Road & Track is giving their long-term press car 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon a final review before it goes back to the manufacturer. Their 10,000 miles tester was put through its paces and has become one of their favorite long-term press cars of the year.
The 328d xDrive Sports Wagon made its U.S. debut in 2013, as the only BMW touring offered on this side of the pond.
At first glance, the F31 BMW 3 Series Touring looks like an evolution of the E91, but after a prolonged drive, the improvements over the previous generation begin to surface. Overall, the new F31 surpasses its predecessor by 3.66 inches in outer length, which in addition to larger cargo space, it offers the passengers more head and legroom.
The sporty touring also has a longer wheelbase, 1.96 inches over the previous model, as well as a wider track (front + 37 mm/1.46 in., rear + 48 mm/1.85 in.), all of these combined give the F31 Touring increased dynamics and ride balance. Despite the larger dimensions, more standard equipment and increase in torsional stiffness by ten percent, the mass weight is kept in check – depending on the model, up to 40 kilograms less than the E91 model.
The 328d variant is powered by a 2.0 liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel unit producing 181 horsepower.
BMW was also kind enough to offer the owners the choice to attach the M Sport Package to the 328d Sports Wagon, turning it into a quite attractive machine.
So let’s have a look at what Road & Track says about the sporty wagon:
This car is more than a freeway cruiser, though. On back roads, Sport mode stiffened the suspension, added steering effort, and sped up the powertrain response. That didn’t improve steering feel or the lines of communication between chassis and driver, but the BMW still proved plenty capable of spirited driving on 18-inch Bridgestone Potenza S001 summer tires. With a rear-biased torque split, the xDrive all-wheel-drive system allowed the 3790-pound wagon to slide gracefully through corners without stability control stepping in to ruin the fun.
Unfortunately, things weren’t nearly as smooth under the hood. The 328d is the first 3-series sold in the United States with BMW’s N47 2.0-liter, a turbocharged four-cylinder diesel that delivers 181 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. We’re accustomed to modern diesel engines—especially those from Germany—that are remarkably quiet, but this particular one exhibits noticeable clatter, especially during start/stop.
That auditory harshness was taxing, but the 2.0-liter paid dividends by averaging a spectacular 38 mpg during our test, and we wasted not a single mile driving to the dealership, thanks to BMW’s famously long oil-change intervals. Instead, we just kept road-tripping.