2013 BMW 328i Sedan (2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 8-Speed Automatic)
Driven On 4/29/2013
There's a reason why the BMW 3 Series remains a perennial favorite. It simply does everything well. Impeccable build quality, smart design, admirable fuel economy, ample power and everyday ease of use keep it in a class-leading position.
PerformanceEven as a mid-range 3-Series model, it's a joy to really drive the 328i. There's plenty of seat-of-the-pants feel and all systems combine to instill unparalleled confidence.
The 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is fast for the segment and incomparably smooth with torque everywhere. Shifts from the 8-speed automatic are quick and smooth.
Predictably linear, highly effective and no detectable fade after hard driving. No grabbiness in daily driving.
Good feedback and weighting. Less precise than previous BMWs, but still at the top of the class. M Sport wheel is near-perfectly sized.
Excellent manners in hard driving with predictable limits. Stability control is smart and non-intrusive. Dislikes the rapid transitions of our slalom, though. Very good grip.
Start/stop feature is jarring and it defaults to "On" after shutdown. It's the only liability in an otherwise great setup. Score would be much higher without this feature.
ComfortSuspension, seats and insulation are deftly balanced between comfort and driving performance. Even with the M Sport suspension and 18-inch wheels, passengers will not object to the added stiffness.
Firm, well-shaped seats with adjustable bolsters, headrests, thigh-support and lumbar. Leather looks good and feels more durable than soft. Seats lack ventilation.
M Sport suspension and 18-inch wheels add a lot of stiffness, but manage to avoid being harsh. Rear can get bouncy over successive bumps.
Road noise is detectable thanks to grippy summer tires, but not at all intrusive. At higher revs, light engine noise creeps into the cabin. An expected performance for a car in the luxury class.
InteriorAdmirable materials, thoughtful, if plain, design and overall usability earn this car top scores. The lack of interior storage could be a concern.
Well-organized controls (cruise on stalk) are within a short reach. Frequently-used features like HVAC and audio controls are given redundant hard buttons on dash.
Short doors allow access in confined parking spots, Good seat height doesn't require squatting or climbing. Rear seat access is similarly easy.
Open and typical German sedan with ample room for taller people up front. Rear seats comfortably fit two adults.
Excellent all-around visibility with low belt lines. A rare instance in modern cars where camera and/or parking sensors are not a necessity. Thin pillars help forward visibility.
Trunk space is adequate. Handy pulls to fold down the split-folding rear seats located helpfully in trunk. Interior storage is lacking with a small center bin and small cupholders.
ValueThis $45,000 328 may come up a little short in features compared to some rivals, but in terms of overall quality and performance, few can compete.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Solidly built from the ground up with excellent materials and precise engineering. No gimmicks. After a decade, iDrive is finally clean, fast and simple enough to be a benefit.
For a car priced in the mid $40k-range, this 328 doesn't have navigation or parking sensors. (These would add $2,675.) Instead, you get driving performance and a great engine.
Equally outfitted, the 328i falls right into line with other entry-level luxury sedans.
EPA estimate of 23/33/26 mpg is good for the class, but we exceeded that figure on our 116-mile mixed evaluation loop with an impressive 33.6 mpg.
BMW's warranty is 4 years/50,000 miles on the 2013 328i.
Free scheduled maintenance is included for 4 years/50,000 miles and includes oil services, wiper blades, brakes, belts and more.
Fun To DriveImpressive power, sharp handling, smart stability control and communicative steering combine to instill a high level of driver confidence.
The 3-Series remains the true sports luxury sedan, delicately balancing performance and comfort. It begs to be driven.
The 3-Series is notable for its subtlety, not its splash, as the slow-to-evolve design tends to blend in. From behind the wheel, the BMW 3 Series continues to prove its worth.