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 17, 2015
Day 4: Willcox, Arizona to Lake Forest, California, 562 miles.
Although I guess you could say I was "working" on a Saturday for the last day of my Austin Road Trip, the nice thing about driving on the weekend is that there isn't so much of a "rush hour" period that you have to make sure to avoid. I veered off Interstate 10 to Interstate 8 West toward San Diego, but to be honest it's a crapshoot as to how bad traffic will be down there, too.
The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and I hit considerable rain all morning in Arizona, but the GT pushed through without any trouble. As I mentioned previously, this is a solid and stable car. It gives you a good sense of security to press on at reasonable speed even in less-than-perfect road conditions.
But the day wasn't without problems.
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 12, 2015
Day 2: Deming, New Mexico to Austin, Texas, 689 miles.
Getting through El Paso, Texas is one of the worst parts of the road trip to Austin. The traffic is always thick and slow, and by sure dumb luck (with the emphasis on "dumb") the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and I were trying to get through right at morning rush hour.
Google Maps re-routed me around a good portion of the city on a mountainous loop. Of course I blindly followed its instructions. This took me well outside of the city, and I'm not sure it was any faster. Quite a bit more scenic, though, and considerably less aggravating. We'll call it a win.
Once past El Paso the trip got much better, even though west Texas isn't exactly known for its scenic beauty. I definitely like the 80 mph speed limit on Interstate 10 and the wide-open, plenty-of-space character.
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 20, 2015
File this one in the "Mark's a whiny little wuss" folder. When I'm driving in normal conditions, I tend to fiddle with things. I'll tap incessantly on a shifter emblem, push the parking brake release button, scratch at the stitching on the steering wheel. Hey, it's better than digging for gold or putting on makeup, right?
January 19, 2015
Our Mineral Gray Metallic 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo joined our long-term fleet back in February and we've already driven it 20,000 miles.
That's 20,000 miles in just 10 months.
Yes we love driving the all-wheel drive, four-door hatchback, and its reliability has proven to be noteworthy.
January 5, 2015
Like many on our staff, I'm a little adverse to stop/start systems like the one in our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. It's usually one of the first things I turn off when I get in a car. But that didn't happen this weekend and I was a little surprised that I didn't think much about it.
December 22, 2014
One of my weirder traits, and there are many, is that I don't like anything in my pockets while I'm driving. I mean nothing. It's not that I wear tight jeans, although I have admittedly gained a few pounds since my shoulder surgery. Even when I wear cargo shorts with big pockets I like to be free of all paraphernalia.
So one of the first things I do when I get into a car with keyless ignition (which seems to be nearly every car we test here at Edmunds these days) is to find a good spot to store the key fob.
As you can see in the photo, I found such a location in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. There's a tiny tray next to the 12V power outlet, near-perfect for holding the fob in place, even during cornering.
December 5, 2014
It's raining here in Southern California this week for the first time since 2009 (I'm guessing), and as such, ready yourself for the requisite comments about the performance of our myriad long-termers' windshield wipers. In the case of our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo, they were streaky and indicative of wipers that have been sporadically used. However, I'm here to talk about the wiper it does not have.
December 3, 2014
I've always equated driving around with your moveable rear spoiler in the raised position when not at highway speeds to walking around with a popped collar. In the past, this was really only something Porsche drivers could do, but these rising spoilers have been popping up more and more recently. See what I did there? Popping, it's a homonym.
November 19, 2014
I've written some earlier updates highlighting the family-friendly nature of our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. Here's another supporting reason: the easy installation of child safety seats.
November 18, 2014
A few days ago, a friend of mine was asking what I thought about the long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo I was driving. "Oh, it's very nice. Very practical." I said. He nodded his head as he walked around the car more. "Yeah, but do you like it?" he further asked. Now that question gave me pause.
November 13, 2014
If you've decided to buy a 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo you'll likely be looking at certain models on Edmunds' inventory listings (or dealer lots). Or you might be thinking you'd like to have one custom ordered. Either way, you'll have to decide which options or packages you want. I've spent a lot of time with our 3 GT, and that's given me the opportunity to think about the feature packages I really like or ones I wish we had.
November 12, 2014
I could explain at length to my mom about how the 2015 Ford Mustang's new independent rear suspension is cool. Trouble is, I suspect my car guy enthusiasm would quickly turn into a Charlie Brown "wa-wa-wa" talk for her. But how about a climate control system that lets you independently set the temperature of the upper vents from the lower ones? Now that's a feature my mom would like to know about. And our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has it.
November 11, 2014
All-wheel drive can be a nice feature to have on a vehicle if you frequently drive in wet or snowy conditions. But what if you live in, say, Southern California, and don't think you want all-wheel drive on your next new vehicle? You'll be out of luck with the 2014 or 2015 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo.
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.
October 27, 2014
Many navigation systems display a blank screen or some sort of message that implores you to wait, the proverbial spinning pinwheel or progress bar, while the computer readies the system for use. However, our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo puts on a little Tron-inspired show while you wait. It's not much, a schematic of a cityscape that variously illuminates, but it's a nice touch that makes us feel less like we're waiting for something to happen.
October 24, 2014
The steady influx of LED lighting into the automotive industry is a good thing. The crisp light it provides with substantially less electricity, its lower operating temperature and the compact/multi-contour dimensions are all an engineer/designer's dream come true. We had fun with our 2011 Ford Mustang GT's LED ambient and instrument panel "MyColor," lighting, purposely setting the most unattractive combinations of gauge/surround color for the next driver to find.
October 23, 2014
I picked up my daughter from school the other day, and as is always the case, we loaded her roller-bag, lunch box, and water bottle into the trunk. Often, we struggle with a place to put her water bottle so that it doesn't roll to the deep, dark recesses of the trunk, but lo and behold, our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo made our search a short one.
October 16, 2014
I make an attempt to keep our test cars from getting door dings. That means doing things like parking far away from other cars in parking lots (much to the annoyance of whoever is riding with me) and/or grabbing that coveted end spot. At least with the last you can keep one side of the car safe.
That's what I was trying to do with our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo when I parked at the Redondo Beach pier to watch some football at a sports bar with friends.
When I got back to the car, I found this Ford Mustang "parked" next to the BMW. And there's your proof for why we go to lengths to protect the test cars. Because, apparently, some people are parking bozos.
October 15, 2014
We're used to seeing dual-zone climate controls in cars these days. Most of the time the dual-zone-ness of the system is in terms of separate temperature controls between the driver and front passenger.
But the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo offers something that's not as common: dual-zone mode control.
October 10, 2014
This warning came up on the instrument panel and navigation screen while I was driving the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo in heavy traffic the other day: "Objects detected on road!"
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.
August 26, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo just hit the 15,000-mile mark, apparently when someone was driving it at 5:36 in the morning.
Aside from feeling sorry for that poor sap for being up so early, at least he was probably happy to be driving this BMW wagon-ish/crossover thing. It's been a staff favorite since it arrived.
July 16, 2014
Sometimes simple is best. Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo still has a simple one-touch button to reset its trip meter.
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?
June 10, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i has the M Sport package, or M Sport "line" as BMW calls it. It's a $3,750 option over the base setup and it includes these sporty wheels, some minor exterior changes, an M Sport steering wheel, sport seats and a few unique interior colors and trim.
May 30, 2014
Over the long holiday weekend, our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo reached a milestone: It has covered 10,000 miles in our care.
May 15, 2014
I get this a lot when I drive our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. It's a big bright glare on the window. I stays right in front of my face for long portions of my drive. And it's always that same shape.
May 13, 2014
The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo in many ways represents my ideal car. It's engaging to drive, yet possesses a comfortable ride. It doesn't feel enormous when you're behind the wheel, yet it has enormous passenger space. The engine provides spirited acceleration, yet is commendably fuel efficient. It also has some of the most highly adjustable, tall-friendly seats around in a cabin that's attractive (love the blue accents) and user-friendly. Perhaps most notably for the GT, it's a hatchback, which as all card-carrying automotive journalists will attest, is a truly wonderful thing.
As I said, our 328i could be my ideal car. Unfortunately...
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.
April 21, 2014
I needed a place to stash some hand tools in our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. I really didn't want them loose in the cabin with me, as they'd be pretty nasty projectiles in the event of a crash.
When I ventured into the 328i GT's cargo area, I recalled that it is equipped with run-flat tires, which means there might be a handy place for a few loose tools back there.
I was more right than I expected.
April 18, 2014
Depending on what drive setting you select, sport, normal or "Eco Pro," the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has very different personalities. In sport, I'm an impatient lane changer. In normal, I'm relaxed until I see some open road, then I explore the German heritage of this sport sedan. But when the freeways are clogged I'm a mellow Eco Pro guy.
This morning's 32-mile commute restricted me to a blazing top speed of 35 mph. So I switched into Eco Pro and watched my bonus miles begin to build. By the time I reached the office I had amassed a whopping 1.3 bonus miles. What, may you ask, are bonus miles?
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?
April 1, 2014
I'm becoming a fan of head-up displays. Our 2014 Mazda3 has one that I like quite a bit. And the HUD on this new 2014 BMW 328i GT is pretty great, too.
They're similar in that both show speed, cruise control set speed and next-turn information if a navigation route is active. Mazda uses a single color for all of these elements while BMW uses at least three.
March 17, 2014
Interstate road trips are a sure way to pile on the miles, so it wasn't too much of a surprise when our 2014 BMW 3281 GT clicked through 5,000 miles on the way back from Oregon.
It's not much of a milestone, I admit. Nothing much goes wrong this early on.
But it's a numbers thing. Some folks like to commemorate those occasions when the odometer rolls past a string of nines and replaces them with a neat row of zeroes. You can count me among this crowd, but I suppose it was more of an event in the days of mechanical odometers.
For those that are into this sort of thing, it's traditional to show where "it" happened.
Are you sure?
March 13, 2014
The call was unexpected. My brother and I had to get ourselves up to Oregon in short order, but air travel wasn't going to work because of flight schedules, the remote location of our ultimate destination and other complications. We had to drive.
If we left right now we'd get there about the same time (if not earlier) than airline travel because we could drive through the night. Once there we'd have our own wheels and we could depart on our own schedule when the situation improved.
Our route would mimic the one I followed on my most recent holiday road trip in the Tesla Model S. But this time the Tesla wouldn't do. Superchargers are plenty fast enough for vacation travel, but this was no vacation. We were staring down the barrel of a drive-straight-through run for the border.
I chose the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive GT because it isn't terribly thirsty and has a decent-sized 15.8-gallon tank. I also liked the idea of xDrive all-wheel drive because there was a chance we'd encounter snow and ice over the many interstate summits we would cross — a good chance because the forecast called for rain, and rain can turn to snow at altitude in early March.
We departed L.A. in the early afternoon. Our estimated arrival time was the wee hours after midnight so there was no reason to drive like idiots. We'd run a reasonable pace and stop as infrequently as possible for food and gasoline.
March 6, 2014
Our 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo has a Start-Stop feature on three of its four drive settings. I always find this feature disruptive so I usually turn it off.