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What We Got
We opted for the volume-selling powertrain configuration when selecting our long-term 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. This included a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4, eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive as standard equipment. At 26 mpg combined, the EPA fuel economy estimate was competitive.
This vehicle was a loaner from BMW and as such, had optional equipment we may not have otherwise selected. While these extras offered us more features to test, they quickly elevated the $41,450 starting MSRP of our 328i Gran Turismo. Big-ticket packages contributed most heavily: M Sport ($3,750) added 18-inch wheels and sport seats; Cold Weather ($950) gave us a heated steering wheel and seats; Dynamic Handling ($1,000) included an adaptive suspension and variable-ratio steering; Premium ($2,200) offered keyless entry and satellite radio; and, Technology ($3,150) got us navigation and online BMW app access. Options ordered individually were the M Sport brakes ($650), Harman Kardon audio ($875) and Mineral Grey Metallic paint ($550).
The as-tested MSRP of our 328i GT was $55,500.
"The turbocharged 2.0-liter in our 2014 BMW 328i GT is a real piece of work. It produces a strong punch off the line despite its small size and sounds good doing it. All those gears in the eight-speed transmission certainly help the cause. At higher engine speeds, it remains smooth and relatively quiet. Sure, one of BMW's legendary straight sixes is smoother and quieter, but this engine is as close as a four-cylinder is likely to get." — Ed Hellwig
"Even with a wheelbase extended by 4.4 inches versus a regular 3 Series sedan, and fitted with standard all-wheel drive (or xDrive, in BMW-speak), the 328i GT handled pretty much like a normal 3 Series. Meaning it was responsive, sure-footed and, yes, fun." — Mike Monticello
"So after our first California fuel stop in sleepy Yreka we decided to set the cruise control at a reasonable speed in the low 70s, settle in and let Interstate 5 stream past. We didn't stop for gas again until we were more than 497 miles down the road at Lost Hills. That was a 33.2-mpg tank. The following fill-up, the one that brought us the rest of the way home from Lost Hills, was 33 mpg. The EPA highway rating for this car is 33 mpg. Nailed it." — Dan Edmunds
"The result is a 76.9-mile course that takes about three hours to complete.... I kept the stop-start system fully operational for the first circuit and disabled it for the second one.... Here is what I found: Stop-Start disabled: 25.1 mpg (4.0 gallons per 100 miles); Stop-Start enabled: 27.5 mpg (3.6 gallons per 100 miles). Our BMW delivered 2.4 more mpg when the stop-start system was allowed to do its thing, a 9.4-percent improvement. Presuming you do a lot of city driving, that's about a gallon per fill-up. I don't know about you, but that's more significant than I expected." — Dan Edmunds
"We arrived tired and cranky, essentially jet-lagged. And all that seat time left me sore, stiff and miserable. I'd noticed the 328i GT's seats weren't very comfortable in the first few hours but had no choice but to press on and do what stretching I could during our infrequent stops." — Dan Edmunds
"Our long-term 2014 BMW 328i GT, for instance, is extremely comfortable. Extremely. From its driver seat to its seating position to its ride quality, our 328i is a luxury car first and foremost.... It by no means demands even the smallest sacrifice in comfort from its occupants. I personally love the shape and support of the BMW's driver seat. I'm 5' 11", 185 pounds, and it fits me perfectly." — Scott Oldham
"I needed a place to stash some hand tools.... When I ventured into the 328i GT's cargo area, I recalled that it was equipped with run-flat tires, which meant there might be a handy place for a few loose tools back there. I was more right than I expected. The cargo area's floor access door is supported by a gas strut.... There are several voluminous storage bins beneath, perfect for exactly what I needed in this instance." — Jason Kavanagh
"Two cars: one our long-term 3 Series Gran Turismo and the other a 3 Series Sport Wagon. They're both 3 Series, they both have extra cargo space compared to the regular sedan...and yet, they are quite different. The GT actually has more cargo capacity than the wagon. With seats up it has 18.4 cubic feet versus 17.5, while the difference in maximum capacity is 56.5 cubic feet versus 53. Of course, cubic feet don't tell the whole story. The wagon's more traditional cargo area shape is ultimately more versatile and useful." — James Riswick
"I really like this car...but it's not perfect. No car is perfect.... 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 drive this car hard and its small gear readout becomes a disappointment.... Especially at this price point." — Scott Oldham
"Part of the appeal of the 328i Gran Turismo is a wheelbase and body longer 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.... My head rubs up against the headliner. I'm pretty normal for height, too, at 5-feet, 10-inches tall. In order for my head to not touch the roof, I have to tilt it inwards. That's hardly comfortable." — Brent Romans
Audio and Technology
"The iDrive controller.... Its top is a touchpad that lets you write in some destination info, such as the street name, address and city, rather than dialing around the system's wheel of fortune. The touchpad had no trouble interpreting my fingertip writing and it was easier to use than the scroll wheel. I know that the iDrive has a lot of haters, but I like it, and I like this neatly integrated approach to better, faster destination delineation." — Carroll Lachnit
"Our 328i Gran Turismo has a case of T.M.I., or Too Much Information.... BMW is proud to display traffic conditions not only on the main highway arteries, but also on surface streets. The problem is that I have trouble teasing out the part in which I'm mainly interested, the highways. The surface street traffic disappears if I un-zoom far enough, but then I'm looking at the entire L.A. metropolitan area and I lose the detail of interchanges, etc." — Chris Walton
"Run-flats are great. They've saved my butt more than a few times letting me get to a safe spot or a tire shop. Run-flats aren't great when you don't have a spare, too. Let's try to stretch and imagine a world where I don't live very, very close to the office and where I lack the flexibility to skip a day of work. Let's try to then imagine that world where I don't have a functional car for four days while I wait for a tire. Long live the full-size spare." — Mike Magrath
"I stopped at a rest area midmorning for a quick break, and as I got hard into the throttle to enter the highway at speed, the BMW started sputtering, bogging and just generally hesitating. Around that same time a warning came up on the navigation screen and a check-engine light popped up on the instrument panel. The readout said: 'Drivetrain malfunction: Drive moderately. Maximum drivetrain output not available. Consult service center.'" — Mike Monticello
"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.... In my restlessness, I started tapping on the paddle shifters and discovered a minor misstep.... The edges of the paddles are sharp.... For something that drivers would potentially be touching on a regular basis, the finish should be excellent." — Mark Takahashi
"The rear seat in the 3 Series Gran Turismo is actually quite ideal for installing safety seats. A lot of times you'll encounter sporty contouring on a luxury car's rear-seat cushions, which can give occupants better lower lateral support, but it makes it harder to get a proper fit with a safety seat's base. Considering the 3 GT's flat seat bottoms, it almost seems like BMW's designers had safety seats as the priority. The angle of the seatback is also well matched to my Britax seat. Finally, the Gran Turismo's LATCH anchors, located behind the black flip-up covers, are very easy to locate and use." — Brent Romans
Maintenance & Repairs
Routine service was due on the BMW as dictated by its onboard computer. Our driving habits had us in the shop three times during our year of ownership. We paid nothing due to BMW free scheduled maintenance, which covered the car for four years or 50,000 miles.
Two service campaigns were addressed during our test. The first involved removing a drain grommet and the second updated the program control unit (B12 16 13).
We also experienced a "drivetrain malfunction warning." The light came and went but a code was stored. Our dealer chalked this up to a "one-time fault" and cleared the code. It did not happen again before we returned the vehicle to BMW days later. However, this same fault is causing much larger problems for some owners on BMW forums.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy
Fuel economy for the 328i GT fell short of expectations. After 25,000 miles we averaged 24 mpg, significantly shy of the 26 mpg combined EPA rating. Our best single tank was 33 mpg and the best single-tank range was an impressive 497 miles.
Resale and Depreciation
The MSRP on our Gran Turismo was $55,500. At the conclusion of our test, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator valued the 25,000-mile sedan at $36,878 based on a private-party sale. This equated to significant depreciation of 34 percent from the as-tested MSRP.
Pros: More versatility, second-row legroom and cargo storage than the 3 Series sedan with nearly the same performance. Free scheduled maintenance for 4 years or 50,000 miles. Up to 500-mile fuel range.
Cons: Minor interior build quality issues. Depreciation was unexpectedly high. We averaged 2 mpg below EPA combined fuel economy estimates. Uncertainty about drivetrain warnings.
Bottom Line: The Gran Turismo is a more spacious, more utilitarian 3 Series sedan. Performance sacrifices are minimal. We encountered some interior fit and finish missteps. And our highly optioned example had uncharacteristically low resale value.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||None|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||None (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||$376.25 to replace a tire|
|Warranty Repairs:||Remove water drain grommet, reprogram PCU|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||3|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||1 to replace a tire|
|Days Out of Service:||2|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||33.2 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||14.9 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||23.6 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$36,878 (private-party sale)|
|Depreciation:||$18,622 (34% of original MSRP)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||25,046 miles|
The manufacturer provided Edmunds with this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.