I posted my thoughts on the 2005 325i last year and I must say that I had the opportunity to buy the E90 instead of the E46. Side by side comparison made my decision to get the E46 an easy one. The E46 seemed to be a "better" car, more room, better amenities and, a far better price. I know this is opinion and well, as they say, opinions are like _____, everybody has one. That one happens to be mine.
Having said that I recently read in a business newspaper that BMW sold around 75,000 vehicles in January 2006, the majority of which were the E90. Not too bad for a shabby car?
The E90 is just so bland compared to the E46. Where Bangle's 5 series has a certain drama and novelty value, his 3 series just looks anonymous. The details that made the late E46's so appealing such as the flared front arches and intricately shaped headlights are gone and replaced by nothing much in particular.
The 320i I drove felt heavier than my E46 320i and the new four cannot compare to the old six for aural appeal and smoothness. It struggled at low revs with what I suspect is a very heavy car, and the steering felt lifeless. The interior is barren and lacks the old car's "cockpit" feel, and the person responsible for i-Drive should be strung up.
I won't be "upgrading" to an E90 as you can probably tell!
In the market for a new car, in the past only owned V8 Fords.
Never having owned a BMW before, we road tested one with an open mind. I loathed the plastic woodgrain dash. The car felt slow and heavy. Disliked the seats. More like an old mans car!!! We didn't like its blandness and wanted something more sporty and responsive, hence after road testing we purchased a V8 S4 Audi.
In response to the previous commentor, the styling used to be one of the X factors that contributed to the joys of owning a BMW.
The current 3 just does not inspire a "want one now" feeling with some (myself included, and I've owned eight 3 series till now).
The new 3 may drive well on a switchback road, but take it anywhere else and it feels too large compared to its immediate predecessor.
I am the original reviewer, I got a bit of flack in the beginning of this review in a couple of comments. Glad to see its not just me who thinks the 3 series has lost the touch. Now I am not a 3 series owner I have had 2 brand new 2.2D jags X type and now a 2006 Grand Cherokee -- I see the 3 series now and it does not even turn my head, but mind you I cannot wait for the M3 -- that I hope will not be a let down because if the SE is something to go by the Audi RS4 is going to be the winner.
I have owned in the past, 4 six-cylinder e39 5 series, an e46 320d sport, an e60 520d sport and currently an e90 330d M sport. Without a single doubt the later is by far and away the best of the bunch. The e90 is as easy to drive as a micra yet has more grunt that a few Porsches I’ve been in over the years. If you don’t believe me try one for yourself. The harder you push the more it rewards.
My solution to overcome its admittedly "safe" styling (even in sport guise) was to take a cue from the Audi guys and buy a bright red one. Very rare, and in my opinion totally stunning and a welcome change from black, silver and Le Mans blue.
The space inside the car is an equal to that of the previous e39 5 series and a lot more roomy than the e46 and ridiculously cramped rear of the A4.
I think BMW learnt a very quick lesson with the ridiculous quality of the launch X3 models and I don’t think they’ll go down those roads again.
A lot of car manufacturers have improved the “showroom appeal” of their car ranges, but it is in the longevity of the parts where the likes of BMW stand out from the crowd. Considering how many BMW’s are driven relatively hard it is testament to the quality and engineering that makes them a worthwhile investment.
Just had a week with an E91 320d hire car on holiday in Italy. I don't feel that a week allows too much objective comment, but have a few points to make. I've never liked the 3-series image despite knowing that the actual machine is undoubtedly very good. Admittedly, I was quietly excited at the thought of hooning around Tuscan hairpins. But I handed back the keys with mixed feelings.
Engine was fabulous, power delivery smooth, but surprisingly urgent. Felt solidly fast, but quiet too. Ride was pretty good despite the run flats. Taught, composed handling with plenty of grip, keen turn in etc. It all felt high quality. Some of the controls were disappointing though. Annoying indicators, handbrake with no bite until the top of its travel (only 8000km on the clock), surprisingly long throw and rubbery gearbox, tricky selection between first and reverse gears when making a swift 3-point turn. Also, I love gadgets, but certain controls just need a button rather than a fiddly I-Drive menu entry. Possibly I just needed to get the 'knack' better. The seats were OK, but neither particularly comfortably cosseting or sportily supportive.
Importantly, sitting down with a beer at the end of the day looking at the thing parked in front of me I have to say that from all, but the full frontal view, it looks either ugly or unremarkable. I gave the keys back with no real sadness although it was a great drive in many ways.
The lease period comes up on my current Golf MkV Tdi in 18 months time and this should have been the moment where, with an expanding family, the BMW 320d touring made a case for itself as the only future choice. But I probably won't be choosing one. For 95% of my driving, the BMW's dynamics just don't matter, its not perfect and I would be left with a high quality, but ugly, expensive car that many other road users would dislike me for. Getting back in the Golf at Gatwick, it felt flat, noisy and a bit low rent, but comfier and more far more willing to skip around the tight maze of the airport car park on the way home. Yes, it's a smaller car, but the four passengers had no less room and amazingly the boot in the hatchback was not much fuller than the bigger BMW estate's.
I do not find the new 3 (e90) to be ugly at all. Some of you folks just need to get with the times. When the new 5 came out I thought it was ugly too, but over the years it has grown on me and now I rather see it as a work of art, really. When the 5 series came out it was ahead of it's time.
And just look at Benz and Lexus/Toyota now copying the Bangle-Butt.
The new 3-series is modern looking and can you really fault BMW with making it somewhat bland than radical looking?