2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: Performance Testing
August 25, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is trying to bridge a gap between compact crossover and station wagon that we're not 100% sure exists. But we've spent months talking about the function and the styling and the way it drives on the road. What happens when we really put the spurs to it and get our 240-horsepower, M Sport package equipped crosswagon on the track? Will it perform like a 3 Series should, or did they split the difference here, too?
Vehicle: 2014 BMW 328i XDrive Gran Turismo
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Front engine, All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 8-speed automatic
Turbocharged, direct-injected, inline-4 with auto stop-start
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,997/122
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 240 @ 5,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 255 @ 1,250
Brake Type (front): ventilated disc with four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): ventilated disc with two-piston fixed calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts with dual lower ball joints, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 225/50R18 M+S 99V
Tire Size (rear): 225/50R18 M+S 99V
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: Cinturato P7
Tire Type: All-Season Run-Flat
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,964
0-30 (sec): 2.2 (w/ TC on 2.8)
0-45 (sec): 3.8 (w/ TC on 4.5)
0-60 (sec): 5.9 (w/TC on 6.8)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.7 (w/TC on 6.4)
0-75 (sec): 8.7 (w/TC on 9.6)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.3 @ 95.5 (w/TC on 14.9 @ 95.1)
30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 122
Slalom (mph): 64.8 w/ESC off (64.5 w/ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.87 (0.83 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 1,800
Acceleration comments: Besides the lumpy, vibrating idle, there's a quite a delay from when the throttle is pressed until the engine room gets the message and puts the car into motion. Then, there's quite a surge and things pick up considerably. In Comf, upshifts are smooth and about 500 rpm shy of indicated redline. In Sport and Sport Plus, shift speed is slightly quicker, but right at redline (accounting for about a tenth quicker accel). But when you overlap brake+throttle in Sport Plus, it accesses a special quick-shift schedule that, while shifts are noticeably quicker, it also shifts well below redline ('short-shift') from 1-2, but runs it all the way up to redline thereafter. Because of the AWD, there's no advantage to shutting off traction control.
Braking comments: Straight, steady, short, and fade-free each and every time. Pretty pronounced dive and pedal effort is pretty high and remained so throughout.
Slalom: Egads. Were it not for electronic stability control (ESC), this car would be sideways after the second flick around the cone. Front/rear weight distribution may be 49/51 percent, but it feels like there's more rear bias than that, as well as a very high center of gravity. Even in Sport Plus with Dynamic ESC/TC, it struggles to maintain a smooth path following the steering input. Best technique was to enter slower than what the tires can hold, and constantly/progressively add throttle to keep the rear planted and the AWD busy from start to end. Elsewise, it stabs at the brakes (quickly and briefly), but with such force that it disrupts the chassis in other ways that then require steering corrections. Steering weight feels light-ish and feedback is minimal.
Skidpad: Remarkably consistent in either direction (C.W. or C.C.W.) and here, the ESC is far less intrusive and merely bleeds off the throttle at the exact moment the tires begin losing grip (hence identical results in SportPlus/Sport with traction control set to Dyn/Off), but in Comfort with ESC fully engaged, the car leans more so it chokes off the throttle earlier.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor