In Reply to: Re: Top Ten Things to Make C&D's 323i any ugli posted by Andi (visiting from Maxima.org) on March 05, 1999 at 21:59:10:
I think the maxima is a very nice car, but i don't think it would fit in in that comparison test for one main reason you said- it is too big. i saw the new one in C&D and i think they really messed it up. You being a Maxima SE owner, tell me what you think of the new one. Do you think it looks nice?
Another thing- i have driven the SE model, and it handled relatively well, but in my opinion did not compare to the 3 series with sport suspension. I think it too large to be a true sport sedans. Sport sedans, to be sucesful, should have:
a. compact size- not too small, but just big enough. I think the E46 is almost perfect in this area. Here the maxima looses.
b. a powerful engine- 323i does pretty well here, but the 2.8 328i does even better. The new Maxima is supposed to have 220+ horsepower, so it should do well here, also
c. good handling- depends on suspension setup, overall size of car and tires. The test car was a budget model, with those cheap 15s. Had it had the sport package tires and suspension (Yes, i know this would have driven the price to about $30k), it would have done very well in handling
d. a good price- this is probably the E46s main downfall. It has a decent price, but alot of stuff is optional, and that all adds up quick. this is where A4s and others start to shine. The maxima is relatively well priced, too.
My summary- The maxima is a larger sport sedan. It is a more affordable, more roomy (for those with larger kids) and offers good performance. Overall a good deal, but i still prefer giving up a little rear seat room and length for that added RWD sportiness, and the overall BMW sporty feeling.
99 323i Sport
: I think the 323i in that test looked pretty nice actually, except for those fugly wheels. The 323i accelerated pretty well (about how I figured it would numerically), and the handling was merely a result of those gawd-auful 15" tires.
: I do think they should have included a Maxima SE in that test though. 190hp, 0-60 in 6.6, lots of room (it woulda won that rear seat room test easily, as well as the engine ratings), and "adequate" stock handling (although I readily admit that any bimmer short of a 7 series will outhandle a *stock* Maxima). I think the Maxima would've placed #3, because it has an edge over all testers in acceleration and room (and IMHO it's already too damned big and Nissan are idiots for making the 2000 model even bigger!), but is outgunned in handling because of its softass springs & shocks.
: : Get the wheel covers instead of alloys.
: : Get the cassette deck.
: : Get the Xenons.
: : Keep the Black Paint that makes the car look like a jellybean.
: : Keep the Sand High-Gloss Trim.
: : Keep the oversized multi-function steering wheel.
: : Keep the standard seats in Sand Leatherette
: : Don't get the Fog lights.
: : Don't get the Armrest
: : Keep the front license plate on.
: : I don't mean to offend anyone with the above configuration, I just think C&D picked about the ugliest E46 possible to test. They had picked a car with 7 of the above ten things. Next to this E46, even the Contour looked good.