Insurance repairs on a family vehicle resulted in a new 3 series ending up in my driveway. I have a busy week of work ahead of me which takes me on the road, so I'll be putting a solid 500+ miles on this car this week alone. The Regal is getting a rest.
When this car was announced, I was still car shopping so I was watching reviews of this car which made it seem like a return to form for BMW and a class leader. I just don't see it. So far, I've put about 50 miles on it and I hate it. My initial impressions are thus:
-Handling. The car is so composed and the body control is excellent, especially compared to my boaty Buick.
-Acceleration is strong for a 2.0T. Car pulls very well thanks to huge torque, excellent gearing and great power curve. Way better than my Buick with similar horsepower figures.
-NVH is outstanding for an entry level luxury car. I was expecting more road noise with such little sidewall and relatively sport oriented tires.
-Seats are comfy with plenty of adjustment but after ten minutes or so, I find myself needing to shift my weight due to lack of support. Hoping it's an adjustment issue, but let's see.
-Infotainment is counter-intuitive, but thorough. If I get used to it after a week, I'll call it a pro. If not, as a tech savvy guy, I'm moving this to con.
-The interior is cramped. The door panels have bottle holders that are constantly pressing against my leg while I drive and driving me nuts. It's just claustrophobic. I've driven an ATS and A4 and didn't feel this cramped up front.
-The ride is too harsh for a non-sport package car. If it were me, I'd probably spring for adaptive dampers if there was a softer setting. Otherwise, this would be a deal breaker. It's just a bit too much. My 2016 CTS felt as sprightly in the corners but still plenty supple for around town driving. I think BMW could still have this car corner nearly as well with a little more slack built in for crappy roads like we have in NJ.
-The interior is cheap. The change drawer by the driver's left knee is already broken after 10k miles. The console lid mechanism in front of the shifter is already showing like it is close to giving up also. There are some hard plastics around which, as a GM fanboi, doesn't bother me, but figured I'd note.
-Visibility out the back is non-existent. Headrests block almost the entire rear window.
-Most notably, the steering is just impossible to get used to. It firms up too much and too quickly when hard cornering. It's not fluid or natural at all. Also, the car wanders too much on the highway. I can't seem to keep it centered in lane. I kept getting stared at by other motorists who figured I was drunk or texting, but it really was just a matter of my corrections keeping the car centered.
So as I still have many miles to put on this car, I'd like to know from TCL, is it me or is it the car? What am I missing here? How is this car considered the benchmark, yet I almost can't wait to get back to my vanilla old Buick?
Rule #1 (not the same car, but similar spec):