Spiritually, we feel a little adrift. When Pope Benedict XVI resigned in February, it was the second deeply confounding blow in a short period. A few months prior, we’d pitted the new F30-generation BMW 328i against a Cadillac ATS and concluded that the Caddy was the more entertaining car. Given the 3-series’s history in our testing—22 consecutive 10Best awards and a nearly unblemished comparison-test record—this revelation was, to us, unsettling. While the 328i eked out a victory over the ATS on the merits of its powertrain and overall polish, it seemed that perhaps the time had come to convene our own ­College of Cardinals. From the cars gathered here, we shall anoint the spiritual leader for sports sedans everywhere.

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