Next in line to post their test drive review of the 2012 BMW 328i Sedan is the US magazine Car and Driver. Attending an media event in Spain, the folks over at C&D tells us how the new 3 Series feels on the road.
“The fifth-gen 3-series greeted its driver with a secret handshake: high-effort steering that bends the car smartly into every corner with total authority over body motion. The 2012 edition that arrives in February says “Have a nice day” with normal steering effort and a ride that glosses over pavement flaws the way cream cheese fills bagel crevices. Impact harshness is significantly reduced. But with more rubber between you and the road, the cornering response isn’t quite as crisp and hints of roll, heave, and pitch occasionally fluster the equilibrium. Adjusted to its most aggressive setting, the F30’s optional adaptive suspension provides less body control than outgoing E90 models.
Stiffer Structure, Duller Responses
This alacrity is partially due to the fact that BMW engineers avoided piling on weight in spite of the 2.0-inch wheelbase stretch and the 3.7-inch gain in overall length. To counteract the negative influence of more suspension rubber, the fully steel unibody’s torsional stiffness is a commendable 30-percent higher. While the suspension systems are carry-over in design—struts in front, multilink in back—every component has been fiddled with in some way to suit the new mission.
In addition to the slightly duller turn-in agility, we detected a brake pedal that’s a touch softer underfoot. Quicker stops require a mix of pedal pressure and travel in contrast to the mainly pressure-sensitive response provided by the E90’s setup. The 335i upgrades the 328i’s floating front brake calipers to more-rigid fixed four-piston calipers, which may erase this gripe.
Two power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering systems are offered. Base equipment is the speed-sensitive Servotronic arrangement that’s been available in the 3-series for ages. Replacing the evil Active Steering option, which had the bad habit of changing its ratio at precisely the wrong moment, there’s a new Variable Sports Steering option.”