Tag Archives: bmw

Finding the perfect (regular) American Car – Part 2 – Luxury

There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t have a car that fulfills your need to service as a family car AND is fun to drive. Manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, Mercedes and (for those who think this contentious) Infiniti and Accura get that.

BMW 3 Series

bmw-3-series-2005.jpgThis cars reputation in the UK is one of a salesman’s car – everyone has one it seems; In doing so, the 3 series has lost its’ image of a prestige marque that one aspired to.

The reputation in the US isn’t quite at the same level, and is considered still a car worthy of its’ badge; BMWs are renowned for their driving experience (very important to me), quality, performance, longevity – and price. A second hand BMW in good condition will be a lot more than you would expect to pay for many other marques of similar, if not better condition.

And there’s a reason for that; It’s all true.

I have fought the BMW desire for a long time – but I have to admit, there are certain 3-series models I would consider… and I’m not just talking the M3; anything other than the 316, 318 … the 320… not sure… Certainly from reading up it seems models from 2005 and on gain from some extra room as well as some other pre-2005 quirks:

back seat passengers were cramped, while the boot was small. The steering was heavy at slow speeds, and the ride could be harsh if the surface wasn’t perfect. The interior ventilation system wasn’t the best; when you needed heavy-duty action to clear the windscreen you tended to fry your face.” (source)

The rear space does seem to be limited, but I have seen my bro-in-law with child seats in his 2003 Beemer, so it can’t be that bad… That being said, I’ve witnessed BMW owners trying to drive through snow and ice in this lovely Chicago winter and they do struggle! An M3 owner in my street ended up digging his car out twice because the car couldn’t handle what other front wheelers could.

Incidentally, I’ve seen some spy shots of the next-gen BMW – bmw_3_v.jpg and bmw_3_h.jpg – Looks gorgeous!

BMW goes on the “could be” list.

Audi A4

Audi A4Many say that this is a great car – except Audi reliability issues in the past (see my Audi TT post), although the A4 has a better reputation that the TT. Forbes seems to rate the A4 extremely highly – see this link – and having driven in an A4 I was very pleased with the ride and feel.

The exterior look isn’t as compelling as the competition, but it has a lot going for it from a driver’s perspective – handling is apparently excellent. There is a front wheel and four wheel drive version too – the four wheel is compelling in the Chicago winter. It also can suffer from rear passenger space like the BMW.

BMW goes on the “could be” list.


I’m not a Mercedes fan, unless it’s the McLaren SLK! The top of the range CLS class looks great but the price matches it, so it’s out.

Infiniti / Accura

Aside from the Infinit G35 coupe and the FX SUV, I’m not really enamoured; Accura TL is a great car but the price doesn’t justify it’s glorified Honda role for my purposes.