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BMW has a rolling caravan of cars decked out in Breast-Cancer Pink decals. They stop at dealerships around the country and you can go on an unassisted test drive with their cars. The cars are (sadly) all automatics, but you can get a pretty decent idea of what the cars are like, plus BMW donates to find a cure for breast cancer -- good deal, eh?

So I had a reservation for a 328i and a Z4 convertible.

Upon arriving, you can't miss the dealership with the banners and people waiting outside, you sign up and wait for your turn in line. There is a predetermined route that everyone must take, also. It is a good 5 miles, maybe, around various back roads. All-in-all, it takes 15-20 minutes per drive.

My first car was the 328i. The cockpit of the car is definitely driver-oriented. Everything is within close-reach. I would say that a lot of the controls aren't terribly user-friendly. For example, it took me a minute or two to figure out how to turn off the AC and the radio -- they're just not marked. Driving out of the dealership, the 328i's steering is definitely very heavy at parking lot speeds. It takes a lot of effort to turn at the 0-20mph range; cruising speeds take less effort and minute corrections are so easily directed with the merest movement of your hand. Driving on the roads at speed, the steering is faultless. Finding a parking spot or turning from a stop required a lot more effort, which I didn't find too appealing from the Civic's steering which is light and easy to guide at all speeds.

The suspension of the 328i and the 335i is perfect. I know why C&D gives the 3 series such high reviews on the track. The road is communicated to you perfectly, but the structure is so sound. There is no clomping, no excess bouncing, no floating. The car is just solid and planted -- even at high speeds.

Acceleration was the one issue I had with the 328i; it was sluggish. Even with the AC off, you'd stand on the gas and it would take a second or two for the engine to really get moving. It was something that didn't impress me in the least.

Next car I drove was the Z4 convertible. I had never driven a convertible before, so backing out of a parking space I realized the first great thing about a car with no roof: the fact is has no roof. There are no pillars, no glass, nothing in your field of vision around the car. Thankfully, it was a sunny day, so with the top down and my hair whipping around everywhere, I had a blast. I felt like the most attractive woman in the world with my hair blowing around and me in a sporty, little convertible. I did get a few appreciative looks, I noticed. :biggrin:

Everything is a little rougher in the Z4. The engine is more raspier and harsher, you really hear the tone of it without a lot of insulation like you'd get in a sedan. The suspension clomps and roughs you around, but you don't really mind so much since it's kind of expected in this kind of car. The engine note was awesome.

I volunteered to help transport the vehicles to the next destination. There were about 12-14 cars in all, so there was a nice group of people that volunteered. I got the 335i sedan. It has a 300 hp, 3.0 liter twin-turbo, 6 cylinder engine. This was my first vehicle I've ever driven with a turbo. This car was also my favorite. We were driving about 35 miles NE of where the dealership is to another dealership. The route was all highway.

It was thrilling riding in a caravan of about a dozen other BMWs of all the model types. The average speed is Michigan's highways is 70-80mph. We were flying down the I-696 in a caravan going 100mph +!! Dodging around cars, passing each other waving and shouting -- it was a blast!

But I drove the 335i. Peeling out of the dealership, I got my first taste of a turbo when I hit the gas hard, got a touch of wheelspin, then the engine just made an entirely different sound and you were pressed back into the seat while the car took off. It was AWESOME! The suspension is the same as the 328i's, so it was superb. And the one beef I had with the 328 was nonexistant here; hit the gas and the car moves without hesitation. At all speeds -- even in excess of 100mph, the car is planted and virtually silent. The car was quieter at 100mph than at 70 or 80. There is torque and acceleration everywhere. Opposed to the Civic, where at highway speeds, you're relying all on boosting your RPMs to pass (which can take a while depending on who you're passing and what speed), the 335i just required a little more pressure on the right foot and you were off. No waiting on RPMs, it just moved... anytime.

I got out of that car really unhappy (a 1 hour trip only took us 30 mins!). But I got a bus ride back to my waiting Civic (which felt entirely inadequate, now :( ), a box lunch with a Honeybaked Ham Sandwich (mmmmm!) and all the soda/pop/water I could drink -- oh and a free t-shirt!

That was one of the best ways I can imagine to spend a Saturday afternoon. And I'm seriously debating scrapping ideas for an Si and saving for a 135i (since it has the same engine as the 335i -- in a smaller platform! :dancing: )

Sorry all for the wall of text! :sadwavy:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
KingMarineM16a4 said:
03 VW Jetta GLi VR6. Not quite... My next car isn't a BMW either but i'll end up getting the 135i or Z4 M coupe. I don't really care for the M3/5/6.
I'd kill for an M3, but I think my dream car went from an Si to a 135i! :dancing:

(I have realistic dream cars, ok?)
 

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zenith931 said:
I'd kill for an M3, but I think my dream car went from an Si to a 135i! :dancing:

(I have realistic dream cars, ok?)
I'll probably take the Z4 M over the 135i simply because the Z4 M's looks are unprecedented!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 135i looks alright.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
KingMarineM16a4 said:
I'll probably take the Z4 M over the 135i simply because the Z4 M's looks are unprecedented!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 135i looks alright.
135 costs a lot less and is a better car for all-times driving. I could only see myself driving a Z4 in the summer.

If I had the money, I'd get an AWD 335, but that starts at $40k! :eek:hnoes:
 

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zenith931 said:
the 335i just required a little more pressure on the right foot and you were off. No waiting on RPMs, it just moved... anytime.
It's called effortless passing, and it comes standard on any car with a decent amount of torque hahah. :biggrin: The bmw was probably faster n more responsive, but driving any car with a decent amount of hp/tq is a huge change from listening to our hondas work to death trying to pass some V6 minivan. :sadwavy:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
jasongg06 said:
It's called effortless passing, and it comes standard on any car with a decent amount of torque hahah. :biggrin: The bmw was probably faster n more responsive, but driving any car with a decent amount of hp/tq is a huge change from listening to our hondas work to death trying to pass some V6 minivan. :sadwavy:
Agreed. I think I miss torque! :laughing: But I'm seriously in love with that engine!!!
 

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I used to hate BMWs, thinking they were bland and unreliable and all looked the same...Then their look grew on me a little, they all have a very masculine style to them...Eventually I started paying attention to BMWs on the road...it's the little things on the appearance that make them look hawt...and now...it's on my list of dream cars... I'm only into the 3, 5, and 7 series though...and I love the M3.
 

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>Opposed to the Civic

WTF... you're comparing a car that costs twice as your ecno car.

lol ;)

im probably getting the 335i coupe next, after im done with my G.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
kenchan said:
>Opposed to the Civic

WTF... you're comparing a car that costs twice as your ecno car.

lol ;)

im probably getting the 335i coupe next, after im done with my G.
Well, when you drive a BMW and a Civic in the space of a few hours, it's a little hard NOT to compare them. :redface:
 

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good review. the 335i engine is very nice for passing power and freeway cruising. which is what its mostly meant for.

when you want to push the car, its just not of fun as as the Z4 M's similarly powered NA 8000RPM engine, or even our Honda engines. trust me on this i have lots of behind the wheel time with both these engines, and ive wound the snot out of them.

good thing with so much HP, you barley ever need to push the engine...lol.

i couldnt agree with your more on suspension, driver feedback and communication with the road.

i dont think there is a better sport luxury car on the road for $ of the 335i. its the pefect balance between luxury, passing power and sportyness. its not the hardcore sports car the M3 is, and its not meant to be.
 

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zenith931 said:
I'd kill for an M3, but I think my dream car went from an Si to a 135i! :dancing:

(I have realistic dream cars, ok?)
i am with you except i am waiting or debating on evoX or 135i (2 door 0r 4 doors)
 
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