March 3, 2015
The office was in full party mode, celebrating Mike Monticello's return from Austin, when he strode to my desk and threw the keys to the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo in my face. "It needs to go in for service now," he bellowed like a demon lord perched atop a pile of skulls. It was typical Monty, but the car did need to visit the dealer for basic maintenance.
The 328i doesn't have a standard service schedule. It instead has an onboard computer that calculates the interval based on how it is driven. An oil change was all the computer requested this time. The drivetrain malfunction that Mike experienced and the warning message Donna saw also needed addressing.
February 24, 2015
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo requested windshield wiper fluid despite receiving scheduled maintenance at Santa Monica BMW just a few months ago. Coolant, power steering, brake and windshield wiper fluids are topped off during normal service. So we couldn't explain why it was low again already.
February 23, 2015
Tires ain't cheap.
Our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo wears a set of Pirellis (Cinturato P7 All-Season Run Flat) sized 225/50R18.
They're far from the most expensive tire in the land, but according to TireRack.com they cost $189 dollars each on closeout. Not exactly chump change. And the last time we had a puncture back about 11,000 miles ago we paid over $350 for one.
The good news is that these tires last a good long time.
February 18, 2015
A few weeks ago I shot a video of our BMW's power liftgate in action. It did not break YouTube, but I thought it well illustrated the unique hatchbackness of our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo.
However, what I didn't show you was the adjustability of the hatch's opening height which is accomplished with just a few twists and turns of BMW's iDrive dial.
February 17, 2015
Day 4: Willcox, Arizona to Lake Forest, California, 562 miles.
Although I guess you could say I was "working" on a Saturday for the last day of my Austin Road Trip, the nice thing about driving on the weekend is that there isn't so much of a "rush hour" period that you have to make sure to avoid. I veered off Interstate 10 to Interstate 8 West toward San Diego, but to be honest it's a crapshoot as to how bad traffic will be down there, too.
The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and I hit considerable rain all morning in Arizona, but the GT pushed through without any trouble. As I mentioned previously, this is a solid and stable car. It gives you a good sense of security to press on at reasonable speed even in less-than-perfect road conditions.
But the day wasn't without problems.
February 16, 2015
Day 3: Austin, Texas to Willcox, Arizona, 871 miles.
This being my second road trip to Austin in the past six months, I wanted to do something other than slog along Interstate 10 west on the way home. So I came up with a plan: I would head northwest in the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo to some mountain roads in southern New Mexico and Arizona, the same ones Automotive Editor Dan Frio and photog "Krazy" Kurt Niebuhr took during their trip back from Houston in our long-term 2015 Audi A3.
I planned it all out the night before I left Austin, including a texting conversation with Frio (no way was I actually going to talk on the phone with that dude, that would be nuts) for road specifics and recommendations for lodging.
But then I checked the weather forecast. The parts of New Mexico and Arizona I was heading for, which were at significant elevation, were going to be getting something like a half-foot of snow during the time I'd be driving through. Snowy conditions, mountain roads, elevation...even with the Gran Turismo's all-wheel drive I just didn't have it in me, especially without snow tires or chains. There was potential for disaster, not to mention hours and hours of slow going.
I needed a new plan.
February 12, 2015
Day 2: Deming, New Mexico to Austin, Texas, 689 miles.
Getting through El Paso, Texas is one of the worst parts of the road trip to Austin. The traffic is always thick and slow, and by sure dumb luck (with the emphasis on "dumb") the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and I were trying to get through right at morning rush hour.
Google Maps re-routed me around a good portion of the city on a mountainous loop. Of course I blindly followed its instructions. This took me well outside of the city, and I'm not sure it was any faster. Quite a bit more scenic, though, and considerably less aggravating. We'll call it a win.
Once past El Paso the trip got much better, even though west Texas isn't exactly known for its scenic beauty. I definitely like the 80 mph speed limit on Interstate 10 and the wide-open, plenty-of-space character.
February 11, 2015
Day 1: Lake Forest, California to Deming, New Mexico, 692 miles.
I'm not sure why I keep getting sent to Austin, Texas for press drive events. What with the state capital's unofficial slogan of "Keep Austin Weird," the bosses might have been thinking, "Let's see, Monticello is a weirdo, if we send him there enough maybe he'll finally find a place he fits in."
Regardless of the reasoning, I was on another road trip to Austin, this time in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo, as opposed to the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI I took on my previous trip to the Lone Star State.
Since it's about a 1,400-mile journey, I'd take two days to get there, just like last time. Ah yes, but unlike the last trip, which saw me procrastinate and not hit the road until 1:30 p.m., this time I was determined to get going much earlier.
And you know what? Mission accomplished.
February 9, 2015
I was driving to work in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo minding my own business when this warning flashed on the instrument panel and on the head-up display.
Objects detected on road!
February 6, 2015
During the month of January we put 4,350 miles on our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. We averaged 26.3 mpg for the month on 165.5 gallons of mostly 91 (but a few fill-ups of 93, when out of state) octane fuel, helping the car's lifetime fuel economy average rise from 23.1 mpg to 23.7.
That high (for us) monthly average was aided by a road trip to Austin, Texas and back. Look for more on that soon. The 26.3 mpg average for the month means the Gran Turismo achieved the EPA's estimated combined average of 26 mpg for the 328i xDrive, but of course there were considerable highway miles along the way.
Our worst tank for the month was 18.6 mpg, our best was 32.7 (during that Texas road trip) and our best range for the month was 448.3 (also during the road trip).
February 3, 2015
Every time I think our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is just like any other 3 Series I get another reminder of how it's different.
It's easy to forget about the back half of the car from the driver seat as it drives just like the sedan. Then I go shopping for some bedroom décor for my daughter and all that extra space suddenly becomes the perfect storage area for all the random stuff we bought.
January 29, 2015
I think some consumers get the wrong impression of BMW. One of my neighbors, a Lexus owner, told me recently how BMWs are drivers' cars and he wants something comfortable.
This may have been true in 1972. But today it's a misinterpretation of the BMW's long running Ultimate Driving Machine tagline.
Unless you're talking about an M3 GTS, which lacked air conditioning to save weight and came with a factory roll bar and fire extinguisher, modern BMWs put a high priority on luxury and comfort. Some more than others.
Our long-term 2014 BMW 328i GT, for instance, is extremely comfortable. Extremely.
January 28, 2015
January 26, 2015
I really like this car. Our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is so exceptional I not only often recommend it to my friends and family, I would happily own one myself.
But it's not perfect. No car is perfect.
January 22, 2015
Checking this car's engine oil level could not be easier. Or unmessy. You don't even have to open the hood. Heck, you don't even have to leave its leather-covered driver seat.
Like many luxury cars these days, our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has no traditional oil dipstick. Instead, you check its engine oil level with a few twists and turns of its iDrive dial.
January 20, 2015
File this one in the "Mark's a whiny little wuss" folder. When I'm driving in normal conditions, I tend to fiddle with things. I'll tap incessantly on a shifter emblem, push the parking brake release button, scratch at the stitching on the steering wheel. Hey, it's better than digging for gold or putting on makeup, right?
January 19, 2015
Our Mineral Gray Metallic 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo joined our long-term fleet back in February and we've already driven it 20,000 miles.
That's 20,000 miles in just 10 months.
Yes we love driving the all-wheel drive, four-door hatchback, and its reliability has proven to be noteworthy.
January 8, 2015
See the stats after the jump...
January 5, 2015
Like many on our staff, I'm a little adverse to stop/start systems like the one in our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. It's usually one of the first things I turn off when I get in a car. But that didn't happen this weekend and I was a little surprised that I didn't think much about it.
December 22, 2014
One of my weirder traits, and there are many, is that I don't like anything in my pockets while I'm driving. I mean nothing. It's not that I wear tight jeans, although I have admittedly gained a few pounds since my shoulder surgery. Even when I wear cargo shorts with big pockets I like to be free of all paraphernalia.
So one of the first things I do when I get into a car with keyless ignition (which seems to be nearly every car we test here at Edmunds these days) is to find a good spot to store the key fob.
As you can see in the photo, I found such a location in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. There's a tiny tray next to the 12V power outlet, near-perfect for holding the fob in place, even during cornering.
December 18, 2014
After not having been in our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo for a while, driving it had the exact opposite effect on me as it did on our incredibly esteemed Features Editor, Mike Magrath. Click here for his take.
Magrath wants more motor, says the 2.0-liter turbo-four with 240 horsepower "just isn't enough for me." Which is funny, because while I was driving it I was thinking, "man, there's always plenty of oomph, enough that it's easy to forget this thing is just a four-cylinder. It wouldn't be hard to mistake it for a six."
And hey, I've gone on record as saying this is one of the best four-cylinder engines out there. And by that I mean I just said it right now.
December 10, 2014
My six-foot Christmas tree fit perfectly inside our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and was able to close fully, even with the stand already attached. This is why I love hatchbacks.
The GT's cargo capacity with all seats in place is 25.0 cu.ft. Drop the two back seats and this hatchback is simply cavernous.
December 9, 2014
It rained in Los Angeles last week. I know this doesn't seem like an extreme weather event to many of you, but in L.A. a few things happen when it rains.
For one thing, everyone goes crazy. But also the roads get a slick oily top coat, and if you're not careful, you could have a problem with sudden stops. Potholes form out of nowhere as if the rain disintegrates the asphalt. And last but not least, three traffic lights were out (and blinking red) on my way home from the office.
December 5, 2014
It's raining here in Southern California this week for the first time since 2009 (I'm guessing), and as such, ready yourself for the requisite comments about the performance of our myriad long-termers' windshield wipers. In the case of our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo, they were streaky and indicative of wipers that have been sporadically used. However, I'm here to talk about the wiper it does not have.
December 3, 2014
I've always equated driving around with your moveable rear spoiler in the raised position when not at highway speeds to walking around with a popped collar. In the past, this was really only something Porsche drivers could do, but these rising spoilers have been popping up more and more recently. See what I did there? Popping, it's a homonym.
December 2, 2014
It was a fuel-efficient Thanksgiving holiday weekend for the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and my family as we managed a thoroughly impressive 31.9 mpg in a mix of highway and Los Angeles city driving. That's only 1.3 mpg off its best tank ever. Color me impressed.
I'll also be patting myself on the back as it was most assuredly my thriftiness that contributed to the 3 GT's lifetime fuel economy being bumped up to 23.2 mpg from 22.8. Huzzah!
December 1, 2014
Our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has a peach of a motor. There's a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder under hood that spins out 240 horsepower and 255 lb-feet of torque. It's butter-smooth, free-revving, produces power across its entire RPM band, clears 60 mph at the same time as a Lexus IS350 (5.9 seconds) and just isn't enough for me.
November 19, 2014
I've written some earlier updates highlighting the family-friendly nature of our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. Here's another supporting reason: the easy installation of child safety seats.
November 18, 2014
A few days ago, a friend of mine was asking what I thought about the long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo I was driving. "Oh, it's very nice. Very practical." I said. He nodded his head as he walked around the car more. "Yeah, but do you like it?" he further asked. Now that question gave me pause.
November 13, 2014
If you've decided to buy a 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo you'll likely be looking at certain models on Edmunds' inventory listings (or dealer lots). Or you might be thinking you'd like to have one custom ordered. Either way, you'll have to decide which options or packages you want. I've spent a lot of time with our 3 GT, and that's given me the opportunity to think about the feature packages I really like or ones I wish we had.
November 12, 2014
I could explain at length to my mom about how the 2015 Ford Mustang's new independent rear suspension is cool. Trouble is, I suspect my car guy enthusiasm would quickly turn into a Charlie Brown "wa-wa-wa" talk for her. But how about a climate control system that lets you independently set the temperature of the upper vents from the lower ones? Now that's a feature my mom would like to know about. And our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has it.
November 11, 2014
All-wheel drive can be a nice feature to have on a vehicle if you frequently drive in wet or snowy conditions. But what if you live in, say, Southern California, and don't think you want all-wheel drive on your next new vehicle? You'll be out of luck with the 2014 or 2015 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo.
November 6, 2014
October was a pretty quiet month for our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo as we added only around 650 miles. Those miles were spent just commuting around Southern California as well.
For the month, we averaged 22.2 mpg. I've also got an explanation about last month's low 9.8 mpg entry.
November 3, 2014
If you polled our editors about which luxury automaker's infotainment interface they like best, I don't know if you'd get a majority opinion. Personal preference plays a large part. But spending some time with our long-term 2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo has reminded me that, of the current systems, I like BMW's iDrive the best.
October 31, 2014
Easy. That's what comes to mind when I think about our 2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo. Over a late October weekend, for example, I used our 328 GT to grocery shop, take my wife and two kids to a Halloween party, hit up my local hardware store for various items and perform a few other around-town trips of minor consequence. (Yep, welcome to my very exciting domesticated life.) Each time, the BMW stayed in the background, effortlessly doing its transportation job.
October 27, 2014
Many navigation systems display a blank screen or some sort of message that implores you to wait, the proverbial spinning pinwheel or progress bar, while the computer readies the system for use. However, our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo puts on a little Tron-inspired show while you wait. It's not much, a schematic of a cityscape that variously illuminates, but it's a nice touch that makes us feel less like we're waiting for something to happen.
October 24, 2014
The steady influx of LED lighting into the automotive industry is a good thing. The crisp light it provides with substantially less electricity, its lower operating temperature and the compact/multi-contour dimensions are all an engineer/designer's dream come true. We had fun with our 2011 Ford Mustang GT's LED ambient and instrument panel "MyColor," lighting, purposely setting the most unattractive combinations of gauge/surround color for the next driver to find.
October 23, 2014
I picked up my daughter from school the other day, and as is always the case, we loaded her roller-bag, lunch box, and water bottle into the trunk. Often, we struggle with a place to put her water bottle so that it doesn't roll to the deep, dark recesses of the trunk, but lo and behold, our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo made our search a short one.
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.