Sport Package ($2,150 -- includes 18-inch wheels with summer performance tires, shadowline trim, sport-tuned suspension, sport steering wheel, sport seats); Beige Dakota Leather ($1,450); Satellite Radio ($595); Heated Front Seats ($500); Comfort Access System ($500); Fold-Down Rear Seats ($475); iPod/USB Adapter ($400); Sport Steering Wheel With Paddles ($100).
All those glowing reviews from overseas praising the diesel-powered 3 Series were right. This car will change your mind about diesels. Low-end torque but it also revs to 5,000, gearchanges are a bit slow compared to the gasoline-powered 3, but the map and gears are spot-on for this engine. I don?t think the novelty of a high-performance diesel will ever wear off. You must drive this car.
Typical, excellent BMW brakes that are (artificially) fade-free but always trustworthy. Feels like it could do 109s all day long.
Skid pad: Again, typical 3 Series goodness with a whiff of understeer on the tires' limits. Good steering feedback and predictable responses. Slalom: I never tire of slalom testing in a BMW (or Porsche) because they do what they're told to do -- just be sure your intent is clear and you stay ahead of it. Moderate turn-in and slowish steering ratio are hallmarks of a non-M, but are still sportier than most. Interesting wheelspin on the exit from all the torque that is still available at 70 mph.