March 3, 2015
The office was in full party mode, celebrating Mike Monticello's return from Austin, when he strode to my desk and threw the keys to the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo in my face. "It needs to go in for service now," he bellowed like a demon lord perched atop a pile of skulls. It was typical Monty, but the car did need to visit the dealer for basic maintenance.
The 328i doesn't have a standard service schedule. It instead has an onboard computer that calculates the interval based on how it is driven. An oil change was all the computer requested this time. The drivetrain malfunction that Mike experienced and the warning message Donna saw also needed addressing.
February 24, 2015
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo requested windshield wiper fluid despite receiving scheduled maintenance at Santa Monica BMW just a few months ago. Coolant, power steering, brake and windshield wiper fluids are topped off during normal service. So we couldn't explain why it was low again already.
February 23, 2015
Tires ain't cheap.
Our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo wears a set of Pirellis (Cinturato P7 All-Season Run Flat) sized 225/50R18.
They're far from the most expensive tire in the land, but according to TireRack.com they cost $189 dollars each on closeout. Not exactly chump change. And the last time we had a puncture back about 11,000 miles ago we paid over $350 for one.
The good news is that these tires last a good long time.
February 9, 2015
I was driving to work in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo minding my own business when this warning flashed on the instrument panel and on the head-up display.
Objects detected on road!
January 22, 2015
Checking this car's engine oil level could not be easier. Or unmessy. You don't even have to open the hood. Heck, you don't even have to leave its leather-covered driver seat.
Like many luxury cars these days, our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has no traditional oil dipstick. Instead, you check its engine oil level with a few twists and turns of its iDrive dial.
October 2, 2014
As we reported last week, it was time to bring our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo to the dealer for maintenance. It was calling for a basic oil change and nothing more. Pretty straightforward, right?
September 23, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo is due for its first scheduled service at 16,000 miles. The opening image flashes immediately after the car is started up and goes away nearly as quickly. These pictures accompanied the service request...
August 04, 2014
Someone on staff has great aim. For the second time in just a few weeks, I hopped into a car with a low tire-pressure-warning light and a screw in the tire. The victim this week was one of the rear Pirelli run-flats affixed to our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo.
June 11, 2014
Two cars: one our long-term 2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo and the other a 2014 BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon. They're both 3 Series, they both have extra cargo space compared to the regular sedan, both come standard with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and they even have the same base price at $42,375.
And yet, they are quite different.
May 1, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has only been with us since late February, and already it's got over 8,000 miles on its odometer. It's also just called for its first oil change.
April 24, 2014
I noticed something interesting when I was poking around under the hood of our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo the other day. It wasn't the engine or any system associated with it, but it is something that's shared with another newly redesigned BMW product, the 2014 Mini Cooper.
What am I going on about? It has to do with the washers under the heads of the bolts that hold the front suspension struts to the body. They're super thick.
There's nothing new about a washer under the head of a bolt. They help spread the load out and they prevent galling when the bolt is wrenched tight.
But the extra thickness we see here has another purpose that isn't obvious to the untrained eye.
April 22, 2014
Before we get too far into this, let me just say that I'm not sure how relevant this feature really is. I mean, how many 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo owners are ever going to change their own oil? Not many, I'd wager.
April 9, 2014
I took our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo (that's a mouthful) on our 116-mile evaluation loop last week so I could do an Edmunds Rating on it. If you've ever seen our Ratings on the Web site, then you know we get pretty in-depth.
As such, this is not just a carefree drive through the countryside with the stereo blasting. We're assessing ride comfort, tire noise, wind noise, seat comfort, cubby storage and even how easy it is to get in/out of the car (the latter usually not while we're driving). And lots more.
What's my point?
March 27, 2014
I wasn't sure what to make of a 3 Series version of BMW's rear-heavy-looking Gran Turismo experiment.
Then I took it through some twisty bits on California's famous Mulholland Drive.
So how did it perform?
March 21, 2014
The way to open a car's hood hasn't changed much in years. The last big innovation came decades ago when inside releases were introduced to prevent "unauthorized individuals" from opening the hood and making off with, say, the battery.
Since then the opening process has been a predictable two-step affair with a secondary catch that must be groped-for under the popped-up edge of the hood before it can be lifted fully. Some are easy to find and manipulate, others aren't. There is no standard placement, even within the design studios of a single automaker.
This secondary catch is a required safety feature that prevents an improperly-closed hood from flying up against the windshield once a car gets underway and the rush of air builds to a point where it can lift steel (or aluminum as the case may be.)
What BMW has done is so obvious that we must all give ourselves a face-palm of monumental proportions. It's just a hood latch, and we can all recall incidents when we couldn't find the safety release without some probing and swearing. Why didn't we think of this?
Here they've got this new-fangled inside handle that, wait for it, you pull twice. That's what the "2x" is telling us. The first pull undoes the primary latch and the second one releases the safety catch. After that you simply walk to the front of the car and lift the hood.
No more fiddling around is required in unseen places where grime tends to collect, where hidden sharp edges sometimes lurk.