An Ideal Car, But... - 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo Long-Term Road Test

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo Long-Term Road Test

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: An Ideal Car, But...

May 13, 2014

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo in many ways represents my ideal car. It's engaging to drive, yet possesses a comfortable ride. It doesn't feel enormous when you're behind the wheel, yet it has enormous passenger space. The engine provides spirited acceleration, yet is commendably fuel efficient. It also has some of the most highly adjustable, tall-friendly seats around in a cabin that's attractive (love the blue accents) and user-friendly. Perhaps most notably for the GT, it's a hatchback, which as all card-carrying automotive journalists will attest, is a truly wonderful thing.

As I said, our 328i could be my ideal car. Unfortunately...

It's ugly. Oh boy, is it ugly. Specifically, it's bulbous in both proportion and detail. Whereas the fastback-style hatchback works/worked so wonderfully on an Audi A7 and the original Mazda 6, creating a more elegant profile than their more conventional three-box siblings, the Gran Turismo looks like a 3 Series inflated by a month-long lard and bacon binge. I also dislike the flared nostril kidney grilles, which rob the 3 Series of its athletic, streamlined front end. Ditto the puffy rear end that lacks any semblance of that taut, handsome simplicity indicative of all the great Bimmers. Look at the tail end of a 2000 5 Series and you'll see what I mean.

A BMW doesn't have to be beautiful to get me on board, but it can't be ugly. The 3 GT is. But, thankfully, it seems like the forthcoming 4 Series Gran Coupe possesses many of the same properties (it too is a 3 Series-based four-door hatchback). It presumably sacrifices some practicality for its good looks, but that's a trade I'd be happy to make.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9,187 miles


  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I'm right there with you James. The 4 series GC is absolutely beautiful and if the world were a more rational place would become one of BMW's top selling sedans. Sadly the car world isn't rational and the 4GC will be a niche vehicle at best.

  • s197gt s197gt Posts:

    i agree. it's ugly.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    when you consider that it is roomier and also better to drive than the more expensive 5 series sedan the homely exterior can be forgiven. I do think it is funny how successful that BMW can be with a type of vehicle that honda has been failing with the crosstour/acura ZDX since it's launch. Seems like bmw has hit the nail on the head in the luxury segment as far as pracicality, luxury, and performance are concerned. too bad 90 percent of automotive purchases are emotional purchases instead of rational purchases.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    haha @bankerdanny i posted my comment without reading the other comments first looks like we think alike!

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    Surprisingly, I'm OK with the way this car looks from any angle that doesn't include the front fascia. That rear 3/4 in the photo? Looks good to me.

  • actualsize actualsize Posts:

    Right. This is much better proportioned than the 5-series GT.

  • dgcamero dgcamero Posts:

    Yes, definitely better proportioned than the 5 GT, and I don't find the front offensive, but they need to work on the rear 3/4, and side profile detailing. I agree the A7 is a stunner, and I think that's mainly because it appears lower in the back than the front. It's like a well fed tom-cat ready to pounce on its prey, whereas the BMW GTs are a frightened, pregnant cat warding off a predator.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    And that's the thing - how come Audi does the hatchback/sedan thing correctly, right out of the chute. BMW got their [non-permissible content removed] kicked with the 5 GT, and now they come back with something...marginally better-looking? The Crosstour/ZDX? That's an unfair comparison - stylists at German car companies actually make a living wage - at Honda and Toyota, they're on food stamps.

  • boff_ boff_ Posts:

    It's not frightfully ugly, but then the 3-series wagon is freakin gorgeous...why anyone would choose the GT ovr the wagon is beyond me...

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