February 16, 2015
Day 3: Austin, Texas to Willcox, Arizona, 871 miles.
This being my second road trip to Austin in the past six months, I wanted to do something other than slog along Interstate 10 west on the way home. So I came up with a plan: I would head northwest in the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo to some mountain roads in southern New Mexico and Arizona, the same ones Automotive Editor Dan Frio and photog "Krazy" Kurt Niebuhr took during their trip back from Houston in our long-term 2015 Audi A3.
I planned it all out the night before I left Austin, including a texting conversation with Frio (no way was I actually going to talk on the phone with that dude, that would be nuts) for road specifics and recommendations for lodging.
But then I checked the weather forecast. The parts of New Mexico and Arizona I was heading for, which were at significant elevation, were going to be getting something like a half-foot of snow during the time I'd be driving through. Snowy conditions, mountain roads, elevation...even with the Gran Turismo's all-wheel drive I just didn't have it in me, especially without snow tires or chains. There was potential for disaster, not to mention hours and hours of slow going.
I needed a new plan.
February 11, 2015
Day 1: Lake Forest, California to Deming, New Mexico, 692 miles.
I'm not sure why I keep getting sent to Austin, Texas for press drive events. What with the state capital's unofficial slogan of "Keep Austin Weird," the bosses might have been thinking, "Let's see, Monticello is a weirdo, if we send him there enough maybe he'll finally find a place he fits in."
Regardless of the reasoning, I was on another road trip to Austin, this time in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo, as opposed to the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI I took on my previous trip to the Lone Star State.
Since it's about a 1,400-mile journey, I'd take two days to get there, just like last time. Ah yes, but unlike the last trip, which saw me procrastinate and not hit the road until 1:30 p.m., this time I was determined to get going much earlier.
And you know what? Mission accomplished.
January 29, 2015
I think some consumers get the wrong impression of BMW. One of my neighbors, a Lexus owner, told me recently how BMWs are drivers' cars and he wants something comfortable.
This may have been true in 1972. But today it's a misinterpretation of the BMW's long running Ultimate Driving Machine tagline.
Unless you're talking about an M3 GTS, which lacked air conditioning to save weight and came with a factory roll bar and fire extinguisher, modern BMWs put a high priority on luxury and comfort. Some more than others.
Our long-term 2014 BMW 328i GT, for instance, is extremely comfortable. Extremely.
December 9, 2014
It rained in Los Angeles last week. I know this doesn't seem like an extreme weather event to many of you, but in L.A. a few things happen when it rains.
For one thing, everyone goes crazy. But also the roads get a slick oily top coat, and if you're not careful, you could have a problem with sudden stops. Potholes form out of nowhere as if the rain disintegrates the asphalt. And last but not least, three traffic lights were out (and blinking red) on my way home from the office.
October 31, 2014
Easy. That's what comes to mind when I think about our 2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo. Over a late October weekend, for example, I used our 328 GT to grocery shop, take my wife and two kids to a Halloween party, hit up my local hardware store for various items and perform a few other around-town trips of minor consequence. (Yep, welcome to my very exciting domesticated life.) Each time, the BMW stayed in the background, effortlessly doing its transportation job.
September 25, 2014
"You know what? My arms are tired. I need a place to put them. A place to rest them, in fact. Those suckers have just been dangling at the ends of my shoulders since birth. It's getting old."
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.
July 08, 2014
The trip requirements were as follows: Room for three people, a small weekend bag each and a whole heap of surprise party stuff. The latter included decorations, food and two boxes of booze — for the 15-plus attendees, not just the three in the car. Any number of our Edmunds long-term cars could get the job done, but as the journey would take us up into the mountains around Lake Arrowhead, California, a car of some athleticism was preferred.
July 04, 2014
Part of the appeal of the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is its longer wheelbase and body than the regular 3 Series sedan and wagon. BMW has put that extra length to use for expanding the amount of rear legroom and cargo space.
If you're an adult seated in back, you'll probably be impressed by the amount of space you have to stretch out your legs. It's excellent for any entry-level luxury car. At the same time, however, you could be disappointed in the amount of headroom the 3 GT has.
April 23, 2014
I feel compelled to add a "yeah, but" regarding the cruise control system in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. Dan Edmunds reckons that its cruise control is pretty dandy; nay, the best ever.
I agree with Dan regarding the aspects of its effectiveness he identified. These are calibration-related performance factors, and in this regard the system is very good. However, the system's ergonomics fall short of many other automakers' systems...and even BMW's own previous efforts.