In what is possibly the most comprehensive and realistic new car rating system conceived in Australia, BMW has dominated the field in Wheels magazine’s annual Gold Star Cars awards.
Differing from Wheels Car of the Year awards, also conducted annually, the Gold Star awards look at cars costing up to $150,000 and focus on a pragmatic set of values that relate directly to potential new car buyers faced with the dilemma of deciding which cars are going to deliver the best financial outcome at purchase time and during ownership.
Embracing aspects including purchase price, retained value, insurance costs, fuel costs, warranty details, servicing costs, safety and, finally, the driving experience, the Gold Star Cars awards weed out the vehicles that don’t measure up.
All categories attract points up to a maximum of 100, awarded largely on pragmatic considerations, with the driving experience the only truly subjective – but important - consideration.
In the process of judging the 2008 Gold Star awards, Wheels considered no less than 98 sub-$150,000 cars in 18 categories, which covered the bulk of the Australian new-car market.
The aim of the Gold Star Cars awards, according to Wheels, is to determine the best financial propositions in each category – underpinned by the presumption that none of the finalists are unrewarding to live with.
BMW’s prominence in the 2008 awards, on the back of an impressive performance in 2007 where five BMWs scored top ratings, is little short of astounding.
No less than eight BMWs were judged as best in their respective classes against solid competition from other car manufacturers.
Prominent among the BMWs scoring Gold Star awards in 2008 were the new 1 Series 125i Convertible and 135i Coupé. The 125i Convertible was judged the best Convertible under $100,00, with a score of 91.99 points awarded for aspects such as its unlimited-kilometre, three years warranty, low servicing costs and inbuilt BMW values such as safety and the quality of the driving experience.
The 135i Coupé was recognized as the best Sports Coupe under $150,000, earning points with its highly competitive purchase price and insurance costs, low servicing costs and exceptional driving experience.
The 1 Series earned another two spots in the Gold Star awards too. The 120i scored as top Premium Compact costing between $30,000 and $50,000 with high points for safety, insurance costs and dynamics, while Wheels rated the 130i Sport as the Best Hot Hatch. The 130i Sport scored points for its low warranty and service costs, high levels of safety and, of course, its 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder driving experience. Snapping at the 130i’s heels was none other than the MINI Cooper S Chilli, which garnered 88.65 points.
The BMW 335i with its Twin Turbo inline six cylinder engine gathered the award for the best Sports Sedan Under $110,000, while the best Premium Mid-Large sedan between $50,000 and $100,000 Gold Star award went to the BMW 530d which was lauded for its “brilliant” turbo diesel engine, impressive fuel savings and poised chassis.
BMW’s turbo-diesel X5 3.0sd Sports Activity Vehicle also topped the Medium SUV category with its “razor-sharp chassis” and the “scads of torque” produced by its 200kW/565Nm inline six-cylinder engine.
And the BMW Z4 3.0si came home ahead of all comers in the Sports Roadster Under $150,000 category, fending off formidable competition with its high scores for aspects such as servicing costs, warranty provisions and, most importantly, for the driving dynamics. “One of the most engaging rear-drive experiences money can buy,” Wheels enthused.
Wheels magazine BMW Gold Star Cars 2008
BMW 120i Best Premium Compact $30,000 to $50,000
BMW 530d Best Premium Mid-Large sedan $50,000 to $100,000
BMW 125i Convertible Best Convertible Under $100,000
BMW 335i sedan Best Sports Sedan Under $110,000
BMW Z4 3.0si Best Sports Roadster Under $150,000
BMW 135i Coupe Best Sports Coupe Under $150,000
BMW 130i Sport Best Hot Hatch
BMW X5 3.0sd Best Medium SUV
Leave a comment