Archive for June 2010

2007 BMW 328i

The BMW 3 Series is the company’s top seller in the United States and a favorite in the marketplace for good reason: It’s a well-built, premium compact vehicle endowed with world-class fit and finish, ample power, and a comfortable ride and handling trade-off that is unmatched by most cars at any price. No matter what model you choose, our editors generally agree that you’ll be able to go about your weekday routine without feeling that you’ve sacrificed ride comfort for the sake of weekend thrills.

The current model, which represents the fifth-generation 3 Series, is slightly larger, heavier and faster than the previous 3 Series generations. An even better car overall, the latest BMW 3 Series has a bolder look, revised suspension and braking, more power and more interior space. It tends to cost more than the competition, but if you go easy on the optional equipment, we think you’ll find that the price of admission is well worth it.

No matter what year you’re looking at, however, the BMW 3 Series remains the unequivocal “ultimate driving machine” and popular favorite in the entry-luxury category.

Current BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series is offered in a variety of body styles (sedan, wagon, coupe and convertible) and engine choices. The 328i is available in all body styles and features a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-6 (230 horsepower, 200 pound-feet of torque). The 335i is available in all but the wagon body and features a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that’s rated at 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The 335d comes only as a sedan and features a 3.0-liter turbodiesel (265 hp and a substantial 425 lb-ft of torque). A six-speed manual is standard on all but the 335d, which comes with the otherwise optional six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive (dubbed xDrive) is available on gasoline-powered sedans, coupes and wagons.

Inside, drivers will find a restrained show of luxury, with an emphasis on driver comfort and involvement — supportive seats underneath and a clean, clear analog gauge cluster dead ahead. Materials and build quality are exceptional in keeping with its price point; even the standard leatherette upholstery looks and feels better than one might expect. In the convertible, the optional leather upholstery features sun-reflective pigments that lower the temperature of dark-colored leather surfaces. For those who avoid convertibles because of the dreaded SBS (sweaty butt syndrome), your open-top chariot has arrived.

If you can ante up the considerable bottom line, the BMW 3 Series is still the standard-bearer of the compact luxury-sport class. It is a mixture of perfectly sorted and balanced vehicle dynamics, abundant and smooth power, a wide range of configurations to suit any buyer and available all-wheel drive for those who can’t afford to let a little inclement weather stand between them and their well-appointed journeys.

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WE FEATURE:
• Courtesy Transportation
• Covered Service Drive
• Comfortable Customer Lounge
• Snack Area & Free Cookies & Coffee

Service Department Hours:
Monday – Thursday 7:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.
Friday 7:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.
Saturday 7:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.
Sunday 8:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.

2010 Ford Fusion SE

Attractive and purposeful, the redesigned 2010 Ford Fusion is an excellent choice among midsize sedans.

With a choice of four- or six-cylinder engines, in addition to front-wheel and all-wheel drive, the Fusion has something for everyone. The powerteams are a 175-hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, or a 240-hp 3.0L V6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. The addition of a 263-hp 3.5L V6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission is new for this year. The Fusion is available in four trim levels, the S, SE, SEL, and Sport. Safety features include electronic stability and traction control, security system, six-airbags, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

For 2010, the Ford Fusion has a redesigned interior and exterior, and improved drivetrain, including the 263-hp 3.5L V6 engine found on the Sport trim.

2007 BMW 328i

The 328i sedan is BMW’s entry-level ultimate driving machine here in the US. Last redesigned in 2006, the car boasts yet another variation of the long-hood-short-deck shape that’s been a 3-series hallmark since the early 90s. For 2007, the 3-series gets a boost in power and new model names: The 325 becomes the 328 as horsepower rises by 15 to 230; the 330 becomes the 335 with a turbocharger that boosts horsepower from 255 to 300. Does that make it any more “ultimate”?

When it comes to BMWs – as with many things – I am a cynic. Maybe it’s because I’m not much into cars as status symbols. Maybe it’s because I like to root for the underdog. Maybe it’s because I usually am the underdog. Maybe it’s because it drives me nuts when people automatically assume a car will be awesome just because it’s German (or boring because it’s Japanese or crap because it’s American). Whatever the reason, I went into this week-long test drive with a chip on my shoulder the size of a Buick Lucerne… and came away with a new-found respect for the BMW 3-series, particularly the entry-level 328i sedan.

Yes, the 328i is good to drive, but that’s hardly the only reason to buy it. The 3-series is exceptionally well thought out, showing the sort of attention to detail that made Japanese automakers famous. Furthermore — and this is something I never thought I’d write about a BMW — the 328i delivers surprisingly good value for money.

2009 Chrysler Sebring

From Edmunds.com

The next time you see a 2009 Chrysler Sebring on the road, chances are it’ll be a rental car. Unfortunately, being a common rental car isn’t exactly a promising sign. While the convertible is the go-to choice for sun-worshipping vacationers in Florida and California, and the lowly sedan fills the lots of Budgets and Alamos all over this great land, that’s more due to a lack of alternatives than anything else. The Sebring may be a decent car on vacation, but we’d think twice about taking one home.

Chrysler redesigned the Sebring sedan two years ago and the convertible just last year. While the convertible’s performance won’t exactly light your hair on fire, it comes with your choice of three tops: a vinyl or cloth soft top or a retractable hardtop. The optional retractable hardtop is of particular interest. When raised, the hardtop hushes wind noise and creates a more all-weather-friendly car. The Sebring convertible also offers more top-down trunk space than other retractable hardtop convertibles — particularly the Pontiac G6, its closest competitor.

There’s less to be said in the 2009 Sebring sedan’s favor. It’s rather bland and offers nothing special in terms of performance, handling, build quality or overall refinement. The midsize sedan segment is one of the most competitive in the industry, and this Chrysler four-door simply doesn’t deliver, ranking far behind class leaders like the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima.

In the powertrain department, the base four-cylinder is adequately powerful and fuel-efficient, but its power delivery is coarse and noisy. The two optional V6 engines fall flat on both fronts. The Touring’s 2.7-liter V6 is actually less powerful than the Honda Accord EX’s four-cylinder, yet somehow less fuel efficient than the Accord’s 268-horsepower V6. The Limited’s 3.5-liter six-cylinder also comes up short in the power department, and it gets below-average fuel economy.

Of the two Sebring models, the convertible is more appealing, but mostly because there isn’t as much competition in the affordable four-seat convertible segment. Compared to models such as the Ford Mustang V6 and Pontiac G6, the Sebring convertible stacks up fairly well thanks to its comfortable ride, spacious interior, plentiful equipment and available retractable hardtop. It’s still a yawn to drive, however, and as for the sedan, it doesn’t really stack up well against anything. With either model, we suggest taking a long look around before purchasing a 2009 Chrysler Sebring.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Chrysler Sebring is available in sedan and convertible body styles with three trim levels: LX, Touring and Limited. The LX sedan’s standard equipment includes 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, a 60/40-split rear seat and a four-speaker audio system with a six-CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The LX convertible adds a power-operated vinyl soft top, six-way power front seats and a six-speaker stereo system (optional on the sedan). Each LX body style can be optioned with upgraded cloth upholstery.

The Touring sedan and convertible add 17-inch wheels and a lengthier options list, while the Touring sedan adds the power driver seat, upgraded cloth upholstery and six speakers. The range-topping Limited sedan adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth (known as “uconnect phone”), remote engine start, heated and cooled front cupholders and an upgraded Boston Acoustics sound system. The Limited convertible gets a cloth soft top. All of these items are optional on the Touring.

Touring and Limited options include a rear-seat entertainment system and sunroof on the sedan, while the convertible can be equipped with a retractable hardtop that can be lowered remotely. Optional on both body styles is a touchscreen stereo interface (known as “uconnect tunes”) that includes a single-CD/DVD player and a 30GB hard drive for digital music storage. A navigation system can be integrated into this interface, but the storage space for music drops.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Chrysler Sebring sedan is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Sebring convertibles are front-wheel-drive only. Standard on all trims is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 173 hp and 166 pound-feet of torque. In our performance testing, a sedan with this engine ran from zero to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. Available on the Touring is a 2.7-liter V6 good for 189 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. This engine produced a 0-60 time of 8.9 seconds, with fuel economy rated at 19/27/22 mpg; the convertible achieves 1 fewer mpg in each category. Both of these engines come standard with a four-speed automatic transmission, while most competing transmissions offer at least five speeds.

Optional on the Sebring Limited is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 235 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque and is attached to a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is available with this engine only. In performance testing, a Sebring Limited convertible with the 3.5-liter V6 went from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, while the lighter sedan should be about a second quicker. Fuel economy for both front-wheel-drive body styles is 16/27/20, while opting for AWD drops each category by 1 mpg.