NEW LINES

The 3er is now available in what BMW calls “lines.”  Specifically, in addition to the base 3er, you have a choice of the Sport, Luxury, or Modern line – plus there will be an M Sport model available later on as well.  The lines differ from, for example, the sport package that a buyer could order with prior generation 3ers.  While there are distinctive styling details that would have come with a sport package, the differentiations created by the lines go deeper.  This includes, for example, a light-colored dash and steering wheel in the Modern line that is complemented by an exclusive open-pored wood.

My Glacier Silver 328i had the Sports line, which included a hefty leather sports steering wheel with red stitching to contrast the red leather sports seats, 18” Sports line specific light alloy wheels, the adaptive M suspension, door mirror caps in black, brushed aluminum interior trim, high-gloss black exterior trim, and an anthracite headliner.

DRIVING THE NEW 3ER

I only spent a short time with the manual-transmission 3er but both versions were impressive.  As expected, the BMW clutch was perfect with just the right engagement point and the four-cylinder was responsive and entertaining.  The eight-speed automatic doesn’t of course engage the driver quite as much but it shifted at the right points and the paddle shifters makes for rapid downshifts.

Before driving the 3er, I was a bit concerned because the 2012 model now has electric power assist and that can greatly reduce feedback.  The 3er has a nice on-center feel and feedback is decent, although nowhere as good as the previous generation.

We’ll be spending more time with the 3 Series in the coming months so stay tuned for further reports.  A hybrid version of the 3er will be coming to the U.S. later this year and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a diesel in early 2013.

2013 BMW 328i
Base price/price-as-tested $34,900/$50,870
Drivetrain Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 2.0-liter/240 hp/255 lb-ft torque/I-4
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Curb weight  (lbs) 3461
Wheelbase  (inches) 110.6
Length x width x height  (inches) 182.5 x 71.3 x 56.3
0-60 mph (seconds) 5.7
City/highway fuel economy (mpg) 24/36

 

 

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