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2012 BMW 328i Test Drive

Written By Nathen Bridgwater on Friday, November 11, 2011 | 6:40 AM

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MotorTrend magazine also spends some time behind the wheel of the 2012 BMW 328i. A mixed review, but mostly positive and reinforces once again that the F30 is a worth successor of the outgoing E90 sedan.
“Once the traffic clears and the road turns twisty, the F30 feels as nimble and agile as the E90. It attacks corners as ardently as ever — perhaps more so, given its broader stance and 10-percent more rigid structure. The 19-inch Bridgestone Potenza S001s (225/40 front, 355/35 rear) cling to the smooth, dry tarmac like election-year politicos to dogma, and the (still-optional) adaptive damping system provides noticeably tighter roll control in the Sport versus Comfort settings.

Fans of BMW’s once legendary steering feel will mourn the passing of the fuel-thirstier hydraulic assist. Our test car had the optional variable-ratio electric-assist rack, which provides a 14.5:1 ratio on-center, quickening to 11.2:1 as the wheel passes about 100 degrees in either direction. The effort and heft feel natural enough, but on these smooth, dry roads it transmits no wiggles or twitches to suggest subtle variation in the grip level of the road surface, and the ratio transition feels unnatural in the tightest corners.
Day two is spent lapping the Circuit de Catalunya, where a daylong deluge reveals that the electric steering does indeed inform the driver when approaching the limits of adhesion — it’s just hard to approach them on dry public roads. Hard summer tires on smooth wet pavement drop those limits to quite pedestrian speeds, allowing the driver to easily hold an understeering line right at the limit, or dial in just enough throttle to point the car toward the exit. There’s even a fun iDrive display with gauges showing instantaneous and peak power and torque, which curiously top out at 218 hp and 221 lb-ft during our flogging.”

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