By Khulekani Dumisa
I’ve been agonizing about this one and forgive me if I don’t do it justice. There’s so much to say yet the most appropriate words are hard to find. The BMW 325is needs no introduction. It’s loved across cultures, generations and locations in South Africa. Its admiration is nearly unparalleled in car circles. Most will never get to drive it though, and those who have, will probably never get to drive one that’s as pristine as the fine specimen that has been restored by cars.co.za for their sentimetal heritage project.
The BMW 325i subject matter can be approached in many angles. The sheer beauty stands out as you approach the car. There are no laser lights or all the fancy technology you find in newer cars. It is basic by today’s standards yet all still beautiful.
Step inside and you are immediately struck by how narrow the car is. This is not a snide remark at the car but perhaps an observation on how large modern cars have become. Nonetheless, the space is sufficient for the driver and front passenger. It doesn’t take long for you to orientate yourself with the car. It’s also intriguing how quickly you get to adjust to the car notwithstanding that it is over 30 years old. There are also luxury amenities on offer like electric windows, electronically adjustable mirrors and aircon.
The back bench can be seen as an extension of the luggage space or for small kids (on very short trips). Adults will struggle back there.
On the road
The first thing to note is that the car sits very low so you have to be careful driving it on our pothole laden roads, more so in a recently restored icon.
Then there is adjusting to sitting in a narrow car where things are much closer to you – pedals, gear lever and the steering wheel. I didn’t find it bothersome actually. It made me feel more connected to the car.
Firing up a 30 year old legend is an emotional experience, especially one that sounds as good as the 325is. Getting her going is another experience although surprisingly easy and not foreign at all. Another factor is comfort. A sporting icon known for its racing prowess is probably not expected to drive so well but it does. My co-driver couldn’t stop remarking how much of a great cruiser the 325is is. I agree with him actually. The well maintained N17 may have had something to do with it but still, the 325is is very forgiving.
Okay, you are probably not here for that. The 145 kW of power from the straight six-cylinder engine isn’t much in today’s world where hot hatches can challenge super cars on short sprints, but the power is felt even after all these years. The 325is is still no slouch! The car delivers its power early and rapidly. It’s also keen to show you its playful nature very quickly so you must have your wits about you. Being an old car, there isn’t much technology to mop after you. That said, the experience isn’t intimidating at all. Almost all enthusiasts can enjoy the car. There’s just something for everyone on offer.
Thanks again to cars.co.za for the experience.
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