2013 BMW 328i Sedan – Review and Road Test
BMW, with the bar already quite high thanks to the success of previous-generation 3ers, launched the sixth generation 3 Series in 2012. The new model improved in comparison to its predecessor, but also promised significant advances in technology as well as greater efficiency. The new 3 Series brought with it, for the first time since the mid 1990s, a four-cylinder powerplant to the U.S. market, along with a host of other EfficientDynamics-branded technologies.
My heart sang for joy when I first saw the test vehicle, with its Alpine White exterior, Coral Red seats, and the aggressive body kit of the M-Sport package. It sported Xenon headlights with LED accents and a moon roof, and, from the outside, was more or less an identical spec to my own previous-generation 3er.
I found the sport seats to be supportive and comfortable, while at maximum height a half an inch lower than I would prefer. The dashboard is more driver oriented than that in my car, but is dominated by a narrow iDrive display that is controlled by buttons on the dash and a simplified iDrive controller.
The M Steering wheel felt reassuringly thick and grippy, but I found the controls for the audio system somewhat unintuitive thanks in part to the cruise control being moved from the steering column to the wheel. The car had minimal installed accessory equipment, i.e. no USB interface for an iPod, no, Bluetooth, and no navi. I put the address of my hotel in my iPhone’s Navigon app, put that on top of the iDrive display, and set off.
The F30 328i’s TwinPower 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo has elicited much praise for being powerful, yet efficient. It generates a higher output than my previous generation’s 3.0-liter inline 6, and according to the EPA, returns six more miles per gallon on the highway. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that further increases the car’s potential fuel economy, as do the 3er’s low-resistance tires.