Wednesday, February 28, 2007


See the picture of the little wagon? Inspire an instant snoozefest? It does for me when I looked at the one I drove recently. The car was a bright pure Alpine White. Car was an MY06 325xi Sport Wagon.

To be honest, just making the car a wagon made me ignore the controversial styling since I was fixated on the fact it was a wagon. The rear hatch is very "functional, unassuming, station wagon." It's a little heavier than the sedans, but the 3 series sedans and the new coupes are all pretty heavy for their size. And adding an AWD (XDrive) system doesn't help alleviate anything in the weight department. Like I've mentioned previously... the 5 series isn't any heavier mainly due to use of aluminum.

How do I like the interior and accessories? Well, this car didn't have IDrive... that was a plus. But it would have been nice to compare that IDrive to the ones in the 5 and 7. Controls were all fairly simple but because of the number of functions, there is a bit of buttonrama on the center stack. Once you've familarized yourself with the buttons, they are easy to use. Not as idiot-simple as some Japanese cars because of the greater amount of options a typical 3 series wagon comes with. The car was equipped with satellite radio (sorry, not a fan since I have a fairly extensive and non-commercial music collection) and a big ol panoramic roof. It also had heated seats with lumbar support adjustment (I still don't like the way BMW seat controls are set up, I honestly think the Benz seat control scheme is more intuitive).

The automatic was typical slushbox, it was fairly crisp but then again, I haven't driven any dual-clutch semi-autos yet. And automatics typically aren't nearly as direct as a "row-your-own-boat" manual. Response on upshifts and downshifts wasn't too bad, but it had some lag since this wasn't a "sport" model at all.

Steering was pretty good if not a bit disconnected and a bit heavier than I'd like for a mommy-car. And because of that, the handling feel is alright but strangely sporty but not a match for the lethargic response of the car. Even the brakes felt a bit mushy and artificial.

The AWD system did add a decent amount of grip to the car, but of course the wagon has a larger tendency to roll than its sedan brethern. Also, the tires on my tester were "OK" similar to what is equipped on my WRX. They're not really sport tires and probably fine in snow and bad weather but not ideally grippy in the dry. Thus, safe understeering is the name of the game at the limit. But below the limit, the car is fairly neutral rapidly getting more and more understeer-y.

Well, overall the wagon is probably fine for its clientele but then again, I don't see too many 3 series wagons driving around. To be honest, I'm the type of guy to always prefer a wagon over an SUV/crossover.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Well, looks like there's snow in Jersey! Today was the first day of real "snow" in my area. I use the quotes because for most of the day, it was freezing rain, slush, and hail bouncing off everywhere.

I took a while to shovel out of the icy snow on and around my car. Kinda like someone sh1t on or around the coats... it was really crappy.

Driving around with my WRX wasn't too bad. Just really slow going since the roads were fairly horrendous. It seemed like I could go a bit faster than most traffic safely thanks to my fancypants Symmetrical All Wheel DriveTM. I got more than a little tired of doing four wheel drifts around every single corner because of the snow at each intersection. Kinda fun but I think I would have needed true snow tires to really book on the surfaces today.

Maybe I should have snuck into the local high school parking lot and done some donuts and powerslides for fun.