MotorTrend: 2012 BMW 328i Test Drive

3-Series | November 17th, 2011 by 12
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MotorTrend magazine also spends some time behind the wheel of the 2012 BMW 328i. A mixed review, but mostly positive and reinforces once again that …

MotorTrend magazine also spends some time behind the wheel of the 2012 BMW 328i. A mixed review, but mostly positive and reinforces once again that the F30 is a worth successor of the outgoing E90 sedan.

“Once the traffic clears and the road turns twisty, the F30 feels as nimble and agile as the E90. It attacks corners as ardently as ever — perhaps more so, given its broader stance and 10-percent more rigid structure. The 19-inch Bridgestone Potenza S001s (225/40 front, 355/35 rear) cling to the smooth, dry tarmac like election-year politicos to dogma, and the (still-optional) adaptive damping system provides noticeably tighter roll control in the Sport versus Comfort settings.

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Fans of BMW’s once legendary steering feel will mourn the passing of the fuel-thirstier hydraulic assist. Our test car had the optional variable-ratio electric-assist rack, which provides a 14.5:1 ratio on-center, quickening to 11.2:1 as the wheel passes about 100 degrees in either direction. The effort and heft feel natural enough, but on these smooth, dry roads it transmits no wiggles or twitches to suggest subtle variation in the grip level of the road surface, and the ratio transition feels unnatural in the tightest corners.

Day two is spent lapping the Circuit de Catalunya, where a daylong deluge reveals that the electric steering does indeed inform the driver when approaching the limits of adhesion — it’s just hard to approach them on dry public roads. Hard summer tires on smooth wet pavement drop those limits to quite pedestrian speeds, allowing the driver to easily hold an understeering line right at the limit, or dial in just enough throttle to point the car toward the exit. There’s even a fun iDrive display with gauges showing instantaneous and peak power and torque, which curiously top out at 218 hp and 221 lb-ft during our flogging.”

12 responses to “MotorTrend: 2012 BMW 328i Test Drive”

  1. Giom says:

     “The kidney grilles and headlamps are widened to the point of touching, in a way that looks like someone power-washed the nose too hard, removing the soft trim that usually separates the lights from the grille.”

    This is exactly the sort of opinion that doesn’t belong in auto journalism. His perception is obviously inflouencing his judgement and I cannot take anything he says as unbiased. Steve Sutcliff form Autocar loves the steering… I’ll rather take my cues from him, as he hasn’t fould his report with silly opinions.

    Btw, don’t forget that, long ago, there was no body paneling between the headlights and kidney grill… think E30! Now all of a sudden its peculiar…?

    • Snogger says:

      You do realize that automotive journalism is almost all opinions, in fact the on thing that isn’t opinion is the measurements.  By your own admission you prefer someone else’s opinions over another, but your argument is auto journalism shouldn’t have any opinions at all? 0.o


      • Giom says:

        You’re not understanding me… There’s a difference between saying: That design element looks like someone power-washed the nose too hard, and: The design looks aggressive. I’ll listen to the guy saying the latter and not the former. Both are opinions, but the first one is just way too subjective.

        Obviously both journos wrote their opinions, but the one is just adding too much subjectivity that isn’t necessary. When it comes to styling, keep to the basics. Either the design is unbalanced or too busy or too… whatever. But don’t come with it looks like power-washed the nose bs.

        Hope I’m explaining myself properly…

    • Anonymous says:

      Um…if you want unbiased you shouldn’t read a review.  The heart of a review is being subjective.  There cannot be an objective review of a car (unless all you want are stats – and even those hinge on so many variables they’re almost subjective too).  

  2. Vantage82 says:

    355/35/19 rears? Must be a typo, that is exotic territory.

  3. Car Gps says:

    99% of the car buying public doens’t care about steering feel.  I’m
    betting dealers and exceutives were getting complaints about having too
    much steering feel.  I also bet most of the people complaining just got
    rid of their Lexus or Toyota.  Toyota sells 400,000 plus Camrys a year
    for a reason, and it doesn’t have anything to do with steering feel or
    fun to drive charecteristics.  It’s sad to see a great lineage get
    neutered for the almighty dollar.  We knew this was coming a few years
    ago when everyone complained about the too light steeering in parking
    lots.  Sad indeed.

  4. Ed says:

    “The 19-inch Bridgestone Potenza S001s (225/40 front, 355/35 rear)”

    335 rears?  Holy cow, this thing must have the stance of a Murcielago!

  5. Frank Hu says:

    typo on the tire spec.

  6. Crhsi says:

    If you cover up the tail lights the car is almost indistinguishable from an E90.

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