February 26, 2014
BMW is taking a page out of Burger King's playbook these days with a strategy that says, "You can have it your way." The 3 Series lineup, and the related 4 Series lineup, is spread over coupes, sedans, wagons, crossovers and convertibles with a variety of engines and drivetrains. It's truly a marvel of modern, flexible car construction.
So when we decided to add a new 2014 BMW 3 Series to our Long-Term Road Test fleet, we had plenty of options. In the end, we decided to try one of the newest members of the family, the 3 Series Gran Turismo. It's a slightly longer version of the 3 Series sedan with a hatchback rear end. You get extra utility without the SUV look and feel. Sounded interesting, so we went for it.
What We Got
The least expensive version of the 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is the one we got, the 328i xDrive. It's powered by a 2.0-liter, 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine hooked to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is also standard. Of course, we could've gotten BMW's slick six-cylinder 335i xDrive Gran Turismo for only $5,400 more, but the 328 will be the volume seller here and boasts 26 mpg combined. Sometimes you've gotta make grown-up decisions.
The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo starts at $42,375. For this price, you get the aforementioned 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a Driving Dynamics Control module with four driving settings, halogen headlights, eight-way power front seats, leather-wrapped wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, iDrive with a 6.5-inch screen and a panoramic moonroof.
Our 328i GT also has the M Sport package ($3,750) that adds 18-inch wheels, sport seats, an M steering wheel, body kit and anthracite headliner, and also increases the top speed. We also got the Cold Weather package ($950) which heats the steering wheel and front and rear seats and adds headlight washers. The Dynamic Handling package ($1,000) includes the adaptive M suspension and variable sport steering, while the Premium package ($2,200) balances some of that sportiness with keyless entry, lumbar support and satellite radio. The final package option is the Technology package ($3,150) that adds navigation with a touchpad on top of the iDrive controller, head-up display, BMW Apps and enhanced Bluetooth smartphone connectivity.
Individual options beyond those big ones include M Sport brakes ($650) and a Harman Kardon stereo system ($875). Total cost, including a $925 destination and delivery fee is $55,500. BMW provided this vehicle for the purpose of this long-term road test.
Why We Got It
The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo appears to tick all of the boxes: It's efficient. It's quick. It handles well. It's as close to a hatchback as we're likely to get out of BMW.
But does the reality of a $55,000 3 Series hatchback stand up to what we have in mind? We know this 2.0-liter produces good power, but is it any fun with the mandatory all-wheel drive? Is the slopeback body style an effective compromise between wagon and sedan, or would we have been better off going for either of those?
We've got 12 months and 20,000 miles to answer these questions and more. Follow along with our year-long test of the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo on the Long-Term Road Test page to find out.
Best mpg: 25.0
Worst mpg: 20.6
Average mpg over 419 miles: 21
The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.