?2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon?
Combining Wagon flexibility with Sport Sedan Dynamics
Several years ago, the demise of the station wagon was predicted by the majority of the automotive press as being too stodgy and family oriented to be an enjoyable form of transportation ? at least here in North America. The wagon ideology seemed to have lost its favor with the U.S. car buying public. Another ?not-so-positive? outlook was directed toward any vehicle powered by diesel fuel ? those vehicles were perceived as too noisy, foul smelling and pollutant. German auto manufacturers seemingly never bought into either premise, and a prime example available in today?s marketplace is the 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon. The BMW 328d Sports Wagon happens to be a favorite of driving enthusiasts ? it is indeed sporty along with being quieter, cleaner and more economical to operate over the long haul.
Europeans have long been aware that diesel-fueled machines are capable of covering longer distances, while costing less to operate, and running cleaner, with less pollution than most of today?s gasoline-fueled vehicles. Admittedly, diesel fuel is more expensive than petrol, and diesel-powered forms of transportation are generally more expensive to purchase, but in the final analysis, diesel vehicles save money, while giving up nothing in terms of efficiency, power, comfort and convenience, not to mention styling.
Another interesting factoid – wagons are capable of doing nearly everything that consumers expect of SUVs. By combining diesel power in a Sports Wagon, long-range operating costs are lowered and the driving experience becomes more enjoyable than practically every SUV. The new 2014 BMW 328d Sports Wagon blends the highly desirable driving dynamics of the BMW 3 Series sedans with the versatility and functionality of a wagon, along with the attractive styling of a luxury European Sports sedan. Add BMW?s xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system and the performance is heightened even more.
The motive force for the BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon comes from BMW’s?2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo?technology Diesel with Variable-Geometry Turbo technology and latest?generation common-rail Direct Injection. The potent four-banger makes 181?horses at 4,000 rpm while developing 280 pound feet of torque in a range from?1,750-2,750 rpm. Energy is delivered to all four wheels through an 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic transmission with manual shift capability? via steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The diesel-powered Sports Wagon is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60mph in just 7.7 seconds, and EPA fuel economy is rated at 31-mpg city and 43 mpg highway. The 15-gallon fuel tank, yields a range potential of 645 highway miles, depending of course on how it?s driven.
The BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon is slightly larger than its predecessor, the front track is 1.46-inches wider, the rear plus 1.84-inches. The car?s length is 3.66-inches longer, with a 1.96-inch longer wheelbase. Inside, rear passengers will appreciate the noticeable increase in space made possible by the larger dimensions, which also pay dividends in utility with nearly ten percent more cargo volume both with the rear seats up and when folded, for just under 65 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. The BMW 328d Sports Wagon surpasses a number of mid-sized SUVs in this regard. Its liftover height is also lower than that of an SUV, and , by waving one?s foot under the rear bumper with the key on one?s person the rear hatch opens automatically. The rear glass may be opened independently of the hatch as well.
Visually, the 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon presents a striking face with precise contours and multi-faceted surfaces. The diesel wagon?s sporting nature is made apparent by its wide track, which accentuates the car?s width, the multi-faceted surfaces of the front fascia display a more athletic appearance than ever.
Clearly defined headlight surrounds now extend up to the frame of the kidney grille, merging the headlights and grille into a single stylistic element and adding further emphasis to the car?s broad-set stance. The central air intake of its predecessor is replaced with two larger intakes that are positioned beneath the headlights to the outer edges of the front fascia, adding extra depth to the wagon?s sporty look. On the left and right edges of the main ducts are small vertical intakes, which help create the ?Air Curtain?. This new technology improves airflow around the front wheels, enhancing aerodynamic efficiency and reducing fuel consumption at higher speeds. The sport wagon?s silhouette delivers and enhanced dynamic impact.
The wagon?s athletic overall impression is emphasized by the steeply raked D-pillars, the angle of the rear window and the subtly wedge-shaped geometry of the window surfaces. The roofline slopes downwards slightly to the rear and is extended visually by a spoiler ? and the ?Hofmeister kink? at the foot of the D-pillar also generates a sense of dynamic tension.
The rear of the new BMW 328d Sports Wagon features a combination of sporting elegance and modern practicality. The horizontal lines and L-shaped lights are set far to the outer edges accentuating the subtly flared fenders and the wider track. Two integrated bars of LEDs allow a slim light design. The large tailgate opening with separate rear window opening and low sill make loading and unloading bulky items easier.
Four equipment lines will be offered for individualization and personalization: The Sport Line; the Luxury Line; Modern Line; and M Sport Line.
My test 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon wore an exterior finish of Estoril Blue metallic, with the interior done in Black Sensa Tec. The base price was set at $42,950. While the final sticker came to $49,275. after factoring in the options, which included: the metallic paint; M Sport Line; Dynamic Handling Package; and Destination charge.
SUMMARY: The 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon has a lot going for it ? it?s visually appealing and athletic in its appearance. Acceleration is more than adequate from the 2.0-liter Turbo Diesel, and gear changes are smooth and nearly imperceptible whether left in automatic mode or made manually.
The ride quality is firm but very comfortable and stable. Handling is nimble and sporty as it should be, and braking is positive. A Driving Dynamics Control switch allows a choice of four modes: Eco Pro; Comfort; Sport; and Sport+. Each of these predefined modes activates different settings for the relevant power train and suspension components. There?s also an automatic Start-Stop function, which may be disabled (I?m not a big fan of this function even though it decreases fuel consumption somewhat), and a Brake Energy Regeneration.
BMW?s iDrive4.2 provides three-dimensional control and connectivity is enhanced through BMW?s ConnectedDrive.?My test 328d Bimmer did not come with the following safety options: Lane Departure Warning; Active Blind Spot Detection; Rear View Camera with Top View; or BMW Parking Assistant. All are good to have available for added safety, awareness and convenience.
Ultimately, the BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon delivers everything that a premium mid-size SUV does, and more for that matter, in terms of clean diesel efficiency, sporty performance and added functionality in a 3-Series BMW. It enables going green to some extent without compromise.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$49,275.|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo Diesel with Variable-Geometry Turbo technology and latest generation common-rail Direct Injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||181 @ 4,000 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||280 @ 1,750-2,750 rpm|
|Transmission:||8-speed Steptronic sport automatic with manual shift capability through steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally mounted front engine / BMW intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive system.|
Front – Double-joint spring strut axle in aluminum with displaced castor, small positive steering roll radius, compensation of lateral forces, anti-dive geometry.
Rear – Five-arm axle in lightweight steel.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel single-piston swing-caliper vented discs with DSC, ABS, DTC, CBC, DBC Brake Assistant, Dry Braking, Fading Compensation and Start-Off Assistant.|
|Tires:||Pirelli Centurato P7 225/45 R18 all-season mounted on 5-twin-spoke alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||182.1 inches|
|Curb Weight:||3,790 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||15.0 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||31 mpg city / 43 mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||7.7 seconds.|