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2010 BMW M3 Photos

2010 BMW M3 Photos

2010 BMW M3 Photos

2010 BMW M3 Photos

In government crash tests, the sedan and wagon received four out of five stars for frontal collision protection and five stars for side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 3 Series sedan, wagon and convertible the top rating of “Good” in its frontal-offset crash test. The sedan and wagon also scored a “Good” for side crash protection, but the convertible received a second-lowest “Marginal” score because of insufficient rear seat head protection and possible torso injuries for those in the front.
Interior Design and Special Features

The 3 Series interiors provide a restrained show of luxury. Though a tad plain, the emphasis is on driver comfort and involvement through elements such as supportive seats and clean analog gauges. Materials and build quality are exceptional; even the standard leatherette (vinyl) upholstery looks and feels better than one would expect. The convertible’s available heat-reflective leather does a wonderful job of keeping occupants’ posteriors cool. This year’s revised iDrive electronics interface that comes with the optional navigation system is improved over its confusing predecessor, but it still complicates the stereo controls.

The standard front seats have enough firm support to ward off fatigue during a day’s worth of driving, while the optional power-adjustable sport seats are sublimely comfortable. The rear seats are adequately roomy for adults on shorter trips, but taller passengers will wish for more headroom. Trunk space is average in sedans and coupes, while the wagon offers a maximum cargo capacity of 61 cubic feet. The convertible offers a reasonable cargo hold when the hardtop is up, but it predictably shrinks considerably when the top is lowered.
Driving Impressions

There’s no going wrong with any of the engines available in the 2009 BMW 3 Series. The naturally aspirated base engine is a little light on low-end torque, but it moves the car smartly once underway and provides laudable fuel economy on the highway. In the BMW tradition, this inline-6 is velvety-smooth from idle to redline, yet the tailpipes emit a purposeful bark under hard acceleration. For the power-hungry, the twin-turbo 335i is a riot, providing the kind of acceleration formerly associated with the high-performance M3. Meanwhile, the late-availability 335d provides face-flattening torque off the line while using the least fuel of the bunch.

No matter which model you choose, the 3 Series’ world-class suspension, steering and brakes will provide hours of entertainment on twisty two-lane byways. At the same time, the 3 Series is a wonderful long-distance cruiser, delivering both a supple ride and a hushed cabin. The 3 Series’ long-running double act is truly extraordinary: It speaks the language of driving enthusiasts, yet its upscale image and comfortable interior give it unrivaled mass appeal.

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