BMW's foray into cutting-edge styling with former chief designer Chris Bangle's "flame surfacing" technique was a failure among both critics and consumers. In an effort to return to the days of critical acceptance of its vehicles, BMW has ditched flame surfacing for its more traditional, and very graceful and athletic, styling cues.
Reviewers are very impressed with the revised styling of the 2009 BMW 3-Series, which Motor Trend says now has "a slightly sharper, more muscular appearance than its predecessor." This set of BMW 2009 models—"available in sedan, wagon, [and] coupe" variants, according to Cars.com—comes in either 328i or 335i trim, depending on the engine option. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that the minor updates to the BMW 3-Series should enhance the car's visual appeal, as Car and Driver praises the "friendlier-looking lower air intakes" and notes that "the front lighting units are accentuated with LED turn signals encased in a cool-looking grid." Edmunds reviewers point out that "some of the sedan and wagon's more questionable styling elements have been rectified" with the addition of "a new front fascia that's reminiscent of the sexier coupe and convertible." For those who need a little more space than the coupe or sedan can offer, Car and Driver declares that the BMW 3-Series "station wagon looks better than ever, and some at BMW believe U.S. sales may pick up soon."
If you're seeking a flashy interior, TheCarConnection.com's research suggests that you might want to look somewhere other than the 2009 BMW 3-Series. It's not that there's anything wrong with this BMW 2009 lineup's interior appearance, but rather that the interior tends toward the conservative side. Edmunds finds that the BMW 3-Series "interiors provide a restrained show of luxury," and although they can be "a tad plain, the emphasis in on driver comfort and involvement"—elements that no driving purist can argue against. For the 2009 BMW 3-Series, Motor Trend notes the availability of "new colors and materials" on the interior, while Automobile Magazine raves about the fact that the "ergonomics are great, though [they] miss the angled IP of the last-generation [BMW] 3-Series." The only complaints regarding the interior layout come from ConsumerGuide, which gripes that the "audio and climate controls are compromised by their low mounting position and some cryptic markings."