2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo: Too-Small Gear Readout
January 26, 2015
I really like this car. Our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is so exceptional I not only often recommend it to my friends and family, I would happily own one myself.
But it's not perfect. No car is perfect.
First of all I think it's a crime that a car at this price point does not have a rear backup camera or parking sensors. But we've covered that ground before.
Today I want to talk about the BMW's teeny tiny gear readout, which you can see in the photo located on the bottom right of the instrument cluster underneath the tachometer. Its size is fine in normal driving. And it's sufficient most of the time for most drivers.
But this is the Ultimate Driving Machine. And the self-proclaimed UDM should have a bigger gear callout in Sport+ mode or anytime the driver takes manual control of its eight-speed automatic transmission.
Often I find myself driving the 328i in Sport+ mode while taking advantage of its excellent paddle shifters. The BMW's smooth, high-revving engine is a favorite of mine, and its transmission rev matches downshifts perfectly. It really is a great powertrain.
But drive this car hard and its small gear readout becomes a disappointment. Should I really have to scan for it? Should my eyes really have to focus on it? It quickly becomes a glaring oversight in an otherwise wonderful high-performance driving experience. Especially at this price point.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 20,668 miles