Driver’s Car of the Year: BMW 3 series
The steering wheel we’d rather grip. The tyres we’d rather hear squealing. The car we’d rather drive!
Driver’s Car of the Year. As far as we’re concerned, this is the ‘Runner-up Car of the Year’. What else do motoring journalists want except for a car to drive well? Only because the Mini Cooper S is that much more exciting did this car come in second best. But there’s something to be said for one of the best-selling sedans in the world, after all.
When anything comes with a flying propeller badge on it, be it a car or a motorcycle, it’s automatically expected to have the best dynamics in its class. Clearly, BMW carries the weight of this expectation with confidence, because just when you thought it couldn’t get better, it’s gone and billed it the ‘Ultimat3’.
Yes, there’s no traditional straight-six spinning the rear wheels anymore. Instead, we get a four-pot petrol motor that has sequential turbos making the 1997cc motor mad at the world – but in an eco-conscious and fuel-efficient way. Amazing how even ultimate driving machines can’t get away from such things. Nonetheless, the motor is quite a piece of work because of the way it puts 245 German horses down on to the road, as it gallops to 100kph in a shade over six seconds.
It’s serene if you want it to be, but it’s certainly not what it wants to be. What it wants is for you to toggle it into Sport mode and give the throttle pedal the kick of your life. And the 328i is more than capable of handling all the power it churns out. Handling and braking are befitting that of a driver’s car, even though the comfortable ride is on the stiffer side of the spectrum. What rounds off the package is the rest of the … erm, package.
It looks brilliant in red, has a plethora of techno doodads to keep you occupied and has a certain sense of dynamism that’s missing from its rivals. This new-gen 3 is the F30 – the first of the Fs – continuing after the E series that gave the world some stunning-to-drive cars. If first impressions are anything to go by, it looks like the F series is going to do well, even though most of us look back fondly at the older cars.