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2008 BMW 3 Series


2008 BMW 3 Series Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Editors

Over the last decade BMW's product line has enjoyed an unprecedented period of expansion. During that entire time, the 3 Series has remained its consistent sales leader. Last year the high- high-profile 328i and top-line 335i Coupes followed the Sedans in gaining all-new sheetmetal, interiors and engines. Distinctive looks, improved mechanicals -- including the introduction of the world's first twin-turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine -- and an even more sporting demeanor bode well for these new two-door variants, particularly the 335i, in the competition against prime foes like the Infiniti G37 and the Mercedes-Benz CLK 350.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you've been a long-time admirer of the 3 Series Coupe but have wished for a bit more refinement, the 2008 BMW 3 Series Coupe won't disappoint. Add the performance benefits of a twin-turbocharged six, all-wheel drive and loads of new functional technology and you've got a formula that takes it one step closer to BMW's "ultimate" descriptor.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The combination of a declining dollar and an increase in standard equipment has resulted in a significant price bump for the new 3 Series Coupe. With the 335i basing at just over $40,000, and even the 328i with its 230-horsepower naturally-aspirated in-line six-cylinder commanding in excess of $35,000, those on a restricted car-buying budget may want to look to the upcoming 1 Series instead.

What's New for 2008

The all-wheel-drive 335xi joins its coupe stable mates the 328i, 328xi and 335i.

Driving It Driving Impressions

An engagingly supple chassis (even in Sport guise) and near-50/50 weight distribution, complimented by excellent ergonomics and better-than-average outward visibility, make for one very compelling driving experience. That, of course, has been a hallmark of BMW since the late-Sixties launch of the legendary "2002" model. What owners of earlier 3 Series won't be prepared for, however, is the scintillating performance provided by the twin-turbo six. The use of two turbochargers may seem extravagant, but the end result of fitting a pair of smaller turbos, each feeding three cylinders, is seamless and near-immediate acceleration that sends the 335i streaking from zero to 60 miles per hour in an exhilarating 5.3 seconds with a manual transmission or 5.5 seconds with the automatic.

Favorite Features

Six-Speed Manual Transmission
While many automakers have abandoned the extra degree of driver involvement that only a manual transmission can provide, BMW continues to celebrate it with a superb six-speed gearbox. The optional six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic will be the choice of most 335i buyers, but we'll continue to argue the merits of the slick-shifting manual.

Automatic Seatbelt Arm
Given the Coupe's slightly longer doors, having to reach back for the seatbelt every time you enter the car can be a bit cumbersome. While the concept of an automatic seatbelt "presenter" isn't new, BMW's take on the challenge represents a just-right combination of elegant engineering and gee-whiz execution.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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