Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: 2012 BMW 328i

What's really interesting is that BMW downsized the engine to four cylinders.

But see LAT, "BMW 328i raises the bar as it takes a new path."

Imagine if Orson Wells [sic] was expected to improve on "Citizen Kane" every six years, or if Kobe Bryant's contract demanded that every time he put Nike to hardwood, he needed to score 60 points.

Such is the sphere of influence where BMW's 3 Series operates.

The company says one out of every three BMWs sold since 1975 is one of these compact sport sedans — that's 12.5 million in all.

Not only has the car been the automaker's most recognizable ambassador to the car-buying masses for the last 30 years, but with such volume comes corresponding profit.

If brand identity and corporate affluence weren't big enough burdens to bear for the 3 Series, consider that more than one rival automaker has lost plenty of sleep trying to capture the gestalt-in-a-bottle the car has long represented.

So, you know, no pressure on BMW in bringing this 2012 328i to life.

The biggest change for this new model, other than some interesting design choices, is the 328i's engine. Reflecting the trend toward smaller and more efficient, this model, starting at $35,795, is now moved by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four cylinder.

Although size drops by two cylinders from the previous in-line six cylinder, this direct-injected turbo unit is up on power. Its rating of 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque is a gain of 10 horsepower and 60 pound-feet of torque over the old engine. BMW says the 328i I tested with an automatic transmission will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

More at the link.