2016 BMW 328i Sports Wagon: Better than a crossover

3-Series | March 25th, 2016 by 24
2016 BMW 328i Sports Wagon8 750x500

Many of us car journalists bitch and moan about the lack of sporty wagons sold in America. We like wagons, us gearheads, for their ability …

Many of us car journalists bitch and moan about the lack of sporty wagons sold in America. We like wagons, us gearheads, for their ability to blend both sports car performance and family car practicality into one vehicle. Unfortunately for us, the small crossover has warped the minds of Americans to believe that they are the best blend of performance and practicality, not the wagon. This has led Americans to buy swarms of these crossovers instead of the more fun-to-drive wagons and us car enthusiasts are upset about this.

However, we only have ourselves to blame, because if we want them so bad we should buy the few that are here, prompting automakers to then realize their value on the market. But we don’t buy them, we bitch and moan about them not selling well over here and then continue to be part of the problem. So we’ve decided to put our money where our mouths are and try out a BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon.

2016 BMW 328i Sports Wagon9 750x563

So this is my companion for the week, a post LCI 2016 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon in Mediterranean Blue with Oyster Dakota Leather interior. In pictures, the Mediterranean Blue color doesn’t look all that special, but in person it has really sold me and I like it quite a lot. The Oyster interior is really rather lovely and looks fantastic, however, seeing as this is supposed to be a practical car, the light Oyster color might not be best choice as it will get dirty and gross quite easily. Black is the way to go.

The 328i xDrive Sports Wagon comes with BMW’s N20 2.0 liter TwinPower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 240 hp and it’s mated to an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic gearbox with paddles shifters. All post-LCI 3 Series’ now come with sport seats and the sport automatic gearbox as standard and are no longer options. Our test car is equipped with the Cold Weather Package, Technology Package, Premium Package, the Harman Kardon surround sound system, the 18″ style 397 wheels and even the rear sunshades. This thing is crazy loaded and its price tag is pushing $60,000. That’s a lot for a 328i wagon. However, many of those options can be foregone and you’d still have a superb car. Plus, this wagon is making a very good case for itself being worth that kind of money.

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In just the day that I’ve had it, it’s already swallowed up luggage, groceries, a dog and multiple passengers with ease. The trunk is more capacious that I had anticipated and the ability to just open the rear glass instead of the entire tailgate is a welcome touch. It’s a very practical little car, one that can easily double as a family car and rid the necessity of a crossover. But it’s also a fun little performance car that’s genuinely smile inducing. BMW’s new B48 engine is also a gem, with great power and performance that’s even accompanied by a nice engine note, regardless of however much of it is artificially produced by the speakers. We haven’t yet had a chance to put its handling through its paces, but so far the work BMW has done to the 3 Series for its LCI treatment has helped the steering feel a bit sharper and more engaging than before.

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Over the course of our time with the little 3er wagon, we will be taking it on a long roadtrip through some excellent back roads, as well as testing its practicality and performance. We really intend to dispel the stigma that follows wagons in America by proving that they can be both fun and practical while still looking cool. Our 328i Sports Wagon looks great, drives great so far and should prove to be more practical than I could ever need. So we’ll keep you posted on its adventures and how well it holds up.

24 responses to “2016 BMW 328i Sports Wagon: Better than a crossover”

  1. bmw driver says:

    Pity you couldn’t get a RWD M-Sport. In RWD guise, the weight balance is actually slightly to the rear which makes for really rewarding dynamics.

    • John says:

      Not surprised. In Canada you can’t even buy the RWD version. You have no choice but to get an AWD BMW. It’s insane.

    • As John said below, we don’t get the RWD variant in the US, only xDrive. We do get the M Sport package but my tester doesn’t have it unfortunately. Having said that, it is still fun to drive and genuinely entertaining.

      • Robert Gray says:

        You stated that the car has the new B48 engine instead of the N20…can you confirm this? I would like to purchase the 328i with the new B48 engine, but have not heard yet that it will be available in the USA for 2017…thanks.

        • Horatiu B. says:

          I think it’s still the N20

        • bmw driver says:

          New engine codes B48 4 cyl and B58 6 cyl can be had on the newly named 330i (used to be the 328i) and the 340i (used to be the 335i) respectively. Confusing because if you buy a new 428i, or 435i, which I believe are still in production, you’ll get the older engine.

          • Robert Gray says:

            You are correct, so…when will the 330i with the B48 engine come to the USA?

          • recursiveiterator says:

            330i models will arrive for the 2017 model year, so anything you order with production in July or later. We should get the official announcement 5-6 weeks from now.

            Nico should do the right thing and rewrite the article to drop the B48 talk, because it’s disappointing to see this kind of mistake in a blog that focuses on BMWs. 328i is N20 (all models) or N26 (sedans only), which is actually not such a bad thing. At least we’re not getting recalls on them.

            The price of the tester is pushing $60K, because it has not just the listed packages, but much more: I can see ZDB, Active Cruise Control, ZLP, and they all are expensive options.

            Also, it’s not the M Sport that makes driving better, but specifically M Sport with adjustable shocks added, or (for much less) Track Handling Package. That’s what should be checked on the order sheet before all those unnecessary electronic bits.)

            (2016 F31 ZMP ZTR and a bunch of other things here, so I know what I’m talking about.)

          • Robert Gray says:

            So, I am on the fence re: the track handling package. Is it the non-runflat tires that make the package a joy to have on the car? or are the adjustable shocks also necessary?

          • recursiveiterator says:

            Both.

          • Robert Gray says:

            What is it about the track handling package that makes the car better for daily driving (vs. for track use…)?

          • recursiveiterator says:

            I think you answered this question yourself in your previous comment. Right where you said the word “joy”.

          • Robert Gray says:

            Thank you for the info…

  2. Donald's Burro says:

    With the 328d variant I would average 36 mpg for daily driving. On long hauls over 40 mpg. The 328i has a little more pep but not enough that I’d choose it over the diesel. The 3 sport wagon is one of my favorite BMWs and I can’t wait to see it the new 4 cyl diesel when that is available. The oyster interior wasn’t that bad to keep clean. It had a little “dog net” in the back that could easily hook up to the ceiling which was my favorite little creature feature.

  3. Ask says:

    Wrong on the engine, not B48, still N20.
    I drove an LCI 328i xdrive and it sure was fun to drive. The car got more refined.

  4. BMWcompact says:

    Meh. 60k for this? I want a true swagger wagon. Too bad they don’t sell it here, because I would buy the shit out of a c450 wagon.

    They should do a 340xi m-sport wagon. Fully loaded, only options being color to keep cost down to just under 70k.

    If there was a true swagger wagon on the market, I believe it would have a market.

    These soccer mom wagons don’t do it for me. Why would I spend 60k on a 4cyl wagon when I could get a base m3 sedan for 10k more, or a loaded x3 6cyl for similar money.

    Why the hell do they even make this soccer mom car? It’s 2016, the official car of the soccer mom is a small SUV… get with the times. You want a hatchback or wagon to sell in the USA, make it cool. An eccentric, utilitarian, un-assuming sports-wagon would be compelling. This 328xi is not compelling to soccer moms or car guys.

    This bodystyle has the potential to be cool, but BMW squandered it.

    • recursiveiterator says:

      Like I described above, this is a $60K vehicle only because it was optioned this way. You can instead build something really nice for under $50K+tax out the door.

      Now tell me, does this look like a soccer mom car?

  5. […] especially hard for me, personally, to believe that because I’m currently driving a 2016 BMW 328i with the LED lighting package and the headlights are superb. In fact, while driving down the […]

  6. […] BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. It’s likely to do so in lower segments, such as the 2 Series and 3 Series segments, and not make it up to flagship level cars, like the BMW 7 Series. In China, DS sells a […]

  7. […] BMW was gracious enough to lend me a 2016 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon for a week to test it in all sorts of different environments. It went through your typical suburban […]

  8. […] In America, wagons are not popular. This much we already know. In fact, they’re so unpopular that they almost don’t exist in North America anymore. European car companies that have been making wagons for decades have almost completely stopped selling them across the Atlantic. Companies like Audi, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz have all but abandoned the wagon in favor for jacked up “rugged type wagons in hopes they can trick American buyers into thinking they’re actually SUVs. However, one brand that still has hope for the wagon in America is BMW, thankfully. And the car it’s using to hold the North America wagon flag is the BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon. […]

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