1995 BMW 328iS Review
by Ted Laturnus
SEE ALSO:BMW Buyer's Guide
Many car manufacturers would like to lay claim to building the best sports coupe on the market. But there's only room for one on the victory podium, and the winner is the new BMW 328iS.
Of all the domestic and import coupes, none can challenge the 328iS for flat-out driveability and all around performance. It excels in every area.
Especially handling. With its rear-wheel-drive layout, sophisticated four-wheel independent suspension, ventilated four-wheel-disc brakes, and a built-in sense of balance most other carmakers can only envy, the 328iS can safely be pitched into the tightest corners you can find and stops on a Deutschmark.
Its deceptively powerful 2.8 litre in-line six cylinder engine develops 190 horsepower, and it gets up to highway speed in under 8 seconds. Thanks to an elegantly streamlined body design, the 328iS exhibits almost no wind or slipstream noise at any speed. Consequently, for a 1400 kilogram car (3350 lb.) car, it gives pretty decent fuel consumption, especially on the highway, where it delivers 7.5 L/100 km (38 mpg). City consumption is 11.8 L/100 km (24 mpg). Two transmissions are offered: five-speed manual and four-speed automatic.
With all this hairy-chested performance and technology, the 328iS is still a luxury sports coupe, and comes replete with convenience features and luxury accoutrements, such as separate heating/ventilation controls for driver and passenger, air conditioning, power windows, central locking, cruise control, power sunroof, leather upholstery, tilt steering, and heated outside mirrors. It may accelerate and corner like a sports car, but the 328iS is also one of the most comfortable cars on the market, especially over the long haul. Front seat design and ergonomics are excellent. Safety equipment is the usual roster of anti-locking brakes, dual front airbags, locking/tensioning seat belts, and side impact protection. It also has a built-in crash sensor, which automatically unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard flasher and the interior lights if you're unfortunate enough to have a crash.
Options are few. They include: a limited slip differential for heightened traction, 12-way adjustable power front seats, a performance suspension set-up, and cell phone and CD player pre-wiring. To keep the criminal element from stealing all these goodies, BMW have introduced what they call Coded Driveaway Protection, which continually recodes the ignition system, and prevents thieves from hot-wiring the car. It's standard equipment.
None of this comes cheap, however. The base 328iS goes for $45,900, the "Premium" version, which features wood interior trim and upgraded front seats, an additional $2500.
But if you want quality, you've got to pay for it.