"When you take 299cc out of the 2.8 liter six, replace the grippy Dunlop 45 series 17 inchers with 65 series continental 15 inchers, complete the various other deletions that makes the difference between a $36,824 328i and a 28,245 323i, it shouldn't be a surprise you get a different sort of BMW."
"The BMW in this test was chosen for its low price- for a BMW- although its still the most expensive here."
"Five speed shifter as good as it gets- thats why we rate it a 10. The steering cuts cleanly, acelerator perecisely meters out the power, chassis is sure-footed, controls are nearly frictionless, and this engine makes silky noises. you feel rich in this car, the simplest things are done so well......."
Basically, the three things they disliked were:
1. those crappy 15 inch continentals.
2. handling due to the crappy continentals
4. (not nearly as major as 1-3) les powerful, not as good performance as 323i.
Doing simple calculations, for $28,245 their car was bare. No fogs. no moonroof. neither package. only options were 15" alloys, CD player and cruise control. For about $29,300, about $1,000 more they could have tested a 323i Sport. They would complain even more about high price, but at least not about handling/cheap tires.
overall, i respect their decision, but i would still rathrer that they had tested a sport 323i. I am confident it would have at least tied instead of being second.
99 323i Sport