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General BMW Model Discussion
All non E46 BMW model questions in here. Look below for E36, E90 and F30 specific forum. For additional model specific forums check out bimmerfest.com!

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Old 07-31-2008, 06:44 PM   #1
Gadgetrick
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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My Ride: ES330, Disco
Loaner: 328Xi impressions...

Ok, if you've followed my right rear sag issue you'll know my beloved 330Ci vert has been in the shop for 2 days. Not so much for the suspension questions as much as a few other things. They replaced both my window regulators (horay!) as well as the passenger side door lock actuator. Anyway, they gave me a loaner even though I didn't buy the car from them. (They being Paul Miller BMW in Wayne, NJ.)

They gave me a brandy spanking new (well, 2k miles anyway) 328Xi to tool around in. Auto trans but, hey, I can't complain TOO much...

My first impressions about the car are, I still prefer the look of the e46. Something about the angular look of the newer models just doesn't do it for me. Not that it's an ugly car at all but I just prefer the older looks. But I could have told you that without driving it.

The interior is nice but I get I get a better feeling from the interior of mine (it's an 04). Not that I can complain about the fit and finish of the interior, just doesn't feel as nice if you know what I mean. It's purely subjective of course.

I can say, however, I do not (at all) like the new gauges. They just feel, well, cheap and look like every other car in the world. Something about the older gauges with less clutter on them just makes them feel so much nicer.

I also think there's just way too much happening in there with the LED readout. Too much info!!!!

The radio, well, from an interface standpoint is horrible. It does seem to have better sound than the one in my 04 which is a good thing.

Another thing I don't like (at all) is they've gone away from the nice cool red lighting and have gone to a harsher orange lighting. YUCK!!!!

The seats aren't nearly as comfortable as the sport seats in my vert but I'm assuming you can get different seats if you want/need them.

Not sure I like the key, er ah, fob. You have to stick it into the dash board into a slot and push it in. Then you put your foot on the brake pedal and hit the Start button (I hate this trend for Start buttons!). Problem is, the Start button is right behind the stalk for the windshield wipers and I was forever hitting that and turning the wipers on when starting/stopping the engine. But, if you're gonna make me put it IN the dash, why not give me a REAL key? Oh I know they're doing it so it's harder to go somewhere else and get a key but really, was it something they needed to do???

The other thing is the feeling of the dash. In my 330 and other older BMWs I've driven, it feels more like a cockpit because it's made to cater to the driver. Ok, it's not surrounding you like a race car but it's obvious the engineers made the interior with the driver in mind. With this one the dash layout is just, well, straight across the front. I'm sure it makes it much easier for them to switch from left to right hand drive for those countries where they have right hand drive but it's all very blah if you ask me...

One thing which is nice, however, is the nice, calming chime for alert messages. Plays through the speakers and, well, sounds nice and calm. I like it. Only problem is the low fuel chime comes in way too early or they need to recalibrate the gauge as it comes on with more than 1/8th of a tank of gas!

Ok, enough about all this subjective stuff inside, how does it drive?

Well, in a word, I was very pleased with it. I have to say, first of all, the 328Xi felt much quicker than my 330Ci vert. Ok, I know it's a much lighter car but it was more than that. The 328 seems to have a much torquier engine (I don't know the torque specs). It's only rated at 5hp more than my 330 but I also have a 6mt so you'd think it would be the other way around. But no, the 328, without a doubt, is quicker than my 330 (even though it's an auto) and I dare say it would be the same if we were comparing two coupes or two verts.

The auto trans is quite good. Not obtrusive at all. Shifts nicely and downshifts (most of the time) quickly enough to be sporty. Occasionally, it would take about a second (longer than you think that is) to downshift, which was annoying. Once you put it into sport mode it's even quicker and no worry about the downshift issue. It's actually fun to drive...even though it's an auto. But it would be WAY funner (if that's a word) if it were a manual (imo).

Handling was much better than I expected to be quite honest. The car is lighter than my vert (for sure) but it seemed to stick to the road much better than I'd expect the tires it has would allow for. The car is much more tossable than I would expect from a car at this weight (remember, I originally came out of a Miata...the tossable king). Again, it's quite fun to drive. It still amazes me how neutrally BMW has made their cars (handling-wise). I'm used to my Miata which tends to have some oversteer but you can deal with it in such a light car.

With proper tires this car would be a serious sticky car to take through the twisties for sure! Add a manual and you've got one helluva fun car!

I like the car but not sure I'd buy one because of the styling (hasn't grown on me yet) and, more importantly for me, the interior. I hate the gauges and I would expect more from a car in this price range as far as the niceness of the interior. Again, nothing wrong with it but it could be better.

Anyway, this is my story and I'm sticking to it!
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:04 PM   #2
ThEnder
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really, faster? i've had 2 e90 loaners, a 328i wagon (no sports package) which i was not a fan of - and it was definitely slower than my 04 330 coupe. i also got a loaded 335i which i would have kept if i had $50 grand (i actually raced an e46 M3 with that loaner and it was oh so close).
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:15 PM   #3
xArmyPilot
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Good, detail oriented write up, Gadge. Glad they didn't offer you a 1-er coupe or you'd be look'in for "other work" for them to do :-p
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:26 PM   #4
DJ Reminisce
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I had this exact car about a month ago as a loaner

It is faster than most E46's (non M of course)

And the damn thing ran pretty hot all the time, even at night---that couldve just been the car though, I mean afterall, it was a loaner from St. Creek BMW

end rant
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:30 PM   #5
AdamBath
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great writeup, wrong subforum.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:31 PM   #6
ThEnder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Reminisce View Post
I had this exact car about a month ago as a loaner

It is faster than most E46's (non M of course)

And the damn thing ran pretty hot all the time, even at night---that couldve just been the car though, I mean afterall, it was a loaner from St. Creek BMW

end rant
black on tan? that car was fast, i could even look past the ugly chris bangle styling and the auto tranny to have that kind of power in my life.
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:10 PM   #7
Gadgetrick
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Sorry about the wrong forum.

But, yes, faster than the e46 for sure.
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