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


2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: This Is the Engine I'd Get

July 1, 2014

2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo

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.

First of all, BMW's 2.0-liter is a strong little mill. My fellow editors have already written some updates about this, including how it develops impressive four-cylinder power and has a nice sweet spot. Sure, you'll get marginally quicker acceleration in the 335i. But I've driven the 335i. Our 328i feels plenty quick already. I'm not pining for the 335i GT at all.

The eight-speed automatic is fantastic, too. It shifts quickly and unobtrusively and responds nicely to your gas pedal inputs. The manual shifting mode is excellent, too. Under full acceleration and using the shift paddles, the upshifts are so quick that they seem nearly as quick as those you get from an automated manual gearbox (BMW's DSG, for example).

Of course, you get better fuel economy with the 328i. EPA combined is 26 mpg combined compared to 24 mpg for the 335i.

Finally, there's the price. The 335i GT starts about $5,000 more than the 328i GT, or about $4,000 if you figure that the 335i comes standard with the 328i's optional xenon headlights.

On a lot of cars, I find myself recommending upgrade engines to car shoppers. But for this car, go with the 328i.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 12,062 miles

Comments

  • nomercy346 nomercy346 Posts:

    every once in a while I'm behind the wheel of my dad's 328i sedan I get the same impression, that thing feels way quicker than 240 hp suggest, but I have a really hard time getting over the 4 cylinder soundtrack. Not sure which one I'd choose considering the price difference but being used to the I6s of older Bimmers the 4 cylinder racket sure is a bit of a let down IMO. The extra power is not really needed but it'd still be nice to have, I guess. Then again it's a lot of $$$$. Tough choice ;)

  • vvk vvk Posts:

    nomercy, the 240 hp feels more like 280 or even 300, doesn't it? Put it is Sport mode and the thing becomes a snarling monster.

  • miata52 miata52 Posts:

    Only bad thing about this engine is the injector noise. Sounds like a diesel at idle.

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    As others have noted already, the only real downside to the turbo 4/8speed combo is that it simply sounds awful. But the real world drivability, passing power, and fuel economy are all excellent.

  • nomercy346 nomercy346 Posts:

    @vvk yeah, it's got tons of midrange power and the 8 spd probably helps a lot to make it feel so quick it does sound like a diesel, injector noise on that DI engine is really bad, you better not open the door while it's idling but I believe the I6 with the DI would get the ticking to some extent? Exhaust note is where it's at with the 35i... 4cyls all sound more or less trashy IMO

  • I had an X3 pull up as I was pumping gas the other day and it did sound like a diesel. All DI engines have some injector noise but this one is really noisy. My girlfriend's Sonata with direct injection is only really noisy when the engine is cold. When warm it sounds like any other engine. Other than the noise this is a great engine that would suit most peoples everyday driving needs. 10 years ago the 3 series top engine (excluding the M) made 235 HP so this 240 HP (probably underrated) Turbo 4 is more than enough. On a side note, I read that the N20 has a plastic oil pan, can you guys confirm this?

  • nomercy346 nomercy346 Posts:

    correct, it's a plastic pan

  • rwatson rwatson Posts:

    Guys help me out, would you? I love how modern turbo charged 4-cyl engines feel WHEN THEY'RE NEW. You test drive them, think it's the most wonderful modern marvel and swear you'll never go with anything else and wind up buying it. Remember VW's 2.0T had won the title of "World Engine" something like 2-years in a row when it was new? I have one. Now, the first year is just driving bliss. Absolutely wonderful, then something happens. You notice the car can't even get out of its own way anymore. High temps introduce you to the "heat soak" phenomenon, you want to drive with the A/C off due to power loss, but at 90 degrees your interior will smell like a locker room, so you don't. You have just entered "Turbo-4 Hell." After about 24-30,000 miles, you realize your once great technological marvel has sown its oats. Turbo-lag isn't necessarily the issue, but it adds to it. Anything that puts the slightest demand on the engine just saps the power. Even the weight of one passenger reduces your car's power to that of a 1980 Rabbit. Now, do BMW or Mercedes-Benz have something different about their turbo-4s? Have we become so spoiled by quick financing and leasing nobody expects us to keep the car past 3 years? I know the Germans wouldn't put up with it, as they actually save money for a car to keep for 10 or 15 years, but are these any better? Are these motors really a viable replacement for the I-6 or V-6 after a couple years? Do BMW, MB and Audi still make a car (engine as well as suspension and interior) that realistically lets you continue to enjoy it for 10+ years? Or are we just duped by the badges now? Help, anyone?

  • vvk vvk Posts:

    rwatson, no such worries in SAAB Turbo world and they were doing it since 1978.

  • rwatson rwatson Posts:

    Unfortunately, SAAB is no longer an option. If their engines are that good, no wonder GM throws a hissy and lawyers-up everytime someone tries to resurrect the brand.

  • tomnvp1 tomnvp1 Posts:

    Face it, Folks. The legendary Bimmer straight 6 is history. Yes the turbo 4 has a bit of injector clatter and a smidgen of turbo lag. But 26 mpg (real world) in a car that's this much fun to drive AND this practical? Sick!! Second the comments about the transmission's sport mode - fantastic for driving in the mountains or up Highway 1.

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