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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > E91 review at thetruthaboutcars.com



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      01-18-2006, 10:52 PM   #1
StewtheBassman
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E91 review at thetruthaboutcars.com

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/con...8689/index.php
18 January 2006
By Robert Farago

[As read by Robert Farago]



The MC Escher of station wagons.

Call me an oxymoron, but I don’t get the whole sports wagon thing. Fast wagon, sure. Hey kids! Watch Daddy wipe the smile off that smug bastard in the baby car. But “sports wagon” clearly implies high-speed cornering. Centrifugal force has this nasty habit of upending juice boxes, sending toys into black holes and making protective mothers scream with homicidal fury. I’d like to say BMW’s 325xI Sports Wagon (SW) is an ideal high performance load lugger for lifestylers who don’t share my domestic concerns, but I can’t because it isn’t.

The 325xI Sports Wagon’s basic proportions look promising enough for wagon-loving corner carvers-- should enough of them exist to establish a consensus. Although it’s a fair distance between the front and rear wheels, the SW’s overhangs could double as window ledges, and the car itself is athletically compact. Or not. It’s hard to tell. Thanks to BMW’s kooky “flame-surfacing”, their 3 Series five-door’s perceived size depends entirely on the viewing distance, the angle chosen and the amount of time spent staring at the thing. Taken as a whole, the flat-nosed SW says “road rocket” like a pepperoni pizza says “dessert.”



Looks good in the gloaming. Looks better in the dark.

Any doubts about the SW’s actual dimensions disappear when you sit in the second row. To compensate for the rakish roof, the rear chairs are angled backwards. Even so, there's just enough head and leg room to accommodate normal-sized adults, but not enough to relieve the overall feeling that Mom’s station wagon got shrunk in the wash. The SW’s helmspot doesn’t threaten to violate your human rights, but you still might want a word with the international taste police. Our test car served-up a queasy farrago of red leather, black plastic, polished chrome and burled wood-- with a bit of flame-surfaced rubber running across the dash for good measure. (More aesthetically restrained combinations are available, and recommended.)

In fact, the 325xI Sports Wagon looks like it was designed at night. I mean that in a good way. Darkness transforms the SW from overworked, overwrought domestic appliance to slinky, mysterious uber-babe. Mr. Bangle’s odd swage lines shed their random aggression. Pools of blue light cascade from the door handles. The cabin's jarring angularity softens in BMW’s trademark interior glow. Suddenly, you're back in an Old School Bimmer, where minimalism and functionality impart a profound sense of automotive mastery. If only the good vibes weren't so vampiric...



Ponderous steering, touchy brakes, dead go-pedal. Is that an upside-down L?

And so we come to the nub of the matter: driving. By all accounts, the SW should be a terrific steer. The 325i sedan is a world-class masochist: it begs for a proper thrashing and generously rewards any Dom driver who obliges. But the SW comes laden with more than just expectations. Thirty-five large buys you 430 pounds of four-wheel-drivery, whether you like it or not. Mountain men and gully girls will be well pleased with the extra traction, but anyone else should give this some serious thought…

There’s no question BMW’s answer to Audi’s quattrology is a clever piece of kit-- Munich’s system taps into the Dynamic Stability Control computer to transfer power from front to back (via a multi-disc clutch) and/or side to side (via electronic braking) as and when a wheel or set of wheels loses grip. It’s equally obvious that Bimmer’s anti-slip gubbins is a genuine passion killer. The first indication that all is not ultimate driving comes through the wheel. The SW’s steering is positively ponderous. It’s the heaviest helm I’ve felt since supercars were sweat boxes. While there’s still plenty of road feel filtering through the controls, man, do you have to work for it.



Not slow, needs snow.

The SW’s throttle is another mechanical throwback to the bad old days. More specifically, the wagon’s DOA go-pedal harkens back to the W124 Mercedes E-Class. Your right foot can tap along to the killer tunes blasting from the SW’s Premium Sound System ($1200) without the slightest effect on forward progress. Thankfully, the 325iX Sports Wagon holsters BMW’s 3.0-liter, sweet-spinning six, complete with Valvetronic and Double-Vanos power extraction technology. So when you finally manage to roust the SW’s powerplant from its default torpor, she’ll get-up and go with admirable alacrity. In other words, it ain’t slow.

The SW’s handling ain’t half bad neither. Although the suspension crash bang wallops over serious potholes, the little load lugger hangs on through the bends with brand-faithful poise and safe-as-houses understeer. If the SW’s front seats were a bit more supportive, and Bimmer’s chassismeisters had dialed-out just a bit more body lean, the SW might even have lived-up to its marketing promise. As it is, even a quick drive reveals the 325xI Sports Wagon as a pricey hatchback for well-heeled schleppers willing to sacrifice driving pleasure for all-weather security. Like they say: if you don't get it, it's not for you.
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      01-18-2006, 11:10 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting this Stew.
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      01-19-2006, 12:10 PM   #3
StewtheBassman
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I found that site through e90post, and I love it, good or bad, it's better than the usual drivel from the Car Mags.
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      01-19-2006, 12:21 PM   #4
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Not that I care what the asshole says, I love my E91 - but he is obviously one of those rag writers that is over-pleased with himself and loves to show off his new thesaurus. Drivel.

If you're going to bash a car, then you must compare it to something in the same category that you like. Sounds like this guy just doesn't like wagons.
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      01-19-2006, 12:28 PM   #5
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He doesn't like wagons that pretend to be sports sedans.

Actually Robert farago is one of the more respected and well thought out writers out there.

His review is really about the fact the e91 is a nice wagon, just not a good sports sedan. Therefore his jibe is more to the BMW marketing spinn on the wagon.

Frankly, I agree with that assessment. Now having said that, I still think that the e91 is one fine wagon.
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      01-19-2006, 12:32 PM   #6
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Bimmerista - have you driven the E91? I happen to have both, and there is almost no perceivable difference at all between the two. I still say he's an ass. Not because he doesn't like the E91, but because his writing style is arrogant and he failed to find a comparable sport wagon that he found superior. If he doesn't like sport wagons then he should abstain from reviewing them.

I don't like rap or hip-hop music. If I were to write a review of any such music it would be a bad review - but I like to think I would decline the offer.
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      01-19-2006, 12:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LEDZEP
Bimmerista - have you driven the E91? I happen to have both, and there is almost no perceivable difference at all between the two. I still say he's an ass. Not because he doesn't like the E91, but because his writing style is arrogant and he failed to find a comparable sport wagon that he found superior. If he doesn't like sport wagons then he should abstain from reviewing them.

I don't like rap or hip-hop music. If I were to write a review of any such music it would be a bad review - but I like to think I would decline the offer.

Touché.

And no, you are correct, I have not driven the wagon, but I would get the e91 over the Audi A4 because, I agree, the handling of the wagon is superior on the BMW. Having said that, the power of the 325 is affected by the extra weight, No ?
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      01-19-2006, 12:40 PM   #8
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Sure it is, but don't notice the difference. Then again, I don't buy a wagon so I can stare down the punk in his buzz bucket next to me at the red light and then floor it. The wagon has great pep when you want it. I stopped racing people on public roads when I realized that my penis was perfectly adequate.
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      01-19-2006, 12:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LEDZEP
Sure it is, but don't notice the difference. Then again, I don't buy a wagon so I can stare down the punk in his buzz bucket next to me at the red light and then floor it. The wagon has great pep when you want it. I stopped racing people on public roads when I realized that my penis was perfectly adequate.



Right you are.
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      01-19-2006, 01:25 PM   #10
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Ledzep,
100% agree with your posts :rocks: and enjoyed your sense of humor
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      01-19-2006, 02:01 PM   #11
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I don't think it was entirely negative. I think he liked it all sans the marketing label "sport wagon". And to BMW's defense, I think they're almost all "sport wagons" now, eh?

He may have driven an AT also. That will certainly take some sportiness out of it.

You have to admit losing the AWD and AT would lend a huge amount of sport back to the touring.
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      01-19-2006, 02:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noflash

You have to admit losing the AWD and AT would lend a huge amount of sport back to the touring.
Interesting.... then Porsche 911 Carrera 4 lost "some sportiness" ?
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      01-19-2006, 02:16 PM   #13
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I was thinking about that review on my drive in, and it's true, the guy panned the wagon....for being an AWD wagon. In the end it's a silly review, but then that website also panned the IS250 in favor of the E90, so I don't completely hate them.

Bimmerista, I should let you drive my xi sometime and you'll see there isn't really any difference for the 150 lb. weight difference.

The problem is, you would then want to trade in your car and get mine
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      01-19-2006, 02:17 PM   #14
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I beleive it's not an AWD or RWD makes a sport car, but ruther implementation. However, let's not start another AWD debate!
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      01-19-2006, 02:27 PM   #15
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Check out this weirdness <jalponik review>. Looks like someone's plagiarizing reviews from other sites.
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      01-19-2006, 02:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dude007
I beleive it's not an AWD or RWD makes a sport car, but ruther implementation. However, let's not start another AWD debate!

Don't worry, that's on our list of threads NOT to participate in!!!

As well as:

IS250 vs 325xi
Auto vs. Manual
sex vs. M5
snow vs. AS tires
RFT vs. normal

etc
etc etc!!!
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      01-19-2006, 02:34 PM   #17
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Sounds like it's much easier to copy review and change couple of words then spending time evaluating... Cost and time management in action!

Wondering, did anyone of them REALLY tested cars before giving reviews?
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      01-19-2006, 02:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StewtheBassman
Don't worry, that's on our list of threads NOT to participate in!!!

As well as:

IS250 vs 325xi
Auto vs. Manual
sex vs. M5
snow vs. AS tires
RFT vs. normal

etc
etc etc!!!

:rocks: :rocks:
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      01-19-2006, 02:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dude007
Interesting.... then Porsche 911 Carrera 4 lost "some sportiness" ?
I was referring to the 450 pound weight penalty of the AWD.
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      01-19-2006, 02:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StewtheBassman
Don't worry, that's on our list of threads NOT to participate in!!!

As well as:

IS250 vs 325xi
Auto vs. Manual
sex vs. M5
snow vs. AS tires
RFT vs. normal

etc
etc etc!!!
I did it again!
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      01-19-2006, 02:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noflash
I did it again!
you're fired!!!!!
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      01-19-2006, 02:43 PM   #22
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I have noticed one more little detail. They both claim to test US version of E91 but showed pictures of European E91. If they had a car than they could make a picture too, right?
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