A symptom of our overblown celebrity culture where everything is awesome and sporting stars reach ‘legendary’ status with feats of minor skill, is that true greatness tends to get lost behind the noise. The BMW 3 Series, fifth generation (manufactured from 2005 -2012) was a great yet underappreciated car which will be looked at with huge fondness by those nuanced enough to truly value it.
But what of the sixth generation? Have the German giants managed to keep the 3 Series on track or does the F30 collection send the range skidding wildly into oblivion? We look at the 328i to find out.
The main thing you notice about the new 3 Series is the size. Though they have been getting progressively bigger over the years, the 328i is so big that you could almost mistake it for a 5 Series (until they inevitably increase the size of that too).
Inside, there is a slightly unfamiliar feel for fans of the previous generation as for the first time you can sit comfortably in the back and the driver is forced to raise their seat slightly to easily see all corners of the vehicle.
There has also been a refinement to the frontage of the car which now appears to tilt slightly forwards to give it a meaner, slicker groundhog.
So, what’s it like?
Luckily, BMW haven’t tried to mess with the engine and gearbox too much meaning that the drive is reassuringly excellent. Simply put, this is how driving should be and sometimes you just have to sit back and let the numbers do the talking:
• Engine: 1997cc, 245bhp, rear wheel drive
• 0-60: 5.9sec
• Top speed: 155mph
• Combined Cycle: 44.mpg
The two litre turbo engine delivers all the punch you can imagine, and while you feel almost weightless when cruising at motorway speeds, there is something magically exciting about the slightly skittish way it accelerates in low gears.
The main niggles are all inside the cabin. The wood finish won’t be to everybody’s taste and the satnav is somewhat unintuitive. The optional electrical extras will also set you back more than £10,000. Drivers of the automatic version may also grumble at the eight speed gearbox which means that your BMW changes gear almost constantly.
What will it cost?
For the standard 328i without optional extras you can expect to pay an on the road price of around £30,590.
Verdict: 4.5 / 5