2014 BMW 328d xDrive Wagon Long-Term Update 3
Service, Stop, Start
The 328d has been effortlessly clicking off miles ever since it showed up. A staff member favorite for road trips, the wagon offers plenty of space for luggage, great ride quality and entertainment features for long drives, and excellent fuel economy. One morning, the odometer crested 8000 miles and the service minder appeared. They sure grow up quick.
BMW does a good job of illustrating service requirements. When nearing an interval, the minder appears in the gauge cluster during startup, informing you the recommend miles and days before the next stop. Dive into the iDrive service menu and the car tells you specifically what it needs. In this case, it was an oil change at 9000 miles – its first.
The service visit was simple and straightforward. After setting an appointment with the local BMW dealer a day in advance, I dropped the car off in the morning and picked up a complimentary loaner -- a new and rather powerful X3 xDrive35i. A few hours later, and well before the estimated time of competition, the dealer called and said the 328d was washed and ready. Total cost? Free, thanks to BMW's complimentary 4 year/50,000 mile service program. The next oil change isn't recommended until June 2015 or after the next 7000 miles. Judging by how much this car's been driven, we'll hit the latter first.
Another neat trick is BMW's stop/start system. Like all of its type, it turns the engine off when you reach a stop and starts it as you come off the brake pedal in order to save fuel. The 328d's feels far improved compared with our gas-powered 2012 528i long-termer's, reacting quicker and producing less of a shudder. Kim Reynolds, who likened that car's system to a wet dog shaking, was particularly impressed with the smoothness of the new system.
Though much improved, the 328d still demands a little adapting, initially requiring slightly more concentration to stop perfectly smoothly. I take pride in this, ramping up brake pressure and releasing it as the car comes to a complete stop in order to minimize headshake. (Hey, you have to keep yourself entertained somehow in L.A. traffic.) The tricky bit is that it seems like the 328d tries to anticipate the stop, shutting the engine off just slightly before the car comes to rest. If you release the brake pressure too much, there's the potential for the engine to turn off and then immediately turn back on because it thinks you're ready to go. This happened a few times when I first drove the car, but it stopped once I acclimated.
The system behaves smoothly otherwise, which is impressive considering the stereotypically rough nature of diesel engines. When the engine does start, it's smooth and quick, allowing you to drive off as if it had been on the entire time. And if you don't like stop/start, a button right by the starter disables the system completely. Even better: The car remembers this setting after you turn it off.
More on our long-term 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Wagon:
|Service life||10,761 mi|
|Average fuel economy||32.4 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||0.60 lb/mi|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ||31/43/35 mpg|
|Energy consumption||104 kW-hr/100mi|