October 16, 2014
I make an attempt to keep our test cars from getting door dings. That means doing things like parking far away from other cars in parking lots (much to the annoyance of whoever is riding with me) and/or grabbing that coveted end spot. At least with the last you can keep one side of the car safe.
That's what I was trying to do with our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo when I parked at the Redondo Beach pier to watch some football at a sports bar with friends.
When I got back to the car, I found this Ford Mustang "parked" next to the BMW. And there's your proof for why we go to lengths to protect the test cars. Because, apparently, some people are parking bozos.
October 15, 2014
We're used to seeing dual-zone climate controls in cars these days. Most of the time the dual-zone-ness of the system is in terms of separate temperature controls between the driver and front passenger.
But the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo offers something that's not as common: dual-zone mode control.
October 10, 2014
This warning came up on the instrument panel and navigation screen while I was driving the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo in heavy traffic the other day: "Objects detected on road!"
October 7, 2014
We've reached a new low in our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. Our worst tank is now at 9.8 mpg, which also helped drop our overall lifetime fuel economy to 22.8 mpg.
October 2, 2014
As we reported last week, it was time to bring our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo to the dealer for maintenance. It was calling for a basic oil change and nothing more. Pretty straightforward, right?
September 25, 2014
"You know what? My arms are tired. I need a place to put them. A place to rest them, in fact. Those suckers have just been dangling at the ends of my shoulders since birth. It's getting old."
September 23, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is due for its first scheduled service at 16,000 miles. The opening image flashes immediately after the car is started up and goes away nearly as quickly. These pictures accompanied the service request...
September 17, 2014
You can never have a truck often enough when moving homes. It's an invaluable tool before, during and for weeks after the move. I might make the costs of a pickup part of the escrow package next time I move. I didn't have a truck when I needed to dispose of old paint cans, some decaying chemicals and other junk left behind by the previous owners, but the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo was available.
September 15, 2014
I'm one of the lucky ones. On my commute between Edmunds H.Q. in Santa Monica and Orange County, I get to drive 41 miles each way. Naturally, this gives me plenty of time to familiarize myself with each test vehicle and evaluate, in many cases, navigation systems and their real-time traffic capabilities.
I'm afraid our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has a case of T.M.I., or Too Much Information.
September 9, 2014
I didn't expect it, but our long-term 2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo has really grown on me.
For this we can thank the Chinese.
September 4, 2014
In the month of August, our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo added a tick more than 1,500 miles to its odometer while consuming just shy of 70 gallons of 91-octane. The abacus says it delivered 21.6 miles per gallon for the month.
September 1, 2014
I knew it would be no big deal to put my road bike into the back of the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo.
But I wasn't expecting it would have a large enough seats-down cargo area that I could just throw it in there, all-wheels-on.
August 28, 2014
Get used to automatic start-stop systems like the one on our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo because they're only going to become more widespread in years to come. Such systems are quickly gaining favor as a fuel-saving and pollution-reducing measure because they temporarily shut down the engine when a vehicle is going nowhere at stoplights.
The basic logic of the concept is hard to argue with, but anything that's this much of a departure from the norm is bound to earn itself a heaping helping of detractors. Some can't get past the feeling that their engine just stalled. Others can't stand it when their car does something they didn't initiate. And there will always be those that give a thumbs-down to anything that stands in the way of a quick getaway.
For them there's an off button.
But what are the disablers missing out on? Are the fuel savings big enough to be noticeable or is this just another one of those theoretical decimal-place increases that automakers chase after because they're desperate for anything that can nudge their CAFE score up a peg?
I cooked up a test to see if I could find out.
August 26, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo just hit the 15,000-mile mark, apparently when someone was driving it at 5:36 in the morning.
Aside from feeling sorry for that poor sap for being up so early, at least he was probably happy to be driving this BMW wagon-ish/crossover thing. It's been a staff favorite since it arrived.
August 25, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is trying to bridge a gap between compact crossover and station wagon that we're not 100% sure exists. But we've spent months talking about the function and the styling and the way it drives on the road. What happens when we really put the spurs to it and get our 240-horsepower, M Sport package equipped crosswagon on the track? Will it perform like a 3 Series should, or did they split the difference here, too?
August 19, 2014
Like the rest of the world, I've hated the auto stop-start feature that's been cropping up in cars for the last couple of years. But after two days of letting it operate as intended in our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo, I think it may be a good thing.
August 18, 2014
The dog days have arrived, and so it was time to buy a fan, and get it home. As others have noted, the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo can easily haul a lot of cargo. For me, the important thing was that it could take in the fan's long box. And now I'm cool.
August 6, 2014
It's the summer traveling season, but our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo hatchback failed to find its way onto the open road much this month. Only 1,330 miles got added to its odometer, and a substantial fraction of them were in-town city miles.
But not every single mile was driven in city traffic, of course. Some of them had to be freeway miles. We just don't know how many.
Whatever the mix, this month's average of 18.7 mpg is not a good number. It falls well short of the BMW's 22-mpg City mpg rating, and it pales in comparison with the Gran Turismo's 26-mpg combined rating. Theoretically, our unknown city-heavy driving mix should fall somewhere between the two, not below the lowest one.
What's up? There are a couple of theories.
August 04, 2014
Someone on staff has great aim. For the second time in just a few weeks, I hopped into a car with a low tire-pressure-warning light and a screw in the tire. The victim this week was one of the rear Pirelli run-flats affixed to our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo.
July 25, 2014
This is not an inexpensive car. Base price is $42,375 and our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo, which has more than its fair share of options, carries an MSRP of $55,500.
At those numbers it should be equipped with plenty of cool stuff, which it is. Check out its big sunroof.
July 24, 2014
Playing aimlessly with the iDrive system of our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo can have its rewards, but it can also be a bit like surfing eBay Motors after a few hard lemonades. You wake up the next day with a bad headache and keen sense of regret.
So I found out.
July 16, 2014
Sometimes simple is best. Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo still has a simple one-touch button to reset its trip meter.
July 08, 2014
The trip requirements were as follows: Room for three people, a small weekend bag each and a whole heap of surprise party stuff. The latter included decorations, food and two boxes of booze — for the 15-plus attendees, not just the three in the car. Any number of our Edmunds long-term cars could get the job done, but as the journey would take us up into the mountains around Lake Arrowhead, California, a car of some athleticism was preferred.
July 04, 2014
Part of the appeal of the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is its longer wheelbase and body than the regular 3 Series sedan and wagon. BMW has put that extra length to use for expanding the amount of rear legroom and cargo space.
If you're an adult seated in back, you'll probably be impressed by the amount of space you have to stretch out your legs. It's excellent for any entry-level luxury car. At the same time, however, you could be disappointed in the amount of headroom the 3 GT has.
July 03, 2014
The lifetime fuel economy of our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has gone up by two tenths to 24.1 mpg in a month. That means we're within 2 mpg of the EPA combined figure. Our best tank and best range records remained unbeaten, but it's hard to think that 497 miles and 33.2 mpg ever will be.
July 02, 2014
When you order a 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo with the optional Technology package (as with our test car), it comes with a navigation system, an upgraded display screen and a head-up display. You also get BMW's latest telematics and smartphone app integration services.
But understanding exactly what you're getting with those services can be confusing.
July 1, 2014
As you likely know, BMW offers two engines for the 328i Gran Turismo: the 240-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the 328i (like our car) or the 300-hp, 3.0-liter six-cylinder in the 335i Gran Turismo.
So which one to get? Well, I suppose my title has already given the answer away. But here are my reasons why.
June 30, 2014
If you bought a 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo like our car, I suspect there's a good chance you'd be pretty pleased every time you took a seat and looked around at the GT's high quality interior.
June 26, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has many desirable attributes. It's practical. It's classy. It's also pretty quick when you give it the boot. But from the traditional 3 Series sedan standpoint, I don't find our GT particularly rewarding or enjoyable to drive.
June 24, 2014
If BMW made a minivan, my update here would end immediately. You can't beat a big box on wheels with sliding doors for maximum family-oriented versatility and practicality. But, of course, BMW doesn't make a minivan (much to the relief of BMW enthusiasts everywhere.)
But that does lead to the question: What's the best vehicle in BMW's current lineup for families? Could it be our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo?
June 18, 2014
I may be punished for calling the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo a grocery-getter. But in this case, that's not a bad thing.
June 16, 2014
The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo doesn't remember me. Or rather, it doesn't remember my phone. Returning to the car with phone in pocket, the Gran Turismo often won't reconnect with my phone as an audio device. In this case, I'd slid back into the driver's seat after a visit to the car wash. I tried to launch a podcast, but no luck. The system indicated that it wasn't connected to my phone as an external audio device.
June 12, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has a premium audio system, when it's hauling two re-coned Jennings Research speaker stacks encased in walnut cabinets, that is. A defunct speaker maker started by a former JBL engineer, Jennings made really nice product, but apparently lacked the business sense to succeed. The speakers sing sweetly again, given new life by the pros at Orange County Speaker.
June 11, 2014
Two cars: one our long-term 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo and the other a 2014 BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon. They're both 3 Series, they both have extra cargo space compared to the regular sedan, both come standard with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and they even have the same base price at $42,375.
And yet, they are quite different.
June 10, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i has the M Sport package, or M Sport "line" as BMW calls it. It's a $3,750 option over the base setup and it includes these sporty wheels, some minor exterior changes, an M Sport steering wheel, sport seats and a few unique interior colors and trim.
June 5, 2014
With just over 11,000 miles now on the clock, our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has racked up another 3,000 miles in the month of May. The best mpg, worst mpg and best range numbers all stood pat, while the average mpg nearly did. The latter dropped a mere tenth of an mpg.
June 3, 2014
It doesn't look like much, especially with a healthy coat of dust on it, but the turbocharged 2.0-liter in our 2014 BMW 328i GT is a real piece of work.
May 30, 2014
Over the long holiday weekend, our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo reached a milestone: It has covered 10,000 miles in our care.
May 27, 2014
In this MP3 era, seeing the album artwork on a display is the closest thing we have to holding the CD insert and looking at it while listening to the music. In 2004, I bought a fourth generation iPod, the first to display album artwork. Despite the artwork being smaller than a postage stamp, I was blown away. Years later, I continue to be impressed whenever a car has the ability to display cover art.
May 20, 2014
When you're traveling about 40 mph and you get a chance for a burst of speed, this is my favorite time in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. It provides powerful mid-range torque combined with a quick-thinking transmission. It's satisfyingly responsive.