Recently, I got the chance to test drive the new BMW 5 Series
and the BMW 3 Series
and this is a little update to tell you on how it went. Here we go.
I hate BMW. I've hated them ever since they changed the BMW 7 Series from the E38 (1995-2001) Shape to the newer, uglier, fatter E66 (2002-200X) shape. They took something really beautiful that ran with the grace of a foot model, and change it to something big and bulky with large tires. A car that's every old-American-business-man-who-owns-a-Lincoln-and-in-the-market-for-a-replacement's dream come true.
I never liked any BMW since. Even the M3 (that's the old M3, now) that I thought was an extremely well cut out car became tasteless and German to my eyes. Ever since, I've been seeing all sorts of new 'old' cars with a BMW tag on the streets. Cars with the same shapes, same engines, same rims, same interiors only with different sizes and different 5 numbered increments.
In the last year, the drivers inside our house number increased by two and it's time the garage got an upgrade, and so the search for a new car began in Al-Jenaibi's, it being the shelf of the car's requirements. Small, efficient, practical, girly and with good after-sale service.
The 3 Series sounded like a pretty reasonable candidate and so with a series of calls a test drive was scheduled. I came 5 minutes earlier than scheduled and eventually got the news that the test drive 3 series has gotten in a bad accident earlier that day. Big disappointment, and even a bigger one that the salesman still insisted he completes his 'Sale Presentation' task which took a good hour which in he told me about the ins and outs of the car.
They could almost see the disappointment in my eyes, and so they hooked me up with a 5 Series car instead, which they insisted on letting my try.The 5 Series :-
Did you just get a raise ? Have you always wanted something from Bavarian Motor Works' finest ? Are you in love with the headlamps ? ... I have some really bad news for you, your wildest dreams are merely cheap thrills. This car could only become more boring if it laid the backrest back for you and drove instead of you. It's an extremely boring drive.
A car that has no identity, only 4
wheels, a leather seat and a cream cover for an entertainment system. A steering wheel that's obviously been inspired from a toy car, size wise. You don't really know where you're going or how hard you're steering until the car actually moves. A completely electric accelerator pedal with an extremely bad lag (Not a good thing). An engine that wasn't there 'too quiet'. An extremely slow gear box that lacked a Sports mode. In simple terms, driving this car was like playing Need for Speed with a steering wheel and a lifelike television set.
It's hard for me to even find the right adjectives to describe it, but it sure was responsive less, feeling less, and slow. If I had to rate this car from 10 it would definitely get a 1, just because the engine actually starts. I know some of you will say that the car is built to be a very comfortable car, it can be with about compromising driveability . This car is not 'smooth' it's 'soft' and there's and extremely big difference.The 3 Series :-
Is it any different ? .. I don't know. Why ? .. I got a call from the dealership that they managed to find a 3-Series car and it's ready for pick up, and so I go pick it up. I got in the car, adjusted the seats, buckled up and put it in drive when the salesman came knocking on the window. He told me that the car I had was actually one of the employee's and he had made some adjustments to the suspension system and so the car might be a little harder to steer than the 5 Series.
So the car they gave me wasn't what a standard 3 Series car would drive like, but either way I'll tell you how it went. God bless the man that did whatever he did to this car. Honestly, I was expecting this car to be just as bad as the 5 Series but how well this car drove shocked me. The steering wheel was the same size as the one on the 5 Series, but it didn't feel small and came proportionate with the smaller 3-Series. It was very stiff and very precise. All the curves were clean, not a bit of understeer or oversteer, even when I stepped on it, it still held like a champ. For a change, I could feel the road under me, and I could hear the sound of the smaller engine and know exactly what it's doing. It also didn't have those ridiculously soft brakes that would slow down the car insanely with a mere touch. It was deep and it felt very responsive with the amount of force I put on it.
Even though the one I drove, and pretty much all the 3 Series we get in Oman, didn't come with a modern entertainment and control system. I could change from CD to FM with a single click, unlike the 5 Series with it's useless iDrive system that was very distracting and user unfriendly. It would've made a lot more sense to me if they added some features that are becoming very standard nowadays, like a DVD player, a flexible Navigation System and MP3 capability, and even maybe a complimentary hard drive. After all, BMW's are the prime of German technological advancement.
What I didn't like. I didn't like the engine, it gave well, but not well enough to keep up with the handling of this car. The bad gear box syndrome the 5 Series recurred in this one, it made weird unjustifiable changes (gear changes, duh). Even when it was on Manual Gear Mode, it took 3-5 seconds to change. What bothered me the most is that, not a single 3 Series car, whether it was the baseline model or the pacakage-filled top of the line one, came with fully automatic power seats. I mean c'mon, they come on Yaris' now.
Bottom line. I don't know how this car would rank up with it's competition (since I haven't tested them out yet) like the Dodge Charger, Chrysler Commodore, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Maxima, Mercedes E class. (or is it the C Class ? I hate Mercedes' namings) or any other car.Al-Jenaibi Dealership :-
Finally, there's only them to review. I was pleased with the experience. Since the test drives, I heard from the once and they asked for a "visit". The salesman was very nice but not too familiar with the history and the technology, wasn't too good with the TLAs (Three Lettered Acronyms), but was very understanding about arriving a little late and keeping him in Showroom after closeup.
There was the other guy that I talked to on the phone that arranged the whole thing. He was very nice as well. It felt like I was debating with a friend about how they're BMW are losing to Japanese cars rather than a Sales Manager. If you ever get to deal with them , you'll know what I'm talking about.
Until then, Leave Comments Bastards