1ST PLACE: BMW 328i Sport Line
2ND PLACE: Volvo S60 T5
3RD PLACE: Mercedes-Benz C250
4TH PLACE : 2012 Audi A4 Quattro
5TH PLACE: 2011 Lexus IS 250 F-Sport
6TH PLACE: 2012 Acura TSX V-6
7TH PLACE: 2012 Infiniti G25
8TH PLACE : Buick Regal GS
1ST PLACE: BMW 328i Sport Line
That's First Place With a Competition-Killing Bullet
By: Jonny Lieberman
want to talk about the big albatross hanging around the new 328i's neck
right up front: price. This car rings the bell to the tune of $50,560,
by far the highest as-tested price of the competition. Shock! Horror!
You all will cancel your subscriptions en masse, or say stuff like, "Of
course the most expensive car won, get a brain, moran," etc. However,
the Bimmer came straight from the U.S. launch of the 3 Series loaded
with every option possible. Using BMW's online configurator, you can
spec out a mechanically identical 328i Sport Line for $41,095 that would
have beat up and choked out the competition just like the one in our
As mentioned, we sat around screaming at each other for over an hour
trying to determine if the Buick was in fact a lamer duck than the
Infiniti. We spent all of three minutes declaring the BMW best in test
and best in class. This is not just a win for the 328i -- it's a
massacre. A slaughter. Doomsday. Armageddon. I say this with a straight
face: There is no competition. Not only was the BMW's first-place finish
never in question, I can't remember a comparison test with such
lopsided results. We had a hard time finding bad things to say. Aside
from the as-tested price (see above!), the worst anyone could come up
with is that the new 2.0-liter twin-scroll I-4 sounds like a diesel.
But, as Evans logs, "That's hardly a complaint," and you only hear the
clatter-clatter-clatter at idle. Let's call it the sound of efficiency.
The BMW was the fastest car here (0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and
through the quarter in 14.2 at 97.8 mph), beating even the AWD Audi. The
328i rode the best, had the best steering and transmission, is the only
car here with start/stop technology, gets a class-leading 36 mpg
highway, has the best-laid-out interior, is the most comfortable, has an
unbelievable nav screen, and, to top it all off, has the biggest back
seat. Ultimately -- and this cuts right through the heart of the sport
sedan segment -- the BMW was without question the most fun to drive.
A sampling from our notebooks. Kiino: "Does everything well. The
epitome of a luxury sport sedan." Evans: "What a car. There really isn't
anything this car does wrong." Jurnecka: "Last week I was telling a
buddy that there isn't a single new BMW I'd even consider buying. I was
wrong. I'd buy this car." Martinez: "Seriously, where's the M badge?"
Nishimoto: "BMW does what it does best with this new 328, and thus the
bar is raised yet again." And from me, "They picked the appellation F30
for a reason. Like the E30, the new 328i is the ideal blend of engine,
transmission, and chassis." Folks, I'm awed.
In full, glaring, retina-searing contrast, this BMW wins this
competition because it does everything better than the rest. For now,
all the competition can do is head back to their drawing boards. Like I
said before, I'm shocked.