Monday, April 16, 2012

Best car ever?

Best. What a powerful word. When attached to something, that thing instantly becomes special. It becomes something that people want and need. It's better than good, it's better than better, it's...well it’s best. This word can also be very dangerous though. When someone claims something to be the "best" it instantly comes under extreme scrutiny and people begin searching for reasons to discredit the superb product. Last week Top Gear’s Richard Hammond took on both the role of claiming and scrutinizing when he reviewed the all new 3 series from BMW. After having an extremely difficult time finding fault with the new Bimmer, Hammond concluded that the new 3 series could be “the best car ever”. Whoa hang on a second though. Best car ever? He didn’t just say best BMW ever, or even best sports car ever, he said best car ever. That’s a pretty broad statement. So why don’t we take a look at the new 3 series so we can come to our own conclusion as to whether or not this new “driving machine” is worthy of that statement.

The 2012 3 series, aka the F30, has gone through a growth spurt which added 3.7 inches to the overall length of the car. It’s also a tad bit wider, but even with the added measurements BMW managed to shed some pounds from the car (88 of them to be exact). The F30 has a more stern face than its predecessor too with headlights that reach inward and touch the grill and a lower intake that’s been split in two and now spans the entire lower bumper. All right, so far so good. But what about the really important things like the powertrain? Well that’s where things get more interesting. The new 3 series is available in 3 engine options which include a 2.0 turbo four which puts out 240 horses and 260 torques, a 3.0 liter turbo six that’s good for 300 hp and 300 lb.-ft. of torque, and last but absolutely not least, a hybrid. The hybrid consists of the turbo six paired with a 55 hp electric motor which when combined bust out 335 hp and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmission’s come in either a 6 speed manual or an 8 speed auto. BMW is even offering different “lines” of the 3 series which include Sport, Modern, and Luxury; each with their own color combinations and other perks. The all-electric steering system is standard on the F30 but it sounds like it’s been tweaked to provide better feel for the driver and the suspension remains the same from the previous generation.

So as far as I can tell the new BMW 3 series doesn’t fly, doesn’t have machine guns that pop out of the front grill, heck it doesn’t even go 200 mph. So what in the world was Richard Hammond talking about? Well I think that’s just it, the new 3 series isn’t anything monumental or groundbreaking, but it is and has long been a spectacular car for the driving enthusiast. I haven’t driven thousands of cars like Richard Hammond has so I don’t believe I have the right to say whether he’s right or wrong, but I do see where he’s coming from. How about you?

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