The 3-series is an amazing car. It's the ultimate in driving dynamics, luxurious--and still hated by a lot of people. The only real problem with the 3-series is so many people who buy the cars don't really know how to drive. Everyone knows the joke about porcupines and BMWs, but the stereotype is true enough to keep at least a few enthusiasts out of the car. My friend Aaron races sprint cars and daily drives a Mazda Miata but instantly made fun of me for driving a 3-series for the weekend. For him, no matter how well the car drives, the 3-series' image is permanently stained by the hipsters who buy the car as a status symbol and care more about the Bluetooth and iPod connections than rev-matched downshifts. It's a pity these people don't enjoy driving. If they did, there would certainly be enough demand to bring Joe DeMatio's dream 335xi Sport Wagon to market. There would even be demand for that car with a six-speed manual!
If I were buying this car, I'd pass on all the options other than the iPod adapter and the satellite radio. I'd also want a sedan or wagon wrapper around my 335i mechanical bits to maximize the versatility of the package. The coupe worked surprisingly well with an adult in the back seat, but ingress and egress obviously suffer in all coupes. Ditching the sport package would certainly improve the ride of this 3-series around Michigan--the ultra-stiff runflat tires don't absorb bumps like traditional tires and the springs are a little too firm for these roads.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor