As some of you may have noticed, my contributions to the site over the past few weeks have been a bit scarce. It goes without saying, but I had something in the works and it required my full attention and time.

With the turn of the year my wife’s Audi was destined to exit (finally) and this would free up a spot for a new vehicle. The instability in the economy and fuel prices hitting a 5-year low got me thinking as to what my options were. I have been, and still remain, a huge proponent of the BMW Advanced Diesels. I have been eyeing a nicely optioned 335d for sometime now, as many of you know. The timing just did not work within the window I had established so it was a no go. But with the end of the year push, when dealers and manufacturers are trying to close out the books, some of the best deals can often be had.With BMW offering some nice incentives, timing for a new car could not have been better (for us).

I began going down the list of my options in the BMW family of vehicles. My requirements were simple: sport package, manual (yes I know the 335d does not fit this but that car was my one exception), room for four and have the ability to carry my mountain bike.

I mulled over a John Cooper Works MINI Clubman but just could not see myself spending that much money for that car. While in its own right it is a great car and fulfills a market need, it was just not what I was looking for at that price point. I am also not a fan of those barn doors. The next logical move would have been looking into a 135i, but who said that I was logical?

With all the fanfare the 135i has deservingly received, it would have been something worth investigating. It would have been if it had more than 2 doors. While I currently have no children, you never know what can happen within the next year and trying to move a car these days is not the easiest thing (Unless you happen to be one of the world’s foremost experts on the MINI and have a prime example of what that car should be; I digress). So out went the 135i and all coupes, leaving just sedans and sport wagons.

Having spent 50k miles behind the wheel of my 530xit, I can tell you it is a fine car and is great for everything. Everything, except feeling connected to the road. My one complaint about the car is that the steering is a bit light and feedback from the road is minimal. The self-leveling rear suspension is nice for moving heavy things and keeping the car at the optimal ride height but it makes spirited driving a bit of a guessing game at times. It is time for a change. So, hopping back into the same model, though now powered by the N54 twin turbo, is something I decided against.

With that I was left with was the remainder of the 5 and 3 series lineups, specifically the 550i, 535i, 335i or the 328xit (sport wagon is the modern name). Having just picked up a 328xi in Munich for my wife this past October, even though I tried my best to get her into the wagon then, made me want something more.

To be continued…