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The Ultimate Ride
2006 BMW 330i
Four and a Half Stars out of Five

In short: An outstanding new-generation sports sedan.

BMW has established a tenacious reputation in drivers’ circles, and when a new model comes out, everybody is curious to find out what it’s going to be like. Well, we can safely let you know that by our standards, the redesigned 3 series is worthy of the company’s slogan: “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

With advances in technology and design, most cars keep getting better over time. An all-around look and experience with this machine confirm that the Bavarian engineers have applied some of the latest knowledge. This new release is slightly larger than the previous generation, and space distribution inside as well as the trunk is of good proportions. The design, both inside and outside, is one of the better ones we’ve seen from BMW. Everything flows smoothly and is well-balanced. As usual with BMW, the difference between a base car price versus a fully-loaded one like our tester is over an additional $10,000, with a shocking as-tested price of almost 50 grand. We’re talking about the titanium silver metallic paint, automatic transmission, active steering, navigation system, satellite radio, a sport package (18” alloy wheels, sport suspension, leather steering wheel, front sport seats) and a premium package (universal garage door opener, auto-dimming mirror with compass, power folding exterior mirrors, power lumbar support, BMW Assist and Bluetooth system). All these good things make the car that much better. As well, you’ll have to deal with and learn how to operate the iDrive central nervous system.

Our tester with the sports-tuned suspension was definitely tight for everyday driving, but much appreciated on curvy Santa Barbara mountain roads.

Read a review of the 2011 BMW 335i

Warranty/Service: 4 year/50,000 mile Full Maintenance Program, BMW roadside assistance.

Price as tested: $47,390

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: 3.0 liter DOHC, 24-valve inline six-cylinder with Valvetronic,
255 horsepower

Transmission: Automatic

Safety: Dual threshold "Smart" airbags for driver and passenger, front door-mounted side impact airbags, Head Protection System, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic safety belt pretensioners

Top Speed: 130 mph

Acceleration: 0-60 in 6.2 seconds

Braking: 60-0 in 116 ft.; Four-wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake proportioning, Dynamic Brake Control

Fuel Economy: 21 city,
29 highway

Handling: Dynamic Stability Control with Dynamic Traction Control

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 06/28/11 NW)