2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: The Ultimate BMW Family Machine?
June 24, 2014
If BMW made a minivan, my update here would end immediately. You can't beat a big box on wheels with sliding doors for maximum family-oriented versatility and practicality. But, of course, BMW doesn't make a minivan (much to the relief of BMW enthusiasts everywhere.)
But that does lead to the question: What's the best vehicle in BMW's current lineup for families? Could it be our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo?
As always, the definition of "best" could be quite varied and dependent on what family we're talking about. Maybe the old X5 M crossover SUV would be your ultimate BMW family truckster. Nonetheless, I'll lay out five points on why I think our Gran Turismo could be the best choice for a lot of folks.
The hatchback. Yes, the Gran Turismo's hatchback body style does lead to some awkward proportions. But you can't argue against the versatility and cargo-loading ease that it provides. For daily family use (think groceries, soccer gear and strollers), it's great.
Car agility. True, you can carry bulkier items in BMW's X3 or X5. But neither of those "car-like" crossover SUVs has the handling agility offered by the lower-sitting 3 Series Gran Turismo.
Standard all-wheel drive. If it's wet-weather traction you're worried about, which would have most people thinking "SUV!" BMW still has you covered. All-wheel drive is standard equipment.
Big back seat. "So what about the 3 Series wagon?" you say. Good point. It also has standard AWD and certainly looks better. But the Gran Turismo, besides being easier to load items into, has the advantage of enhanced rear seat space. If you've got lanky teenagers or small children in need of bulky rear-facing child safety seats, the GT is what you want.
Good fuel economy. The 328i Gran Turismo has an EPA combined driving estimate of 26 mpg. Yes, the 3 Series wagon can match that, or better it with its available diesel. But the X3, X5 and 5 Series Gran Turismo are all worse. So is the marginally quicker yet more expensive 335i GT.
What do you think? Have I made a strong case for the Ultimate BMW Family Machine?
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 11,802 miles