2006: BMW 3-Series Sedan
In the process of not screwing it up, BMW has produced a car that is the gold standard for its class, something that all other automakers feel they have to measure up to. Yet, no matter how hard they try, they always come up short.
“Naysayers can criticize the new 3′s styling, both inside and out–the materials aren’t quite as good as the old car’s, and the design has lost the classic beauty of old–but this is still a car that enthusiast drivers can (and do) aspire to. It also hits the sweet spot in the market, because it’s just the right size and has the right performance and the right amount of prestige for the right price. A base 325i is a truly great car for slightly more than $31,000, an automobile that can make the humdrum run to school special and can turn any drive into an event.
“Usually, the most focused car in any auto-maker’s lineup is not its highest-volume model — it’s more likely to be a sports car, say, or a luxury sedan. At Audi, we would argue it’s the A8; at GM, the Corvette; at Mercedes-Benz, the S-class; and at Chrysler, the Jeep Wrangler. The 3-series, though, is both BMW’s volume seller and its most focused car. No one at BMW has lost sight of why the car is so important and why people love driving it.