2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: The Dark Horse
September 9, 2014
I didn't expect it, but our long-term 2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo has really grown on me.
For this we can thank the Chinese.
Culturally speaking, the Chinese automotive market places a heavy priority on rear seat legroom. Nothing says status like space. As such, long-wheelbase models are increasingly being designed by automakers specifically for China.
The 3 Series Gran Turismo is built on the long-wheelbase platform spawned by BMW to address this demand. We here in North America are simply the incidental beneficiary of the Chinese market's demands.
In any case, the 3 Series Gran Turismo's long wheelbase is the key here. For me, it's not solely about rear seat legroom or cargo-hauling ability, although both of these areas expand as a result. What I find most noticeable about the long wheelbase is the long-legged gait it confers the car on the road, allowing it to stride gracefully over the pavement in a way no other 3 Series can.
The Gran Turismo carves out a unique niche among 3 Series in this regard.
No, the Gran Tursimo is not the nimble, lightweight and relatively elemental 3 Series of the E21 and E30 generations in the ‘70s and ‘80s. But it is a surprisingly well-rounded and eminently pleasant car to drive.
I find myself liking it more every time I drive it.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 15,518 miles