2014 BMW 328d xDrive Wagon Long-Term Verdict
The Car I'd Own If I Didn't Have This Job
The BMW 328d wagon was easy to like when it showed up last year. It was unique in all the right ways: sharply styled, functional, and optioned to the hilt (including launch control!). Its diesel powertrain made it all the more interesting, promising better fuel economy and plentiful torque. I knew I'd like it, but over the last year and 20,000 miles, I've come to prefer driving the 328d over just about everything else.
There's a lot of everything else -- more than 200 cars showed up to the Motor Trend garage last year for performance testing alone. Still, I found myself constantly navigating toward this diesel-powered station wagon. That may sound strange, and I'd get funny looks when I told people it's one of my favorite cars, but it doesn't make it any less true.
What was the draw? There isn't one specific thing I can call out but rather a collection of pleasant traits and clever features. The interior feels spacious, comfortable, and well-appointed. The seats and steering wheel are terrific, thanks to nice materials and bolsters placed in just the right spots. An unobtrusive head-up display provides relevant information clearly, including speed and turn-by-turn prompts from the navigation. BMW's iDrive infotainment system works well, and I liked being able to split the main screen into two customizable displays.
Driving it was a nice experience. I found the muted clatter of the 2.0-liter turbodiesel endearing and loved the way it delivered torque: a smooth surge around 2,000 rpm that the eight-speed auto would shift around smartly, allowing me to ride the surge around town. The ride struck a nice balance between comfort and fun, the latter aided by the summer tires that came standard on the car. Those tires are just now starting to show their age, and we'd replace them if we planned on keeping the vehicle longer.
"I prefer the 328d over just about everything else."
The 328d performed flawlessly during its stay with nary a mechanical issue. Its service minder prompted two dealer visits for oil changes and inspections, and both were free thanks to BMW's complimentary four-year/50,000 mile service program. As an added bonus, the dealer provided a free loaner car for the duration of the 328d's stay at the shop, which took less than a day both times.
The diesel commands a $1,500 premium over BMW's equivalent gas engine, but outside of the recent extreme and likely short-lived drop in gas prices, it recuperates that cost with stronger fuel economy. The 328d was far less thirsty than our 2012 328i sedan long-termer, which averaged 25.7 mpg over its stay. Not only was our 328d heavier, but its role as a camera car for video shoots also meant it had a harder life chasing sports cars up mountain roads and around racetracks. Despite this, the 328d averaged 33.7 mpg. The premium for the rest of the options is a different matter. This 328d came equipped with every possible option. That may sound shocking, but it provided an opportunity to discover which options are must-haves and which ones you can skip. With a car like the 328d, the right options depend on your intent. Living in cold and snowy environments would make the Cold Weather package's heated steering wheel and front and rear seats more important, but I seldom used them in temperate L.A. Similarly, the adjustable dampers were fun to play with when the car showed up, but I used them less and less as time went on. The M Sport package is a must-have for the seats alone, but the visual additions it includes are welcome, too. The large M Sport Brakes also looked great but are the definition of superfluous when equipped on a diesel wagon.
Any complaints? Just small ones. Polarized sunglasses make certain displays disappear (including the HUD) if you look at them the wrong way. I learned this one morning after some screens mysteriously vanished. Later I realized after a small panic that it was the sunglasses I just bought.
Overall, the 328d proved a wonderful companion for the past year. Whenever I came back from a long trip, I was eager to get back into it, looking forward to hearing the smooth ignition chime and leaning back in the driver's seat. It wasn't long into the year when I realized this is the car I'd own if I didn't have this job.
More on our long-term 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Wagon:
|SERVICE LIFE||12 mo/21,035 mi|
|Price As Tested||$59,200|
|OPTIONS||M Sport ($3,850: 18-in wheels, Sport seats, Highlight trim finishers, Aluminum Hexagon interior trim, M steering wheel, Aerodynamic kit, Shadowline exterior trim, Anthracite headliner, Increased top speed limiter); Technology Package ($3,150: Navigation system with touchpad, Head-up display, BMW Online and BMW Apps, Advanced Real Time Traffic Information, Remote Services, BMW Apps, Enhanced Bluetooth and Smartphone integration); Premium Package ($2,200: Comfort Access keyless entry, Lumbar support, Satellite radio with 1 year subscription); Dynamic Handling Package ($1,000: Adaptive M Suspension, Variable sport steering); Cold Weather Package ($950: Heated steering wheel, front seats, and rear seats; retractable headlight washers); Driver Assistance Package ($950: Rear view camera, Park Distance Control); Lighting package ($900: Xenon headlights); Harman Kardon surround sound ($875); M Sport Brakes ($650); Glacier Silver Metallic ($550); Rear manual side window shades ($250)|
|AVG ECON/CO2||33.7 mpg / 0.64 lb/mi|
|MAINTENANCE COST||$0 (2-oil change, fill DEF, inspection; 1-cabin air filter)|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||$25,700|
|*Automotive Lease Guide data|
|2014 BMW 328d xDrive Wagon|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Turbodiesel I-4, alum block/head|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||121.7 cu in/1995 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||181 hp @ 4000 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||280 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||21.6 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F;R||14.6-in vented disc; 13.6-in vented disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||8.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||225/45R18 91Y; 255/40R18 95Y Bridgestone Potenza S001|
|TRACK, F/R||60.3/61.8 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||182.1 x 71.3 x 56.3 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||38.4 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3901 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST., F/R||48/52 %|
|HEADROOM, F/R||40.4/38.3 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||42.0/35.0 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||55.1/55.1 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||17.5 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||4.1|
|QUARTER MILE||15.5 sec @ 87.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||106 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.89 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.7 sec @ 0.65 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1500 rpm|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, front side, f/r side, front head, f/r head, front curtain, f/r curtain, front side/head; f/r side/head, front knee, driver knee, passenger knee, pedestrian|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||4 yrs/Unlimited|
|FUEL CAPACITY||15.0 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||31/43/35 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||122/88 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.63 lb/mile|