Exterior Design: *
Surprise, surprise: the former purveyors of evolutionary styling have produced yet another mutant. It s out with forty years of restrained elegance, in with ten minutes of Banglized bastardization. Someday some scribe will tell the tale of how an American car designer convinced the Bavarians (of all people) to sacrifice their deep conservatism on the altar of art school pretentiousness. The Emperor s New Car?
Bimmer s mag/ally six is one of the sweetest engines ever made: ready, willing and able to romp at the top end of the rev range, all day, every day. Not many horses, but thoroughbreds all.
As usual, no complaints here: lots of feel, no fade. The light alloy 11.8 binders are more than good enough to let you get away with some scary-ass shit.
Our sports-suspended test car was the right side of comfortable — despite the fact that the all new 3 s sit on newfangled run flat tires. [Unlike the 5, the 3 s suspension was developed for the new tire technology from the git-go.] Given that the sports model is prone to the floaty drifties over crests and bad bumps, a thorough test drive of the normal suspension is highly recommended.
If you ve forgotten how much fun it is to thrash a perfectly balanced, moderately powerful vehicle, this is an excellent place to jog (sprint?) your memory. The 325i is a joy to fling around, rewarding skillful driving with intimate feedback. We re withholding that final star because of the aforementioned inability to cope with large horizontal forces.
A little notchy until she warms up and breaks-in, but after that, as perfect a man-machine interface as you could hope for — provided you re not one of the cybersex weirdos.
Satellite radio and MP3 compatibility make for suitable diversion. Unfortunately, the radio display goes completely blank when Sunglasses Man takes the wheel.
Five stars for not having iDrive.
The boot passes the multiple golf bag test with ease, but we didn t get a chance to bitch about the lack of rear legroom, so we re taking a star away here. Deal with it.
Overall rating: ****
[by Robert Farago]