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 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 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?
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 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.
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 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.
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."
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 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.
June 30, 2014
If you bought a 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo like our car, I suspect there's a good chance you'd be pretty pleased every time you took a seat and looked around at the GT's high quality interior.
June 11, 2014
Two cars: one our long-term 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo and the other a 2014 BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon. They're both 3 Series, they both have extra cargo space compared to the regular sedan, both come standard with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and they even have the same base price at $42,375.
And yet, they are quite different.
May 15, 2014
I get this a lot when I drive our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. It's a big bright glare on the window. I stays right in front of my face for long portions of my drive. And it's always that same shape.
April 23, 2014
I feel compelled to add a "yeah, but" regarding the cruise control system in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. Dan Edmunds reckons that its cruise control is pretty dandy; nay, the best ever.
I agree with Dan regarding the aspects of its effectiveness he identified. These are calibration-related performance factors, and in this regard the system is very good. However, the system's ergonomics fall short of many other automakers' systems...and even BMW's own previous efforts.
April 17, 2014
That's right. I'm not afraid to say it. The cruise control on our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is the best I've ever sampled.
I should note, for the record, that I am talking about standard cruise control here. Our 3 Series GT is not equipped with the optional adaptive cruise control system that's built to maintain a following distance if other cars are present.
It starts with the controls on the steering wheel. Buttons for power, set and resume are set in an array around a thumb wheel for making speed adjustments. Roll it up or down against the detent to trim the set speed in 1 mph increments. Push past this initial resistance and you'll get a 5 mph bump.
On the instrument panel, a ring around the outer rim of the speedo contains lights that pinpoint your current set speed. Orange indicates an inactive speed that you'll get back to when you hit resume, green indicates an active speed you're at or, if you just made an adjustment, heading towards. The chosen set speed also shows up digitally and lingers for a few seconds on the head-up display whenever you make a change.
All of that is great, but it's not the best part.
April 9, 2014
I took our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo (that's a mouthful) on our 116-mile evaluation loop last week so I could do an Edmunds Rating on it. If you've ever seen our Ratings on the Web site, then you know we get pretty in-depth.
As such, this is not just a carefree drive through the countryside with the stereo blasting. We're assessing ride comfort, tire noise, wind noise, seat comfort, cubby storage and even how easy it is to get in/out of the car (the latter usually not while we're driving). And lots more.
What's my point?
April 8, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has many things.
It has a base price of $42,375. Our particular example has options such as the $2,200 Premium package and the $3,150 Technology package. This last one includes a hard-drive navigation system with a large color display.
It also has a big butt and rearward visibility that's worse than many SUVs.
Despite the large screen and the enlarged posterior, what our 2014 BMW 328i GT doesn't have is a backup camera.
April 1, 2014
I'm becoming a fan of head-up displays. Our 2014 Mazda3 has one that I like quite a bit. And the HUD on this new 2014 BMW 328i GT is pretty great, too.
They're similar in that both show speed, cruise control set speed and next-turn information if a navigation route is active. Mazda uses a single color for all of these elements while BMW uses at least three.
March 26, 2014
Near as I can tell, you can't sync the dual-zone climate control on the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo.
With many dual-zone systems you can hit a "sync" button so that anytime the driver changes the temp both the driver and passenger sides change to that temp automatically.
March 14, 2014
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.