As an automotive enthusiast it is hard not to respect the good folks over at Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. Since the 1928 launch of the Dixi, the German manufacturer has simply built some of the best sports cars in automotive history.
You also have to love BMW’s bravado. Dubbing yourself the “Ultimate” anything certainly indicates the presence of, at least some, swagger. In BMW’s case that swagger is rightfully deserved. From the beautiful 507 and Z8 roadsters to the sporty M5 and M6 BMW has created some stylish and powerful vehicles. But, perhaps, none as consistently lauded as the BMW 3 Series line.
Maybe it is partially because the 3 Series is so accessible, but the handling, performance and practicality of the line has earned it top honors by drivers and critics alike for many years. That being said, the Railhead Automotive staff (and by staff I mean myself) believes that BMW got lazy with the release of the 2014 BMW 320i and fear that BMW may be on the verge of getting boring.
At Railhead, we understand that the 320i is an entry level model; however, we simply expect more from a brand that has brazenly dubbed itself the Ultimate Driving Machine. With a 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that produced 180hp and 200 lb-ft of torque the 2014 BMW 320i can be outpaced by many affordable products by Nissan, Ford, Mazda and even Hyundai.
By comparison, the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive comes equipped with a turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that produces 240HP and 255lb ft of torque, while the 335i xDrive produces over 300 horsepower. We are not saying that the sixth generation F30 is the perfect 3 Series, far from it. It has lost some of the connected road feel with the introduction of the electric steering and there is a visceral connection to the snarling V6 that is lost with the new 4 cylinder. But, why did BMW need to downgrade the engine from the 328i? Was it just to save a few measly bucks? Has BMW lost its commitment to performance? I may not be the one to speak to this as I am an American auto enthusiast and drive a Chevy from a local Massachusetts Chevy Dealer, but I felt the need to discuss.
We hope that BMW does not become boring and we frankly don’t believe that it will. Despite the foregoing, the fit and finish of the 320i still provides that classic BMW sporty luxury feel and the driving 0-60 in 6.7 seconds is still respectable. We just think that BMW has become overly obsessed with sales volume and its status as #1 luxury brand and it has come at the expense of performance; hopefully, that trend does not continue with all of its “new” releases.