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

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: Love the Hatchback

March 14, 2014

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

It's a hatchback. That's the whole point of the 2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo. But to me the term GT has evolved to represent performance. The term appears everywhere in motorsports. I think it's more accurate in this case to say that GT stands for Gigantic Trunk. After all, there are 24.6 cubic feet of storage under that hatch. A 3 Series sedan's trunk can offer but 13.0 cubic feet.

And that's with the seats up and occupied. Fold the rear seatbacks down flat and our 328i GT has 56.5 cubic feet of easily accessed cargo space. That's getting close to crossover territory in a car that drives like a 3 Series. Factor in the fact the xDrive all-wheel drive is standard and the 328i GT starts to make a kind of sense for those that would rather drive a car than a crossover.

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

My brother and I packed hastily for our recent road trip and threw a couple of bags each in the back. There was room for a whole lot more when we were done. The hatch made it easy to root around and find items we needed along the way without having to pull anything out for a better view.

At one point he needed something while we were rolling down the road. Neither of us wanted to stop so he instead folded down one of the 40/20/40 seatbacks and pulled the needed bag into the cabin so he could dig through it. Trunk pass-through portals (if the car in question has one at all) are usually small and a sedan's seatbacks rarely fold down as readily and as flat as these.

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

The hatch has a power close button as well as a close-and-lock button. The usual unlock-and-open button is located on the key fob, and there's an inside release on the dash by the driver's left knee. Pretty standard stuff, but very well executed.

I'm not sure about the butt-heavy styling, though. All I can say so far is the 3 Series GT looks better than the 5 Series GT because there is less of it to look at. And I think the designers have managed to keep the basic BMW 3 Series shape more intact.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 4,665 miles


Comments

  • smudge12 smudge12 Posts:

    To me, these modern day GTs are what Saab 900s were in the 90s. This car reminds me of what Saab could have been instead of what it became.

  • Ugh, still ugly as sin.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    And WAY better looking than a Crosstour!

  • ajac03 ajac03 Posts:

    Coming from a guy who loves hatchbacks and generally thinks BMW's look great, I honestly think this is one of the ugliest hatchbacks sold on the market.. talk about awkward looking..

  • ocramidajzj ocramidajzj Posts:

    Dan, you may talk about this in another post but how did you feel about the interior quality (plastics, fit and finish, rattles, buzzes)? I sat in GT at a recent auto show and felt like it cut more corners than previous BMWs. But I have to say that I did like the look of the car, especially in profile. Although both the 5 GT and 3 GT have a heavy but, the 3 seems to pull it off better with a more slender backside. I will say that I do like the new steering wheel design, though I did feel like the plastics were a bit cheap- especially the silver spoke.

  • I always wanted one of the first generation Mazda6 'hatchback' they were pretty stealth and you generally had to look close to see that the entire back opened.

  • I need to see one in person to really tell, but I can take a little hit in the styling area if the function does enough to make up for it. This model intrigued me from the beginning for the extra room in storage and the supposed extra rear-seat legroom. I'm sure we'll hear more about that as the test goes on. Fact is, unless they are short or children its hard to justify having a 3-series if you want the ability to take an occasional trip with back seat occupants--short trips, sure, but not much more. 5-series are only getting more expensive and while this certainly isn't cheap, the extra room suggests getting a little more than what a 3 can do while still having a car. I am concerned, though about whether cheapening the interior closes the gap too much with, say, the VWs I presently drive.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    "I'm not sure about the butt-heavy styling, though. All I can say so far is the 3 Series GT looks better than the 5 Series GT because there is less of it to look at." That damning it with faint praise.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    The upcoming 4 series Gran Coupe, which is functionally the same as Audi's beautiful A7 but slightly smaller, will be the BMW hatch to get, assuming of course it makes it to the US.

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    Ok, but how does the interior space compare to the proper 328 wagon that is still sold in the US? Unlike this ugly thing, the 328 wagon is actually very nice to look at.

  • "Ok, but how does the interior space compare to the proper 328 wagon that is still sold in the US? Unlike this ugly thing, the 328 wagon is actually very nice to look at." Exactly. The 328 wagon looks great, and will have more cargo space than the Gt

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @cjasis: I don't know how much cargo capacity the 3 Series Wagon has with the rear seats up, but I do know that it has a total of 64.9 cubic feet with the seats flat. That's 8.4 more than the GT's 56.5. Where the wagon owner really scores; however, is, as

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Even though the heavily sloping roof line takes away from maximum cargo space compared to a more traditional hatchback/wagon body style, I love how accessible this kind of sedan-ish hatchback body style makes the trunk area, both from inside and outside the car.

  • rmiranne rmiranne Posts:

    I also love hatchbacks. I own an 07 Mazda 6i 5-door (hatchback) and love it. I can't afford the Bimmer, but I wish Mazda still made a 5-door 6 or Ford would build a 5-door Fusion in the USA.

  • kyolml kyolml Posts:

    i dunno man, will take the 4 series gran coupe hatchback any day of the week. X4, 3 GT, 3 Wagon, X3, and maybe somewhat related 4 series gran coupe, all have a hatch, and what's the actual difference in function? BMW is seriously over populated with 3 platform to make anything that they can think off to fill that "10 people will buy it" segment" thus I am betting it's not very expensive to make all the models, and why the cheapening interior is happening.

  • juddholl10 juddholl10 Posts:

    @bankerdanny Uh, the 4GC is coming to the U.S. Where've you been?

  • The styling has grown on me. It's not a look people are used to seeing. I think it looks great.

  • I like hatchbacks and think more car makers should offer them. But this thing looks hideous. Honda Crosstour hideous. This car would work better as a properly designed wagon. Most car makers think that buyers in the U.S. don't like wagons but I don't think that's true. Subaru Outback. Take a wagon, lift it a few inches, put some aggressive body cladding on it, throw in some big all terrain tires, advertise it driving through deep snow and muddy off road trails with a young couple (no kids) and a couple of kayaks on the roof rack, never refer to it as a wagon or SUV allowing buyers to decide what it is and you have a money maker.

  • And one more thing. Yes BMW quality is going down IMO. There is something to be said of their former design philosophy of same sausage different sizes. Material quality from 7 series to 3 series was exactly the same then. Not anymore. The 3 series looks cheaper than it's big brothers. This car just doesn't look BMWish. The headlights even look cheap now. Just regular halogen lights. And looking close at them they aren't really round headlights. BMW doesn't even bother with projector lenses any more.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    Maybe it's the angle but the open hatch looks really tall. I'd like to see this with some perspective (such as in a garage) to see if the open hatch risks hitting the ceiling or garage door.

  • redxsage redxsage Posts:

    I'm wondering if this is the car that Tesla Motors intends to target with its Model E in a few years. Or will it be the Cadillac CTS-V instead?

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