Here we go again. The BMW 3-series is getting another award, garnering still more praise, waltzing across the stage one more time. Are you tired of it already? We know how you feel. Believe it – no one here likes seeing the same winners over and over. So we didn’t set out hoping to give the 3-series another All-Star award (its thirteenth!). But then we got in the car and started driving. And, just like always, it was good, very good. The hills, crests, dips, curves, lumps, and bumps of our rural route through southeast Ohio create an environment that would bring most cars to their knees, but the 3-series just reveled in it. After each leg of our daylong drive, another driver would get out and deliver some variation of the same verdict: This one’s on my list. Again.
Despite BMW’s recent missteps (iDrive, active steering, misshapen styling), the company still does chassis tuning like no other carmaker. That’s particularly true of the 3-series, which is incredibly smooth and fluid. It’s a car that instantly makes any mope who slides behind its wheel a better driver.
This year, we had a 335i on hand, with the turbocharged version of BMW’s awesome straight six. Two turbos bump the power output up to a hale and hearty 300 hp – a figure that provides nearly M-car thrust without exhibiting the Dean-Martin-on-a-bender drinking habit that afflicts so many performance cars. The 335i achieves an EPA-estimated 26 mpg on the highway (its nonturbocharged sibling manages an even more abstemious 28 mpg). Better still, BMW offers 3-series sweetness in four different flavors – coupe, sedan, wagon, and hardtop convertible – the better to ensure its ubiquity.
You may be sick of reading it. We may be sick of writing it. But there’s no denying it: the BMW 3-series is an All-Star. Again.