WHAT CAR AND DRIVER THINKS OF THE 2011 3-SERIES:
Jan 7, 2011
This year marks the 3-Series' 20th consecutive 10Best win, a feat unmatched by any other vehicle on the market. We won't call the 3-Series perfect, but you know how there's always one old lady at the bake sale whose recipe everybody wants? The 3-Series is that car.
The chassis balance is exquisite, with handling that encourages risky behavior but a ride that you wouldn't feel bad subjecting your grandma to. The fluid steering weights up just right, the brake pedal bypasses the soles of your shoes and goes straight to your brain, and the manual transmission — should you be wise enough to specify it — boasts a shifter that knows its way effortlessly from gear to gear. Plus, all the 3-Series' goodness is available in coupe, convertible, sedan, and even station-wagon forms. Engine choices are a silky inline-six; powerful, turbocharged inline-sixes; and the M3's screaming, 8400-rpm V-8.
The 3-Series is rear-drive dynamics perfected, or, for those in colder climes, all-wheel drive is available. The four-wheeler gets a little heavier and amends the 3's near-perfect weight distribution, but the rest of its virtues remain.
Other drawbacks? Only a few. The clutch needs more weight to better convey its takeup, and no matter the configuration, the 3-Series is seriously expensive. But there's a reason people will pay so much more for that one lady's cookies.