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

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