I first experienced a BMW almost 30 years ago. A teacher at my grade school had second generation 325i (1982-1991), which a lot of people consider the best 3 series ever.
And I’m one of them, that little car was the perfect combination of style, performance and comfort.
I had a high school friend whose parents had a third generation 325 (1993-1998), and it was a cool looking car but didn’t seem to have the firmness and pure driving style like that second generation.
And then I have a close friend who is a BMW aficionado, he first had a third generation 525 (1988-1995), that was a five speed manual and was an absolute blast. He then had a fourth generation 325 (1998-2005), it was way more refined, nice car but different set up and feel.
He very recently bought a fifth generation (2206-2011), 335i. We test drove one a few weeks ago with the 3.0 twin turbo inline six cylinder and its exhilarating. Reminds me of that first BMW I expierenced 30 years ago with a lot more power but quintessential BMW balance of handling and boost. Very little turbo lag and you ride "tight", its you the car and the road.
You have to remember with these cars, it’s not just about flat out speed or performance. It’s about the “driving experience”.
Your seat is made of leather but it’s a firm seat that holds you in, not butter soft.
The steering has no play it in, it’s direct and keeps you closely in tuned with the vehicle, some people say these cars are “over engineered” but remember these car a designed to be truly driven. On the Autobahn in Germany or on the open expressways here.
For years I used to roll my eyes when certain car magazines just made such a big deal out of these cars and how great they were.
But if you like to drive and not just cruise along or commute, then yes these are great cars. They provide an experience like few other cars.
These cars are made for the driver in mind first, so it’s a different mindset, everything is thought out and it seems like the rest of us are just rolling along.
When it comes to these cars it’s the opposite of a SUV or a minivan where you are thinking capability, capacity, entertaining kids, etc.
This is about the driver, all about the driver and experiencing the road first hand.
A friend’s ex-wife who was a car enthusiast used to say that when you drive a manual transmission, “it’s the difference between driving & steering”.
Here with BMW you interact with the car, (now granted their iDrive electronic and navigational system may leave much to be desired), but especially when you look at BMW’s from a few years ago, people are looking for that driver’s car.
Motor Trend & Motorweek both say that has been reestablished in the new 2 Series, especially the M2 performance car.
But that’s out of a lot of people’s reach, so they reach back to the previous models hence the popularity.
I mean think about it, driving is one of the few things we can truly control in this crazy world we live in. You can get in your car, and be “locked in” to going down the road, have some good music and enjoy yourself.
Some people want to take that to the next level with a full on driving experience and that’s where BMW comes in with cars that provide an engineered car that suites that need.
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Filed under: Cars