August 28, 2014
Get used to automatic start-stop systems like the one on our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo because they're only going to become more widespread in years to come. Such systems are quickly gaining favor as a fuel-saving and pollution-reducing measure because they temporarily shut down the engine when a vehicle is going nowhere at stoplights.
The basic logic of the concept is hard to argue with, but anything that's this much of a departure from the norm is bound to earn itself a heaping helping of detractors. Some can't get past the feeling that their engine just stalled. Others can't stand it when their car does something they didn't initiate. And there will always be those that give a thumbs-down to anything that stands in the way of a quick getaway.
For them there's an off button.
But what are the disablers missing out on? Are the fuel savings big enough to be noticeable or is this just another one of those theoretical decimal-place increases that automakers chase after because they're desperate for anything that can nudge their CAFE score up a peg?
I cooked up a test to see if I could find out.
August 6, 2014
It's the summer traveling season, but our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo hatchback failed to find its way onto the open road much this month. Only 1,330 miles got added to its odometer, and a substantial fraction of them were in-town city miles.
But not every single mile was driven in city traffic, of course. Some of them had to be freeway miles. We just don't know how many.
Whatever the mix, this month's average of 18.7 mpg is not a good number. It falls well short of the BMW's 22-mpg City mpg rating, and it pales in comparison with the Gran Turismo's 26-mpg combined rating. Theoretically, our unknown city-heavy driving mix should fall somewhere between the two, not below the lowest one.
What's up? There are a couple of theories.
July 03, 2014
The lifetime fuel economy of our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has gone up by two tenths to 24.1 mpg in a month. That means we're within 2 mpg of the EPA combined figure. Our best tank and best range records remained unbeaten, but it's hard to think that 497 miles and 33.2 mpg ever will be.
June 5, 2014
With just over 11,000 miles now on the clock, our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has racked up another 3,000 miles in the month of May. The best mpg, worst mpg and best range numbers all stood pat, while the average mpg nearly did. The latter dropped a mere tenth of an mpg.
May 6, 2014
Since our last fuel economy update, the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has added more than 4,000 miles to its odometer. Over that distance we've managed the best range thus far (497.1 bladder-busting miles), the most efficient tank (33.2 mpg), the least efficient (14.9 mpg) and upped the lifetime fuel economy up considerably to 24 mpg.
That still falls below its EPA combined estimate of 26 mpg, though in March we ran the GT on our 116-mile Edmunds evaluation loop where it returned 27 mpg.
April 18, 2014
Depending on what drive setting you select, sport, normal or "Eco Pro," the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has very different personalities. In sport, I'm an impatient lane changer. In normal, I'm relaxed until I see some open road, then I explore the German heritage of this sport sedan. But when the freeways are clogged I'm a mellow Eco Pro guy.
This morning's 32-mile commute restricted me to a blazing top speed of 35 mph. So I switched into Eco Pro and watched my bonus miles begin to build. By the time I reached the office I had amassed a whopping 1.3 bonus miles. What, may you ask, are bonus miles?
April 4, 2014
The trip back south from Oregon wasn't as rushed as the northern leg had been. We wanted to get home, but we were too frazzled to drive back on high alert.
So after our first California fuel stop in sleepy Yreka we decided to set the cruise control at a reasonable speed in the low 70's, settle in and let Interstate 5 stream past.
March 13, 2014
The call was unexpected. My brother and I had to get ourselves up to Oregon in short order, but air travel wasn't going to work because of flight schedules, the remote location of our ultimate destination and other complications. We had to drive.
If we left right now we'd get there about the same time (if not earlier) than airline travel because we could drive through the night. Once there we'd have our own wheels and we could depart on our own schedule when the situation improved.
Our route would mimic the one I followed on my most recent holiday road trip in the Tesla Model S. But this time the Tesla wouldn't do. Superchargers are plenty fast enough for vacation travel, but this was no vacation. We were staring down the barrel of a drive-straight-through run for the border.
I chose the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive GT because it isn't terribly thirsty and has a decent-sized 15.8-gallon tank. I also liked the idea of xDrive all-wheel drive because there was a chance we'd encounter snow and ice over the many interstate summits we would cross — a good chance because the forecast called for rain, and rain can turn to snow at altitude in early March.
We departed L.A. in the early afternoon. Our estimated arrival time was the wee hours after midnight so there was no reason to drive like idiots. We'd run a reasonable pace and stop as infrequently as possible for food and gasoline.
March 6, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has a Start-Stop feature on three of its four drive settings. I always find this feature disruptive so I usually turn it off.
March 5, 2014
This 2014 BMW 328i GT hatchback is so new to us, it's not fair to report the fuel mileage numbers on so few fill-ups. After discounting the track testing fills, I was left with two tanks to calculate the numbers.
We're averaging 21.3 mpg in combined driving. That's a few miles off from the EPA estimates. But we have a whole year to show improvement.