I traded a 330Ci with SMG for a leased 2009 328i Coupe with paddle shifted Steptronic. I loved my 330, and this car is close, but not quite there. The luxury details on my Premium/Sport Pkg. example, like the ambient lighting, is cool and material quality seems top notch. But the car seems "fatter" and the specs say it is, by 66 lbs. That doesn't account for the extra weight of the SMG in the 330, so it's probably close to a wash. The hp is up by 5 & torque is down 15 but the sense of slight softness in acceleration is probably the difference between a clutch and a torque converter. I've seen 130 on a short straight so I'm not complaining. At my modest skill level the turbo would be wasted.
The balance of the overall package remains difficult to beat. I like that they gave up the pretense of a five -seater, and gave the interior a GT look with the console extended into the rear compartment. While it's grown to match wheelbase with the old E-34 5-series, it's still compact enough to execute a U-turn on our residential street. Styling proportions are still spot-on, the handling and braking are better than my driving can exploit, while protecting me when my limitations become apparent. There are faster cars, cheaper cars, and more luxurious cars, but aside from a Mini or a Lotus, none that are more fun to drive. The articulated seats in the Sport Package are still among the best.
The same level of luxury in the old E-46 dimensions would have been nice, but that's a pipe dream. Ditto the return of a real dipstick. Giving the buyer the option of a real spare and non-run-flat tires would be useful. The 2006 330i had 255 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque, and that would have been nice to have. I know Germans abhor the idea of doing anything but driving when you're behind the wheel, but a cup holder that will keep a Vente Latte from scalding the passenger's lap at the first swerve would be a huge improvement for many Americans.
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