It’s simple: drive a BMW on a twisty two-lane farm road and realize the car’s potential to thrill. Drive it on a freeway and miss the point: on a freeway, a BMW 3 Series amounts to a rather loud, small, sparsely outfitted automobile. In this environment, what luxury the 3 Series can offer amounts to seats that conform to almost any body type, impeccably assembled premium quality materials, and the kinds of features that any competitor can provide.
What most competitors can’t provide is the joy of driving, BMW style. And given the fact that the 3 Series is a fourth generation icon for that driving experience, replacing it is likely to induce heartburn at a time when the BMW design vocabulary has been met with jeers and jabs from press and consumers. And yet, with this new 2006 3 Series, BMW has successfully built upon the strengths of the previous model, protecting its reputation as a builder of the world’s most capable sport sedans.