The manual controls work well, though they are best used when the car is stationary. You may never miss the extra power of the 330i, and you certainly won't miss the increase in monthly payments. Both top out at an electronically limited 128 mph, unless you order the Performance Package. Both are inline six-cylinder engines. In addition to the increased power, 330 models come with more standard equipment and mechanical upgrades. Turn off the traction control, drop the clutch at 4500 rpm, and you rocket to 60 mph in 5. All-wheel drive offers winter capability to a car not noted for that.
Those with a heavy right foot also will find that sustained hard driving doesn't help the Grand Vitara's already below-class-average fuel economy. Coupe and convertible models were introduced for 2000, and for 2004 they benefit from a freshening similar to that undertaken on the sedan two years ago. Also the back seat is good sized and will fit a car seat so it's easier to convince the wife. The sport wagons add space and versatility, and the only way we could tell we weren't driving a sedan was to glance into the rear view mirror. There's still plenty of power to make for low-stress freeway merges, but it pays to consider any seriously aggressive passing moves. I drove an '14 Audi Q5 2.
The Boxster's is almost as easy, though it does require a manual flip of its center-header-mounted latch. The affected vehicles are equipped with a dual-stage driver frontal air bag that may be susceptible to moisture intrusion which, over time, could cause the inflator to rupture. The current-generation 3 Series debuted in 1999. Mary has developed an aversion to riding in Corvettes with me because the powerful plastic sports cars always seem to stimulate my aggressive driving tendencies. The roofline is long and gracefully integrated into the short rear deck. All automatics are five-speed Steptronics.
Depending on equipment, the 3 Series can be pricey, measured by objective values of space, features and horsepower for the money. The leather-covered steering wheel tilts and telescopes for optimum adjustment. Other automakers are envious of the 3 Series for another reason: It exemplifies consistency in product character and values. They blend luxury and sport with high levels of quality, making living with them joyful as well. Stunning styling, terrific technology, and excellent value are virtues we certainly appreciate, and we found them in abundance among the 57 cars nominated for our 2004 awards. However, the power peaks occur at more relaxed rpm levels—7800 for horsepower, down 500, and 6500 for torque, down 1000 rpm. To give them a proper farewell, we gathered an example from each generation and spent two days….
A recent addition was the 330i with the Performance package of engine and chassis upgrades that shaved a half-second off acceleration times and improved skidpad grip and stopping distance, too, narrowing the performance gap between the 330i sedan and the M3 coupe. They come equipped with Hill Descent Control, which could prove helpful descending a steep, slippery driveway or back road. Do you want to reminisce about the Camry or the E46 M3? Automatic climate control and a microfilter ventilation system are standard. Even during an extended 90-plus-mph cruise--people sure drive rapidly in central California--air leaks and wind roar were so low that we almost forgot we were driving a convertible. Model Lineup The popularity of the 3 Series has produced a wide, sometimes confusing range of sedans, coupes, convertibles, and wagons. Peak horsepower is unchanged at 240, and peak torque increases by only eight pound-feet, to 161. Which new car will say just the right thing about you and your newfound status, while delivering the kind of driving pleasure you now deserve? Auto-leveling of the bi-xenon lamps is included, and for 2004 they actually turn into a curve as the car tracks through.
The four-door and wagon are also available with all-wheel-drive. Dynamically, each is outstanding: a highly refined machine that corners, accelerates, and stops swiftly. Stunning styling, terrific technology, and excellent value are virtues we certainly appreciate, and we found them in abundance among the 57 cars nominated for our 2004 awards. The grilles are wider, and the contours of the hood, fenders and wheel flares are more prominent. As with others in this segment, four-wheel-drive incarnations of the Grand Vitara fare slightly better in residual value over time than their rear-drive counterparts. We should note that this increase in speed is not solely because of the engine. Handling is nice and tight and the engine always seems eager to please.
The trunk lift grips have been widened for 2004. There was also plenty of opportunity to see how our favorites performed over the network of local freeways and through the increasingly L. Base model buyers can opt for the automatic transmission, hard-shell spare-tire case and a cargo cover while the 4-Mode full-time four-wheel-drive system is available on all Grand Vitaras. Redesigned for '03, the latest Accords are roomier and feel even more substantial than the previous generation. Droptop 3-series models have never been paragons of structural rigidity, and this latest M3 still can't match a Corvette convertible in twist resistance. Do you want to reminisce about the Camry or the E46 M3? At 19 and 20 years old, we have spent lots of time looking for our first cars, and we know what appeals to us as well as our friends.
The front fascia now looks more like a true air dam, with round integrated fog lamps instead of small, thin rectangular lights. As the 3 Series nomenclature indicates, 325 models get a 2. Dynamically, each is outstanding: a highly refined machine that corners, accelerates, and stops swiftly. Its styling is aggressive—to my eye, more so than the Boxster's. In fact, the M3 convertible's 13. Most switches fall intuitively to the driver's fingertips, but the 3 Series interior is not without its faults.