Auto Reviews

BMW 323Ci & 328Ci 2000

BMW adds 2 new coupes for 2000, the 323Ci and the 328Ci. The only difference between the two is the engines. The 323Ci has the smaller 2.5-liter and the 328Ci has the larger 2.8-liter. This new coupe is not like others, which seem to be a sedan minus the rear doors. The coupe and the sedan do look similar, however they are different and do not share any of the same sheet metal. The coupe is also lower, about a 1\2 inch due to the enhanced performance suspension.

The 323Ci engine is a 2.5-liter inline 6 cylinder with aluminum block and head. The head has dual overhead cams with 4 valves per cylinder that utilize a variable intake and exhaust valve timing system. The output is rated at 170 bhp and 181 lb-ft of torque. The 328Ci has a 2.8-liter is the uses the same technology as above with a slightly longer stroke and a little less compression which accounts for the extra displacement and power. The output is rated at 190 bhp and 206 lb-ft of torque. The 5 speed Manuel transmission shifts firm and smooth with good gearing for any type of driving. A 5 speed automatic is available with the "Steptronic" manual mode. Either engine, with either transmission is strong and responsive; in fact the only difference is more power equals more fun. These engines sound, look and even smell good; ah German engineering.

The four corners are fitted with independent suspension. The brakes are strong and smooth with good pedal feel that features four wheel anti-lock disc brakes. In the safety corner, the coupe comes with Dynamic Stability Control system that will automatically brake each wheel during compromised cornering and accident-avoidance situations. I did not experience this, but I am told it operates like anti-lock brakes with a brain that helps keep the car under control when out of control.

Nothing but praise for the interior, the cockpit is comfortable and built to compliment the drivers every need. The seats offer a multitude of adjustment and are comfortable enough to sleep in. The rear seats are a little tight to get into, but once in this vehicle offers a surprising amount of head and legroom. The ventilation system has a sensor that knows when you are behind a diesel engine spewing out toxic hydrocarbons, or anything smelly and unpleasant. The system switches to the automatic recirculation control that features a built in electrostatic air cleaner that helps clean the air. The air cleaner is great for allergy sufferers, I know I have one in my house.

The new coupe is best appreciated behind the wheel; to drive this car is to love it. The 3 series has been around for almost twenty years and each version has been and continues to be a benchmark in it's class, although I believe it is in a class by itself.