A new BMW 3-series sedan is finally here. That means the often lauded last-generation 3’s days are numbered, and it will soon give way to redesigned coupes, convertibles, and M versions. We’re a little sad to see the previous 3-series go, as it didn’t necessarily need to be redone. Even in its last year, the 3-series treated its competition like a bull treats a rodeo clown. Sure, you sort of admire the goofy bravery of the guy in floppy shoes, but the bull always has him on the run. That is, unless you’re in Mexico or Spain, but that’s a whole other sport.
Is the new 328i still capable of sending the clowns scrambling? Are the other cars in the segment even all that laughable anymore? We gathered an Audi A4 2.0T Quattro, an Infiniti G25 Journey, a Mercedes-Benz C250 Sport, and a Volvo S60 T6 AWD—each fitted with an automatic transmission—to find out.
If we’d assembled this group last year, only the Audi would have been equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder. This year, three of the five cars in the test have four-bangers under their hoods. The two new four-cylinder cars are the entries from BMW and Mercedes, each of which chopped two cylinders and added a turbocharger to create more-efficient base engines.