• BMW Gives the 3-Series A Refresh for 2016


    • BMW Gives the 3-Series A Refresh To Keep Up


    If BMW wants to be in top in the compact luxury marketplace, then it needs to constantly improve the 3-Series. BMW knows this fact very well and has announced improvements for the 2016 3-Series.

    The big changes for the 3-Series lie under the hood. First is the 340i which takes place of the 335i. It boasts a new all-aluminum twin-turbocharged 3.0L straight-six with 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic will come standard, while a six-speed manual with rev matching will be a no cost option. BMW's XDrive all-wheel drive will be an option.

    The other change is the introduction of the 330e, the first plug-in hybrid 3-Series. BMW estimates figures of 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. No word on fuel economy, but BMW estimates an electric range of 22 miles.

    Other changes for the 2016 3-Series include a reworked eight-speed automatic, a reworked suspension, new LED lights front and rear, and the Sport Line treatment (black trim on the grille, B-pillars, and rear bumper) on certain models.

    Source: BMW

    Press Release is on Page 2


    The New BMW 3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon

    • Lifecycle freshening for all 3 Series Sedans and Sports Wagons.
    • New 340i Sedan features new 320 hp TwinPower Turbo Inline 6-cylinder.
    • Standard Sport Line on the 328i, 328d and 340i models (including xDrive).
    • New Track Handling Package available for gasoline-powered models.
    • Available Navigation system now with over-the-air map updates.
    • LED headlights now available (optional 320i, 328i, 328d and standard on 340i).
    • New 330e first-ever plug-in hybrid 3 Series announced.

    Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – EMBARGO: May 7, 2015 – 7:00am EDT/4:00am PDT… BMW announces the latest enhancement to its brand shaping 3 Series with the introduction of the new BMW 3 Series. Accounting for around 25 percent of total BMW worldwide vehicle sales, the BMW 3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon represent the brand’s most successful model line with over 14 million sales globally. For the 2016 model year, the new 3 Series receives a range of enhancements highlighting dynamics, supporting the vehicle’s true emotional commitment to the brand and its customers. The introduction of the BMW 340i, marks the world premier of an all new inline 6-cylinder gasoline engine, producing 320 hp with 330 lb-ft of torque. This new modular BMW EfficientDynamics engine features BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology, combining unbeatable performance with outstanding efficiency.

    The new BMW 3 Series chassis has been significantly improved encompassing new front struts, new rear damper technology and redesigned electric power steering to enhance overall vehicle dynamics. The BMW 3 Series Sedan and BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon feature a sharper design and a sportier front, supported by the newly designed headlights with optional full-LED headlights (standard on 340i models). The rear view also cuts an even more dynamic figure thanks to its LED tail lights and sculptural, clearly defined lines.

    The original sports sedan enhanced.

    Since 1975 the BMW 3 Series has furnished regular evidence of its dynamic ability. Whether in comparison tests, on the race track or in everyday use, it has traditionally set the benchmark in the sporting compact segment. Introduced to complement classical rear-wheel drive in the model line-up, BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive has also underlined this commitment. The new BMW 3 Series Sedan and new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon embody excellent efficiency in its class. The cars’ dynamic talents are reflected in their looks, which impress with their precision, tautness and elegance.

    The 3 Series – the heart of the BMW brand.

    In 1975 BMW opened the first chapter in a success story destined to endure for decades as the first generation of the BMW 3 Series rolled off the Milbertshofen assembly line on May 2, 1975. Internally known by its development code E21, this first 3 Series arrived to North America in 1976 as a 1977 model, with the only available model being the 320i boasting a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder 110 hp engine. Sales of the compact-size model reached almost 1.4 million units worldwide by 1983. Its successor, the E30, brought with it 4 and 6 cylinder gasoline engines as well as the introduction of a convertible as well as the four-door model in the US market. All-wheel drive was also made available in the US on the 325ix in 1988 and provided the second generation of the BMW 3 Series with the platform to expand its global potential between 1983 and 1993. Next up was the E36, available in the US from 1991 – 1999. Its increased proportions allowed more passenger room while its perfect 50/50 weight distribution provided unrivaled vehicle handling. A new 3.0 liter DOHC 24 valve 6-cylinder engine with an aluminum head brought the output to 189 hp. The E46 generation, available in the US from 1998 – 2006, managed to increase performance and its 2.8 liter inline 6-cylinder engine, featured at the time of launch, utilized an aluminum block producing 193 hp. In 2000 the 3 Series expanded its line-up introducing coupes, convertibles and, for the first time in the US, Sports Wagons. In 2006 the fifth-generation BMW 3 Series arrived in the shape of the E90, with efficiency and dynamics once again noticeably enhanced. Initially available in sedan and Sports Wagon form, the coupe and convertible followed shortly after. In traditional BMW fashion, a 3.0 liter inline 6-cylinder engine was rated at an impressive 255 hp. The TwinPower Turbo technology was introduced in the 335i. In 2011, BMW introduced the current 3 Series which was equipped with the latest 4 and 6-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engines.

    Powertrain and chassis.

    Raising the benchmark –sportier and more efficient.

    The BMW 3 Series has represented the core of the Ultimate Driving Machine for the past 40 years. Now, the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and the new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon are raising the bar yet again. The engine range is comprised of gasoline engines with output from 180-320 hp and a diesel engine with 180 hp and an impressive 280 lb-ft. The new modular BMW EfficientDynamics inline 6-cylinder engine in the 340i is equipped with the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, which combines exceptional performance with excellent fuel efficiency.

    This new BMW EfficientDynamics modular engine will share a common design blueprint, with 3, 4 and 6-cylinder inline cylinder arrangements, a displacement per cylinder of 500 cc and very lightweight, thermally optimized all-aluminum construction. The crankcase is very rigid due to its closed-deck design – which means that the cylinder water jacket is closed at the top – while thermally joined, high-strength cylinder liners with twin-wire, arc-sprayed coating save weight, allow greater thermal transfer due to the thinner cylinder wall thickness and reduce internal friction.

    The new BMW 340i Sedan inline 6-cylinder gasoline engine.

    The BMW 340i is the first model in the BMW line-up to be powered by the all-new inline 6-cylinder engine (B58) from the new modular BMW EfficientDynamics engine family. The lightweight and rigid all-aluminum unit with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology provides a perfect blend of superb performance and outstanding efficiency. This new 3.0 liter engine powering the 340i replaces the N55 powered 335i and tops the 3 Series gasoline line-up. It produced a maximum power of 320 hp between 5,500 and 6,500 rpm, a 20 hp improvement over the previous model. Peak torque is an impressive 330 lb-ft, which is available from 1,380 rpm. The new BMW 340i Sedan equipped with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds while the BMW 340i xDrive model takes just 4.6 seconds. All 340i models are governed to a top speed of 155 mph (130 mph if equipped with All-season tires). The new EfficientDynamics 6-cylinder engine is equipped with the latest generation of BMW’s innovative TwinPower Turbo technology, featuring twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing. It also incorporates VALVETRONIC fully variable valve lift.

    Improved manual and automatic transmissions.

    The new BMW 3 Series Sedan comes standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission and a 6-speed manual transmission is available as a no-cost option on 320i, 328i, 340i and 340i xDrive models. The crisp-shifting 6-speed manual transmission on 340i models is equipped with a dual-mass flywheel with centrifugal pendulum absorbers. This technology counteracts uneven running on high-torque engines so that the driver can change gears smoothly. The 6-speed manual transmission is also offered with a rev matching function, which means the engine automatically blips the throttle on downshifting, resulting in improved smoothness.

    The updated 8-speed Steptronic transmission features enhanced efficiency, wider gear ratio spread and reduced torque converter slip during gear shifts. At the same time, improved damping of engine irregularities make for improved comfort and smoother shifting. Sporty drivers will also enjoy the 8-speed Steptronic transmission. In Sport+ transmission mode, it allows the driver to rev the engine right up to the rev limiter, and also to perform multiple sequential downshifts. The 8-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters is now standard on 328i, 328d and 340i models.

    Further economy benefits are offered by the 8-speed Steptronic transmission’s coasting mode in ECO PRO. When the driver lifts off the throttle at higher speeds, for example on a gentle downhill grade on the highway, the engine is automatically decoupled from the transmission. It then simply idles, which saves fuel and ensures there is no unwanted engine braking at high speed.

    BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system.

    The new BMW 3 Series Sedan can optionally be specified with xDrive, the BMW intelligent all-wheel drive system. BMW xDrive combines the customary advantages of all-wheel drive such as optimal power transfer to the road, excellent safety and maximum traction with hallmark BMW agile and precise handling. BMW xDrive efficiently reduces understeer and oversteer when cornering by sending as necessary power front or rear, improving driving dynamics, for example when steering into a corner or accelerating out of even the tightest bends.

    Sporty, agile and comfortable suspension.

    The BMW 3 Series has been the benchmark in driving dynamics for generations. The further developed damper technology and optimized suspension of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon team up with a more finely honed steering set-up to deliver significantly enhanced dynamic capabilities without any compromise on comfort. Some of the specific changes include: new geometry of the chassis with new front struts with five bolt upper anchors points (versus 3 previously), redesigned electric power steering, new rear damper technology, and updated Dynamic Stability Control. All these updates translate to increased handling capabilities as well as feedback to the driver.

    The retuned suspension improves both transverse and longitudinal dynamics under all load conditions. This is expressed in reduced roll, improved directional stability and higher level of steering precision. This is true of the standard suspension as well as the M Sport Suspension and the Adaptive M Suspension options. The Adaptive M Suspension offers electronically controlled dampers and allows individual adjustment of the car’s dynamic responses at the touch of a button. Continuous sensor monitoring of longitudinal and lateral acceleration, speed and steering angle allows the damping to be optimally matched to road characteristics and the driving situation.

    Track Handling Package now available.

    The Track Handling Package, designed for the driving enthusiasts and available on the gasoline engine models only, consists of Variable Sport Steering, Adaptive M Suspension and M Sport Brakes with high temperature Euro brake pads mounted to blue calipers that highlight the new 3 Series sportiness while sharpening handling. The package includes 18” Light alloy wheels in Orbit Grey with Michelin Super Sport Tires, which emphasize maximum performance while providing excellent handling. Optional 19” wheels are also available on all 340i models.

    Design and Equipment

    Defining a segment.

    The eye-catching looks of the new BMW 3 Series redefines a striking presence on the road. The distinctively sculpted long hood and set-back passenger compartment team up with the short front and rear overhangs and long wheelbase to create the extremely dynamic proportions that are as much a hallmark of BMW as ideal 50:50 weight distribution. Precisely designed headlights further emphasize the dynamic credentials of the BMW 3 Series, while the powerful rear end of the Sedan and Sports Wagon, complete with a clearly defined new lighting design, underlining an even sportier appearance.

    New Halogen Headlight design with full-LED lights.

    The new Halogen Headlight design is now available with LED daytime running lights. New for the 3 Series, full LED headlights (standard on 340i models) are even more efficient and accentuate the front end. In addition, the “eyes” of the BMW 3 Series have moved further apart, visually strengthening the car’s broad stance on the road. The daytime running lights are even more striking thanks to the leveled off upper and lower edges of the LED light tubes. These also form a visual connection with the BMW kidney grille in the shape of an LED light bar. Available as an option for 328i, 328d and 340i models are Adaptive Full LED Headlights with Automatic High-beam System. This helps to maximize the use of the main beam and significantly widen the illuminated area in front of the car – enhancing visibility and therefore improving safety at night.

    New width-enhancing effect and stronger visual presence.

    Broader side air intakes in the front apron give the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon an even stronger presence. This powerful appearance is further underlined by the strikingly sculptural and precise form of the rear bumpers. The new, more intricate structure of the central air intake also allows the radar sensor for the Active Cruise Control (ACC) to be integrated more discreetly.

    The rear end with its sporty design also impresses with its likewise highly sculptural, clearly defined lines. The newly designed rear lights are full-LED units. The light bars, arranged in a distinctive BMW “L” shape and now more heavily curved, lend greater dynamic presence to the rear end of the car even when it is stationary. Added to which, the integrated LED brake lights raise safety another notch thanks to their faster responses. The two-piece LED indicators form a horizontal band of light across both sections of the rear lights and provide extremely even and consistent light. They stretch into the trunk lid (or the tailgate on the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon) and underline the car’s sporty looks. The wider trim element on the rear apron lends additional emphasis to this dynamic appearance.

    The top-of-the-line gasoline engine in the BMW 340i comes with an exhaust system featuring individual tailpipes on the left and right, while the engines for the 320i and 328d models now come with twin tailpipes. The sporty appearance of the new BMW 3 Series includes a newly designed 17” wheel for the 320i and 328i. 18” wheels are also available as an option. The 340i models are equipped with new 18” wheels and optional 19” wheels with performance tires.

    High-quality interior, driver focused ergonomics.

    The interior reflects the dynamic and elegant lines of the sporty BMW 3 Series model range. The driver oriented cabin provides optimum access to all the important functions. The outstanding ergonomics of the BMW 3 Series have been improved further carefully arranged chrome highlights and high-gloss surfaces give the interior an even cleaner look.

    The center console now comes in high-gloss black and also features new ambient lighting with an even greater feeling of quality with additional chrome applications. New chrome accents define the newly designed controls for the electric seat adjustment. New chrome applications are also a featured on the electric window controls and air vents, adding high-quality accents to the interior. The highlight trim finisher in the instrument panel now expands into all four doors, emphasizing the generous levels of space for the passengers. The cupholders in the center console add another practical feature and now have a sliding cover. An additional practical storage area for smaller items, is positioned forward of the cupholders.

    Options and Packages enable further individualization.

    The content of the previous Sport Line is now standard on 328i, 328d and 340i (including xDrive models) which features high-gloss exterior components including black kidney grills, black B-Pillars and a black high-gloss element on the rear bumper. The tailpipe trim is also in black chrome while high-gloss black finishers surrounding the air-intakes with aluminum-type decorative elements support the overall sporty look of the new BMW 3 Series.

    The Sport Line also enhances the look and feel of the interior by utilizing a sport instrument cluster with specific printing and chrono-scaling, an anthracite headliner as well as Sports Seats with side-bolsters. Now, no longer limited to the Luxury Package, the new 3 Series offers Saddle Brown Dakota Leather with dark brown highlights.

    Luxury Package will continue to be an option for the aforementioned models, while the M Sport Package offers additional options designed to further increase road presence and driving pleasure. Among the features of the M Sport package are the M Aerodynamic Package, an M leather steering wheel and M Sport suspension.

    The newly enhanced Premium Package for the 328i and 328d models includes Comfort Access, LED Headlights, Lumbar Support, Moonroof and Sirius Satellite radio with a no-cost one-year subscription. All of the Premium Package equipment is now standard for 340i models.

    Customers can choose from a total of 12 exterior colors for their new BMW 3 Series. New additions to the range include striking Mediterranean Blue Metallic, Platinum Silver Metallic and Jatoba Brown Metallic. The Estoril Blue Metallic shade is still reserved exclusively for cars equipped with the M Sport package.

    BMW EfficientDynamics

    Superb performance, exceptionally low fuel consumption.

    The driving enjoyment offered by the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon models is based not just on excellent performance but also on excellent fuel economy. BMW EffientDynamics measures are present through Auto Start Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand operation of ancillary units and the ECO PRO mode, ensure that the new BMW 3 Series not only delivers typical BMW sporty performance but also benchmark fuel consumption and emissions.

    Optimized transmissions and intelligent energy management.

    The newly developed manual and automatic transmissions also play an important role in reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Both types of transmission feature optimized efficiency, compact design and low weight, and are able to support a relaxed, low-rev and extra-fuel-efficient driving style. Further potential for savings is offered by the intelligent transmission control strategy. Among other things, a Proactive Driving Assistant (for models fitted with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission) uses navigation data to work out in advance where the driver will have to slow down on the upcoming route and adapts the powertrain strategy accordingly. It also passes on appropriate recommendations to the driver, if desired.

    Further savings are offered by intelligent energy management for the ancillary units. This includes the on-demand coolant pump, electronically controlled oil pump and electromechanical power steering that consume no electrical power when driving straight ahead. Also, whenever the air conditioning is not being used, its compressor is automatically disconnected from the engine.

    Additional fuel-saving measures include the ECO PRO mode, selectable using the Driving Dynamics Control switch, the ECO PRO Route navigation feature and the coasting function on models with 8-speed Steptronic transmission, which disconnects the engine if the driver lifts off the throttle at higher speeds. The engine then idles in neutral, consuming less fuel.

    The new BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid.

    Looking further ahead, the BMW 3 Series will celebrate a very special milestone in 2016 with the launch of the BMW 330e. The BMW 330e will be powered by a plug-in hybrid drive system with a combined output of around 250 hp and 310 lb-ft (preliminary), giving the BMW 330e a 0–60 mph acceleration time of approximately 6.1 (preliminary) and a top speed of 140 mph (preliminary). The new BMW 330e is also capable of travelling up to 22 miles in all-electric mode and therefore with zero local emissions.

    BMW ConnectedDrive

    Optimum connectivity and intelligent driver assistance systems.

    BMW has been setting the standard for connectivity between the driver, car and the outside world for many years now. With yet more new functions added to the unrivalled combination of mobility services and driver assistance systems, BMW ConnectedDrive is providing another impressive demonstration of its pioneering abilities in the new BMW 3 Series range, while once again ensuring supreme safety, comfort and infotainment.

    Fastest mobile technology on board.

    The optional latest-generation Navigation System boasts quicker start-up, even faster route calculation along with more realistic 3D visualization in cities. The navigation maps are automatically updated free of charge for a period of three years via the embedded SIM cards and the vehicles LTE system. This LTE technology when fitted with the Navigation System enhances USB, Bluetooth and smartphone integration. This greatly improves network coverage and data transmission speeds, especially in rural areas.

    ConnectedDrive Services form part of the standard specification of the BMW 3 Series. A SIM card built into the vehicle enables the customer to enjoy optimum connectivity and access to the unrivalled range of services from BMW ConnectedDrive without the need for a smartphone. The available Concierge Service, for example, makes it possible to select points of interest while driving, such as pharmacies, restaurants or hotels, make a reservation if desired, and have them sent straight to the vehicle as a navigation destination together with all the relevant contact data.

    The new BMW 3 Series is equipped with BMW Assist eCall (Enhanced Automatic Collision Notification) to ensure maximum safety while driving. In case of airbag deployment this system uses the built-in SIM card to automatically transmit the severity of the accident and the vehicle’s location to the BMW Assist™ Response Center. The data will then be utilized to generate the best possible emergency response.

    Head-Up Display: information in the driver’s immediate field of view.

    A full-color, high-resolution Head-Up Display is available as an option for the new BMW 3 Series. All relevant information, such as speed and navigation instructions, appears here in an optimum position in the driver’s field of view. The safety information from the Driving Assistant System (i.e. speed limits and no-passing zone information, Forward Collision Warning, with City Collision Mitigation, Pedestrian Warning and Lane Departure Warning) as well as information relating to smartphone and media operation is also shown in the Head-Up Display.

    Parking Assistant for parallel and now perpendicular parking.

    The Parking Assistant in the new BMW 3 Series now helps the driver to park in spaces that are perpendicular to the road as well as parallel spots. At speeds below approximately 22 mph ultrasonic sensors measure potential parking spaces, which are then shown in the central information display. If the driver now activates the Parking Assistant, the car will steer itself into the space while the driver merely has to control the accelerator and brake or switch between forward and reverse gear when prompted. The Parking Assistant also includes the new Auto PDC function, which allows the Park Distance Control to switch on automatically when approaching an object at the front and display the remaining distance. When traffic jam situations with stop-start traffic are detected, the Auto PDC function is deactivated.

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    I remember when the 540i and 740i were V8s.  The renaming stuff is sort of crazy, imagine searching for a used 3-series and having to sort out 330i, 335i, 335xi, 335i xDrive, 340i, etc  Makes sense though to up the power, the 3-series had been at 300 hp for like 9 years.

     

    I didn't realize they were going to have a plug in so soon, I think the C-class plug in isn't coming in until fall or winter, BMW might beat them to the punch.

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    Not that very many are looking for plug-in cars, but it does sound 'good'.

     

    But the 3 in the above album is beyond dated, it looks like the last days of the W-body Impala; a decade past being aesthetically relevant. Good thing badge shoppers are willing to accept 'good enough'.

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    maybe we are on the dawn of a time where many car model lines get plug in hybrid options.

    That we are, I think every German sedan and SUV by 2018 model year will have a plug in hybrid.

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    maybe we are on the dawn of a time where many car model lines get plug in hybrid options.

    That we are, I think every German sedan and SUV by 2018 model year will have a plug in hybrid.

     

     

    but how many will they actually sell?

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    They must think they will sell, if there will be a plug-in 3, 5, 7 series, a plug in C, E, S, GLC, GLE, GLS, A3, A4, A6, A8, Q7, R8, Panamera, Cayenne, Bentley Continental, etc.   Unlikely that BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche and Bentley will all be wrong.

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    Doesn't matter "what they think", only what the consumers think/how many they buy.

    C'mon, sales charts are your reason for getting out of bed in the morning!

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    I think consumers will buy whatever the Germans build.  Because they will be first to market, they will advertise it right, they will convince people that it is the best technology and what they need.  And really it is just an extension of existing powertrains and existing models for all of them.  People already like the 3-series, they'll like a plug-in 3-series more.  They are giving people more fuel economy, more power, plus the new technology to brag about.  They'll sell them.

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    They didn't buy the german 318ti, or the C230 hatchback, or the r-class minivan, or the maybach 1.0, or a host of other failed attempts.

     

    People already like the 3-series, they'll like a plug-in 3-series more.

    ​This is your prediction that the plug-in 3-series will outsell the gas 3-series. OK; let's wait & see how THAT pans out.

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    They didn't buy the german 318ti, or the C230 hatchback, or the r-class minivan, or the maybach 1.0, or a host of other failed attempts.

     

     

     

    People already like the 3-series, they'll like a plug-in 3-series more.

    ​This is your prediction that the plug-in 3-series will outsell the gas 3-series. OK; let's wait & see how THAT pans out.

    It won't outsell the gas 3-series because the gas model will be cheaper.  But in Europe over 50% of BMWs sold are diesel, the plug-in take rate might be pretty good over there since people are already paying a premium for diesel and the $7-8 a gallon fuel prices.  The plug in broadens the appeal, and prevents current 3-series owners from defecting to another brand with a hybrid.

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    I found a chart that shows a breakdown of fuel types in the world.  Hybrid and Diesel are each about 3% of market share in the USA.  Gas and flex fuel are 94%.  China is 99% gas.  In Europe though 53% is diesel, in India 51% diesel, Japan is 20% hybrid.  I think though the Germans will get the take rate on hybrids and plug-ins to rise because as engines downsize, it will be the path to added performance.

     

    Look at in another way, how many engines were turbocharged in the 90s?  Volvo and Saab used turbos on most models, some of the sports cars like the 300ZX or Mitsu 3000 GT had optional turbos, but turbocharging wasn't widespread because it was expensive and gas was cheap so they could just use a V6 or V8.  Now turbo engines aren't just in BMWs and Audis, but in most Fords, Cruze, Malibu, Sonata, etc.  Turbo engines are rather common.  I think in 15 years hybrids and plug ins will be common because as batteries get cheaper, and fuel economy and emissions regulations toughen, there will be more 3 and 4 cylinder engines with electric help.

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    I think consumers will buy whatever the Germans build.  Because they will be first to market, they will advertise it right, they will convince people that it is the best technology and what they need.  And really it is just an extension of existing powertrains and existing models for all of them.  People already like the 3-series, they'll like a plug-in 3-series more.  They are giving people more fuel economy, more power, plus the new technology to brag about.  They'll sell them.

     

     

    Way simpler than that. Most of these cars are bought for one reason and one reason alone-image. I've driven a few 3 series, and being a car guy, find they are quite fun to drive!

     

     

    But the more I hear about people complaining about the prices (why no 29.95 oil change) and the cost to own them, leads me to conclude that they were only purchased for one reason, as the same reason someone buys a Coach purse.........

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    Not that very many are looking for plug-in cars, but it does sound 'good'.

     

    But the 3 in the above album is beyond dated, it looks like the last days of the W-body Impala; a decade past being aesthetically relevant. Good thing badge shoppers are willing to accept 'good enough'.

     

     

    Maybe I'm getting old ( or blind), but I think it has a more classic look to it.

     

     

    Since everyone else seems to want their cars to look like a Kia.....

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    Not that very many are looking for plug-in cars, but it does sound 'good'.

     

    But the 3 in the above album is beyond dated, it looks like the last days of the W-body Impala; a decade past being aesthetically relevant. Good thing badge shoppers are willing to accept 'good enough'.

     

     

    Maybe I'm getting old ( or blind), but I think it has a more classic look to it.

     

     

    BMW and M-B have generally done evolutionary design...not radical changes between generation of existing models.  At least they aren't going for the violent robot styling themes that some car makers have embraced (like Lexus)

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    Lexus styling is awful.  I think the 90s BMWs look better than the current ones, but why would BMW change the look when people keep buying it.  You don't fix what isn't broken.  When they strayed off the path in the Bangle era people hated it, so back to the basics BMW styling came in.

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    Maybe I'm getting old ( or blind), but I think it has a more classic look to it.

    Sure, like 'Malibu Classic'… ;)

     

     

    You hit the nail on the head, this BMW refresh is 1990's Old and the Dash is 80's Old. There is nothing fresh or new about this auto. Just old news rehashed.

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    Maybe I'm getting old ( or blind), but I think it has a more classic look to it.

    Sure, like 'Malibu Classic'… ;)

     

     

    You hit the nail on the head, this BMW refresh is 1990's Old and the Dash is 80's Old. There is nothing fresh or new about this auto. Just old news rehashed.

     

    I can agree with the inside, that is dated..... :duck:

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    • By William Maley
      For a time, the V6 was looked down upon in the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang because they were seen as lackluster. The engines didn’t match aggression that was being expressed by the exterior of the coupes. But rising gas prices and increasing regulations on fuel economy and emissions has the likes of GM, Ford, and FCA revisiting the idea of a V6 muscle car. We recently spent some time in a 2016 Dodge Challenger V6 to see if it is worth it.
      I will argue that the Challenger is still the meanest looking out of the three muscle cars on sale. Dodge’s designers were able to bring the design of the original Challenger into the modern era without making it look like a complete mess. The little details such as the narrow grille, quad headlights, fuel filler cap, and rectangular taillights are here and help it stand out. Our tester featured the optional Blacktop package that adds a blacked-out grille, black stripes, and a set of 20-inch wheels. The downside to bringing the original Challenger design into the modern era is poor visibility. Large rear pillars and a small glass area make it somewhat difficult to backup or making a pass. The good news is that a number of Challenger models like our SXT Plus come with a backup camera as standard and blind spot monitoring is available as an option. The Challenger’s interior hasn’t changed much since we last reviewed it back in 2014 with the SRT 392. It is still a comfortable place to sit in and controls are in easy reach for the driver thanks to the center stack being slightly angled. Still, the limited glass area does mean you will feel somewhat confined. Power for the SXT is Chrysler’s 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic only. If you want a manual, you need to step to one of the V8 engines. The V6 is quite surprising with how much performance is on offer. Step on the accelerator and the V6 moves the Challenger with surprising authority. Power comes on a smooth rate no matter what gear you find yourself in. The eight-speed automatic is one of best in the business with smart shifts. Only disappointment is the V6 doesn’t sound like it belongs in the Challenger. There isn’t that muscular roar when step on the accelerator. A new exhaust and some tweaking in the engine could fix this issue.  As for fuel economy, we got an average of 23.4 mpg. Not bad for a coupe that is rated at 19 City/30 Highway/23 Combined. One item that the Challenger is known for is its ride comfort and this hasn’t changed. Even with the optional Super Track Pak fitted to our tester, the Challenger was able to provide a cushy ride over some of Michigan’s terrible roads. Road and wind noise are kept at very low levels. Speaking of the Super Track Pak, this should be mandatory equipment on the V6 model. With firmer suspension bits, it makes the Challenger feel slightly smaller and reduces body roll around corners. However, it cannot mask the Challenger’s weight. Pushing it around a corner, the Challenger feels quite big and not as nimble the as the Chevrolet Camaro I drove afterward. The Challenger SXT Plus starts at $29,995. Add on a few options such as the Blacktop package and you’ll came to an as-tested price of $34,965, pretty good value for a muscle car. Going with the V6 option in the Challenger isn’t bad a choice. You get the looks of a muscle car and some decent performance. But as I drove the Challenger during the week, I couldn’t help but think about what if I had the V8. Six is good, but eight is even better. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Challenger, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Challenger
      Trim: SXT Plus
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 305 @ 6,350
      Torque @ RPM: 268 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/30/23
      Curb Weight: 3,885.2 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $26,995
      As Tested Price: $34,965 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      SXT Plus 3.6L V6 Package 21V - $3,000.00
      Driver Convenience Group - $1,095.00
      Sound Group II - $795.00
      Blacktop Package - $695.00
      Super Track Pak - $695.00
      UConnect 8.4 NAV - $695.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      For a time, the V6 was looked down upon in the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang because they were seen as lackluster. The engines didn’t match aggression that was being expressed by the exterior of the coupes. But rising gas prices and increasing regulations on fuel economy and emissions has the likes of GM, Ford, and FCA revisiting the idea of a V6 muscle car. We recently spent some time in a 2016 Dodge Challenger V6 to see if it is worth it.
      I will argue that the Challenger is still the meanest looking out of the three muscle cars on sale. Dodge’s designers were able to bring the design of the original Challenger into the modern era without making it look like a complete mess. The little details such as the narrow grille, quad headlights, fuel filler cap, and rectangular taillights are here and help it stand out. Our tester featured the optional Blacktop package that adds a blacked-out grille, black stripes, and a set of 20-inch wheels. The downside to bringing the original Challenger design into the modern era is poor visibility. Large rear pillars and a small glass area make it somewhat difficult to backup or making a pass. The good news is that a number of Challenger models like our SXT Plus come with a backup camera as standard and blind spot monitoring is available as an option. The Challenger’s interior hasn’t changed much since we last reviewed it back in 2014 with the SRT 392. It is still a comfortable place to sit in and controls are in easy reach for the driver thanks to the center stack being slightly angled. Still, the limited glass area does mean you will feel somewhat confined. Power for the SXT is Chrysler’s 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic only. If you want a manual, you need to step to one of the V8 engines. The V6 is quite surprising with how much performance is on offer. Step on the accelerator and the V6 moves the Challenger with surprising authority. Power comes on a smooth rate no matter what gear you find yourself in. The eight-speed automatic is one of best in the business with smart shifts. Only disappointment is the V6 doesn’t sound like it belongs in the Challenger. There isn’t that muscular roar when step on the accelerator. A new exhaust and some tweaking in the engine could fix this issue.  As for fuel economy, we got an average of 23.4 mpg. Not bad for a coupe that is rated at 19 City/30 Highway/23 Combined. One item that the Challenger is known for is its ride comfort and this hasn’t changed. Even with the optional Super Track Pak fitted to our tester, the Challenger was able to provide a cushy ride over some of Michigan’s terrible roads. Road and wind noise are kept at very low levels. Speaking of the Super Track Pak, this should be mandatory equipment on the V6 model. With firmer suspension bits, it makes the Challenger feel slightly smaller and reduces body roll around corners. However, it cannot mask the Challenger’s weight. Pushing it around a corner, the Challenger feels quite big and not as nimble the as the Chevrolet Camaro I drove afterward. The Challenger SXT Plus starts at $29,995. Add on a few options such as the Blacktop package and you’ll came to an as-tested price of $34,965, pretty good value for a muscle car. Going with the V6 option in the Challenger isn’t bad a choice. You get the looks of a muscle car and some decent performance. But as I drove the Challenger during the week, I couldn’t help but think about what if I had the V8. Six is good, but eight is even better. Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Challenger, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Dodge
      Model: Challenger
      Trim: SXT Plus
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 305 @ 6,350
      Torque @ RPM: 268 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/30/23
      Curb Weight: 3,885.2 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario
      Base Price: $26,995
      As Tested Price: $34,965 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      SXT Plus 3.6L V6 Package 21V - $3,000.00
      Driver Convenience Group - $1,095.00
      Sound Group II - $795.00
      Blacktop Package - $695.00
      Super Track Pak - $695.00
      UConnect 8.4 NAV - $695.00
    • By dfelt
      G. David Felt
      Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com
       
      2016 J.D. Powers VDS SUVs

      JD powers has their 2016 vehicle dependability study out. VDS Study
       You can review it for all other segments, but being a dedicated SUV / CUV buyer, I was curious to know after 3 years who was top dog.
      Small SUV - Buick Encore Compact SUV - Chevrolet Equinox Compact Premium SUV - Mercedes-Benz GLK Midsize SUV - Nissan Murano Midsize Premium SUV - Lexus GX Large SUV - GMC Yukon I have to say that having 3 of the 6 segments covered by a GM product is pretty damn impressive!
    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
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