|Reviewed By||Jeff Stites|
|Price as Tested||$55,500: 2.0-L I4, 240-hp, TwinPower Turbo, 16-valve engine, 8-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, xDrive all-wheel-drive. Options: M Sport, Cold Weather Package, Dynamic Handling Package, Premium Package|
Black trim accents make the eye-catching Estoril Blue paint stand out. The front end definitely says “BMW,” but the back end raises eyebrows. Deployable rear wing adds to the cool factor while aiding in downforce at speeds in excess of 65 mph. In true BMW fashion, the interior and driving controls are user-friendly and well laid out, even though it took me a while to find a “sweet spot” with the eight-way electrically adjusted driver’s seat. Excellent Harman Kardon surround sound system with quick and easy Bluetooth connectivity. A unique feature is the in-cabin, double-pull hood release, eliminating the underhood secondary release that’s standard on most cars. Why is this just now a feature available? Always one of my favorite options, the moon roof coupled with the rear roof glass brings in added sunlight when desired — especially enjoyable now that the sun finally made its presence known after our dreary and gray Pacific Northwest winter.
The rear body lines didn’t win a lot of votes. The Gran Turismo body style seems like it doesn’t know whether it’s a sporting four-door or a wagon. The exterior headlight washers generate excessive overspray, which, if you’re a detail freak, means you’ll be wiping down your hood a bit more than you are used to. Surprisingly, at $55k, there’s no rear-mounted camera to aid in backing up (although it’s an available option). At 240-hp with twin-scroll turbo, the 328i didn’t really pick up and go, even while in Sport Mode. Undoubtedly the weight and all-wheel drive components were hindrances to its quickness. The electric steering tends to feel vague at varying speeds. Brakes are a hair touchy when cold, possibly due in part to the regenerative braking or the Brake-Fade Compensation system. Our car had an annoying rattle at freeway speed coming from the plastic steering column shroud.
With the 8-speed automatic, the car likes to short-shift, which aids in fuel economy. Sport Mode increases shift rev range, but there’s still not a lot of punch for the noise generated. Front and rear heated seats will keep travel companions toasty on cool mornings and evening excursions, and with the added rear leg room the GT offers, rear passengers will have no complaints that they were too slow in yelling “shotgun.” Vast rear compartment space, enough for me to haul three sets of motorcycle road race bodywork. Nice anchor locations — both adjustable track and hidden, low-load panel hooks — will keep goods from rolling around.
|Fun to Drive|
|Fun to Look at|
|Horsepower||240 @ 5,000 rpm|
|Torque||255 @ 1,250-4,800 rpm|
|EPA Mileage||22 city/33 hwy|
For more about this car, please visit the manufacturer's website.