2006 BMW 325i

June 24, 2005
0507 Bmw 325i+2006 BMW 325i+Full Driver Side View
You won't roar from stoplight to stoplight, getting waves and nods from F-150 drivers smoking Marlboros, and you won't do smoky burnouts waiting in line at a NASCAR race, but the 2006 325i will make those wishes disappear with every click of its seamless six-speed stick and with every graceful move as it dances through the curves of a backcountry ballroom. The 325i's in-line six-cylinder engine seems a bit lackluster on paper; even the ultra-conservative Toyota Camry V-6 has more power than 215 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. But a car is more than an engine and four wheels, and the refinement and handling balance offered in the 2006 3-series is simply unparalleled.
0507 Bmw 325i+2006 BMW 325i+Driver Side Rear View
While the current generation 7- and 5-series sedans offer amazing performance and bodies designed through the use of funhouse mirrors, the 2006 325i proves that Bangle-ism has a bright side. Finally we have a BMW we wouldn't prefer to be hidden under a shroud of darkness. Its lines are flared and aggressive, but less ostentatiousness than the Z4's. Much of the difference is found in light housings, where the wild stretches of the 5-series have been reigned in to appear more evolutionary than revolutionary.
0507 Bmw 325i+2006 BMW 325i+Front Dashboard View
The cabin strikes a similar balance of avant-garde style tempered with familiar ergonomics. Simple, straightforward controls are wrapped in flowing shapes and high-quality materials. You only get iDrive, the spinning joystick control for the complex infotainment system, if you order the satellite navigation: without it, everything is where you'd expect it to be. Ultra-supportive front sport seats with adjustable side bolsters are a must-have option, and come with the $1,600 sport package that also includes stylish split-five spoke 17-inch wheels, a lowered sport suspension, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Run-flat tires are now standard equipment on every 325i.
0507 Bmw 325i+2006 BMW 325i+Driver Side Front View
From a safety standpoint, electronic traction and stability control and front, front-side, and full-length head curtain air bags are all standard. But luckily, the nanny-tronics seldom intervene, as the chassis remains amazingly neutral. The bodyshell is claimed to be 25 percent stiffer, and provides a great platform for the front strut and rear multilink suspensions. The BMW cuts through tight twisties as if it were magnetized to the blacktop. Even through off-camber turns and through the pothole-infested roadways of southeast Michigan, the suspension never lacks composure.
0507 Bmw 325i+2006 BMW 325i+Driver Side Full Rear View
Slightly confusingly, both the new 325i and the 330i have the same 3.0-liter inline-six. The 325i has retuned software and a different exhaust and intake system, lowering power and torque from 255 hp and 220 lb-ft to 215 and 185: the 325i would need only ten more horses to fill the previous 330i's stable. In both forms, the engine has a great note. While we favor the more powerful of the two, $7,000 knocked off the price is hard to argue against. Buying a base 325i and spending one to two thousand dollars in the aftermarket could result in a $32,000 330i, although warranties might vanish in the process. The change to the larger engine strengthens the connection between the two 3-series levels. The 325i sounds and feels more like the stronger 330, and low-end torque is greatly improved over the previous generation. Near-perfect six-speed automatic and manual transmissions transfer power to the rear wheels.
0507 Bmw 325i+2006 BMW 325i+Driver Side View
BMW is now offering Bluetooth connectivity in 3-series models as part of a $2,900 premium package. When used in collaboration with a compatible mobile phone, the system allows owners to use their phones through steering wheel-mounted buttons. The stereo head unit logs all incoming, outgoing, and missed calls, and sound from the phone enters the cabin through the front left speaker, allowing completely hands-free cell phone operation. Our only gripe is that we could not access our phone book through the head unit, despite the manual's insistence that such a feature exists.
0507 Bmw 325i+2006 BMW 325i+Full Driver Side
With a base price of just over $30K, the 325i is a great deal. While the modest 215-hp six-cylinder won't beat an equally priced Infiniti G35 in raw performance, it is a much more elegant car to drive, with more subtle, polished responses. This 3-series is bigger than the outgoing car, too, and continues to deliver the best driving experience in its class, especially when the road starts curving.


View Article

Photo Gallery

2006 BMW 3-Series

325i RWD 4-Dr Sedan I6
starting at (MSRP)
3.0L I6
Fuel Economy
20 City 30 Hwy
2006 BMW 3-Series