Jun 23, 2004
Reviewed By Bengt Halvorson
Price as Tested $44,345
Likes

Classic notchback coupe shape; sexy 18-inch alloy wheels; velvety smooth XXX-horsepower straight six; perfect driving position; plenty of steering feedback; straightforward gauges and controls; sturdy, simple appointments inside.

Dislikes

Very firm ride turns punishing with poor surfaces, and potholes and ruts can too easily throw the car off course if your hands aren’t tight on the wheel; back seats cramped and oddly contoured.

Verdict

When this generation of 3-series arrived in ’99, some declared that the smallest Bimmer had become fat and soft. But equipped right, with the six-speed manual and the sport package, you have a touring coupe with reflexes as sharp as you’ve come to expect. Just stay on smooth roads. You’ll also want to avoid cross-shopping the competition, as you can certainly get more car for the money elsewhere. Of course it won’t be a BMW.

Fun to Drive
4.0 rating
Fun to Look at
3.0 rating
Overall Experience
4.0 rating
Stats