Why the BMW 3 Series will always be my number 1 choice

From a very young age I developed an interest in the type of sleek convertibles that exclusively seemed to be shown cruising along a beach front in films. It cemented my love for sports models, despite the fact that such gleaming automotive specimens would, on the road of Britain, seem marginally less glamorous.

For me though, nothing could dampen the intrigue of the BMW 3 Series, a car that I wanted as a kid and planned for as an adult, for me it was the ultimate driving machine. Whether my love has held true due to its long standing reign, or whether, like the Toyota MR2, I’d still want one after the production line had stopped, I don’t know.

I don’t want to know, because for me the 3 Series was part of my motor biography from an age when adults would chuckle at my aspirations and marvel at the fact that a 2 litre engine simply wouldn’t do.

First brought to us in 1975, it’s easy to see why die-hard Beemer fans have held the 3 Series close, for many of us, we watched it blossom while keeping that essence that really endeared us to BMW’s top selling model.

Looking back, the first generation E21 (1975-1983) was surprisingly rectangular, with a grill that could swallow a tree if you were unfortunate enough to bump one. It’s strange therefore that the early models that endeared us all still appeal today, nearly 40 years and 6 generations later.

So, what is it about the 3 Series than transcended the wrath of time? Is it that uncanny knack to be both sporty and corporate, or is the drive so unrivalled that nothing else could come close? According to reviews in high places however, the Mercedes C Class and Audi’s A4 came pretty close in drivability, yet barely touched the 3 Series in the reputation stakes.

The BMW 3 Series is that rare thing though that combines style, heritage, driving pleasure and a range of specifications. All of this is wrapped up in a luxurious bow and given a fairly affordable price-tag (OK so they’re not cheap, but there’s enough around to make them attainable enough for middle-class Joe).

In 2015 we’ll see the 3 Series morph into a younger, fitter version as the new 2 Series Convertible is revealed, a coupe hunk of sophisticated that’s both smaller (marginally), lighter (generously) more expensive (not too painful) and more luxurious than the 3 Series.

The 3 Series has grown up, but 2015 won’t see the classic be uprooted by the new kid on the block. I, as do 3 Series fans everywhere, know that the 2 Series is simply a 1 Series with eyeliner. Pretty, desirable, far from void of merit; but simply lacking the blue blood of the 3 Series.

I’ll still always remember watching an old 3 Series die its noble death. With the engine idling and growling and the alarm sporadically whining, the 3 series went down in a noisy, embarrassing road side show-down.

Even after that, I still wanted one. In red. No black. Yes.

Victoria is a motoring blogger and German car enthusiast who regularly writes about anything and everything petrol related for Number 1 Plates, a custom number plate manufacturer specialising in replacement BMW number plates.


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