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07-18-2006, 11:17 AM
I have a friend in sales at local BMW dealership, he called me yesterday and told that they have a 3.0si coupe that I can probably test drive. I was there in less than an hour! No pictures since I had no camera with me.

Anyway, the coupe was black with red leather interior and aluminum trim - pictures and all info here:

Impressions: Build quality seems very nice, everything fits, good quality materials (except top of the dash - looks cheap? grainy plastic with weird texture). Aluminum trim got REAL hot (it was 104F yesterday in Texas) and I almost burned myself once. Leather was really soft and supple, great color too. Instruments are laid out perfectly, within reach - elbow support is just at the right place. Glove box is surprisingly small, storage compartment between seats is pretty much useless too, but who cares!

Ride is a little bit stiffer than what I expected, and I drive Z3 every day - but still comfortable enough. Great stability and grip in corners! Suspension delivers what you expect from it. Steering is a bit vague and light, not typical BMW, but still good. Engine is a gem - soo smooth and so torquey! Power delivery is very precise, it changes and adjusts with every throttle movement. Gearbox is a bit clunky, especially in SPORT mode - but shifts are faster, and match engine revs precisely. I didn't test it in manual mode though.

Rear visibility is not great, especially through interior mirror, the top portion is blocked by the boot, but still ok. Side mirrors are nice and compensate for that. You can't see the front of the car, which could make it harder to park first few times before you get used to the cars' dimensions. Cabin is relatively quiet, but you stil lcan hear great exhaust sound. Seating position is really nice and low, seats are quite comfy. Not easy to get in and out, just like Z3. Overall, exaclty what I expected.

Few other notes: antracite headliner is a must! Aluminum trim gets very hot, should be ordered only if you can't leave without it, or live in mild climate. Really thin sunvisors, no lights for vanity mirros for those who cares. Very sparse storage space.

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