BMWBLOG takes the new 2014 BMW 328d for an extended test drive from Dallas to Kansas City and back. How does the four-cylinder diesel banger behave? Let’s find out.
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BMW is bringing the diesels to the United States.
By the end of 2014 we should have six diesel models for sale in the United States. BMWBLOG put this 2014 BMW 328d with M Sports Package to a long distance test to see how these new diesels are to live with and more importantly to find out how much fun they are to drive. Over 1500 miles and an unexpected winter storm encountered 100 miles south of Dallas, we found that it’s not only easy to live with a diesel car but a genuinely fun BMW to drive.
Powering the 328d is a 2.0 liter, 16 valve TwinPower Turbo Diesel with 180hp and 280 ft-lbs of torque from 1750-2750 rpm. The 328d has a fuel economy rating of 32 mpg city and 45 highway. With a fuel tank capacity of 15 gallons, one could have a theoretical highway range of 675 mpg. We probably could have gotten better mileage if we could have stayed out of nailing the throttle all the time. The torque was just too addictive. 0-60 comes in 7.4 seconds. Stop light drag racing isn’t its forte, dipping into its deep torque to pass, but the 328d returns great fuel mileage.
Really cold weather, so the story goes, can be hard on diesels. Stories of diesel fuel jelling, no heat for a long time are just a few negatives I have heard. in the past. To put the 328d to the test, we left it out overnight where it was just 3 degrees out. Next morning, I open the door and step on the brake and not wanting the car to cheat and start warming things up, I immediately push the start button and the 328d fires right up without complaint. I figured there might be a slight delay as glow plugs heat up or, I don’t know, something preheats. Nope. Fired right up.
The other myth about diesels and cold weather is that they don’t warm up for a long time. I assumed we’d freeze in the cabin but in the short 3 mile trip I noticed the car kicking heat out even though the temperature gauge didn’t move off its coldest range. The lack of heated seats in this California-plated car were sorely missed though.
Overtaking other vehicles is a little different in the 328d than a 328i. With the diesel, most of the acceleration comes much lower in the rev band. The combination of the 280 ft-lbs of torque available from 1750 rpm and the eight-speed transmission provides quick shifting, without winding out the motor too much. In the right gear and rapid shifting eight-speed auto, slower traffic was readily dispatched. When I looked up the respective 0-60 times I was surprised because this car feels faster than the advertised 0-60 time.
The $3500 M Sports package is money well spent in my book. The more sporty appearance is only part of the deal. The suspension is much tighter and the M Sport Steering Wheel with shifting paddles give you great control without moving your hands off the wheel. Adding the Dynamic Handling Package for $1000 sharpened the steering up and added adjustable dampers. Now you have a much better steering setup than what comes in the base F30 3 Series. With their adjustable side bolsters, the M Sport seats really hold you in place, something we came to enjoy from a BMW. The M Sport Package came with 400 Style 18” wheels and summer performance tires. These were very grippy until one hits some snow and ice, then not so much. Time to pull off the highway and wait for the winter storm to pass.
An interesting side note is that on BMWUSA.com when you build a 328d, the system won’t let you add Dynamic Handling Package to the M Sport Package so we’re not sure if it’s a configuration error or the option was only made available to our test car. Regardless, I thought the $5,000 worth of options really made a throughly 328d sporty chassis.
Inside The Cabin
I am a huge fan of iDrive and BMW Apps. All the BMW car I have owned were equipped with the full iDrive system that includes navigation and BMW Apps. Initially I was rather disappointed that the test car didn’t have those features but over the course of my test drive I learned the base iDrive actually has a lot of functionality. The base iDrive comes with Bluetooth and imports your contacts and addresses. However, it will not stream music over Bluetooth. I tried plugging in a Lighting cable into the USB port but it only charged the phone and not stream music. You need to use the USB/Aux jack dongle which on the Apple connection has an iPhone 4 30 pin adapter.
In the next step you need to add a Lightning adapter to get your music accessed via the iDrive. Once hooked up though, it works just as all the other iDrive units. There is a very detailed trip computer, in addition to oil level, tire pressure and suspension settings. The base iDrive had much more functionality than I expected. I don’t care for the clipped screen but otherwise had no complaints.
Is the BMW 328d For Me?
Over the course of my trip I found that diesel fuel isn’t hard to find and given the crazy range of the 328d, you don’t need to look for it often. The 328d did have a little more diesel clatter at idle than I would have thought but not intrusively so. The exhaust doesn’t smell or even belch black smoke.
Perhaps the biggest revelation with this 2014 BMW 328d is its fun factor. It made a great road trip car and never once made me think I was sacrificing anything to get the fuel economy benefits of a diesel. With a mere $1,300 separating the petrol-fueled 328i, the BMW 328d makes a strong case for those that put a lot of miles on cars, especially with a 45 mpg highway rating.
Here is a breakdown of the entry-level 3 Series in the United States:
- 328i – MSRP of $37,300 in 5.7
- 320i – MSRP $32,700 0-60 in 7.1
- 328d – MSRP $38,600 0-60 in 7.4
As Tested – 2014 BMW 328d Sedan
- MSRP $38,600
- M Sport $3,500
- Dynamic Handling Pk $1000
- Sport Auto Trans $500
- Destination Charge $925
TOTAL MSRP $45,075
See the video review: