Overall fuel economy continues to tick upward by tenths of a mile per gallon, although our overall average is still 35 mpg. The 31 mpg in the city lowers the combined average to a still impressive 35 miles to the gallon. Even as it sits, we can count on nearly 500 miles between fill-ups. This 328d wagon does a reasonable job of supporting that, with the additional draw of greater utility and much-improved fuel economy. We should know—this happens to us. The highway miles helped enable a very respectable 35-mpg average for the 40,000-mile test, which is even more impressive considering most of those trips involved multiple passengers and a cargo hold full of gear.
The wagon adds all the advantages of a hatchback. In Sport+ and Sport, the suspension and electric power steering firm up. We could have requested , but having already completed a , we thought we would switch up the body styles. There's premium audio, Xenon headlamps, and so many more options available. More expensive and less efficient. On back roads, Sport mode stiffened the suspension, added steering effort, and sped up the powertrain response.
Yes, a cheaper one would suffice. Kim Reynolds, who likened that car's system to a wet dog shaking, was particularly impressed with the smoothness of the new system. Ironically, the 328i gas engine at idle sounds a little like a diesel, and you occasionally hear that inside, but the actual diesel is also audible when accelerating and even when cruising. This happened a few times when I first drove the car, but it stopped once I acclimated. Comfort is the default mode, which optimizes the throttle and engine performance to their most balanced settings. So it goes with each stint behind the wheel of our long-term. The 328d's feels far improved compared with our gas-powered 2012 528i long-termer's, reacting quicker and producing less of a shudder.
It's a good thing that the wagon form-factor doesn't attract a lot of attention to itself, because a car this comfortable at speed that could get you into a lot of trouble with the law if you're not careful. The standard loadout is reasonably well equipped, but there are a few odd omissions and tech choices. Something like it can be found in less expensive models, from, say, Volkswagen. The basic level of tech is pretty good, but a few key features are missing from this 2014 model. First off, diesels excel at highway speeds, where most hybrids are less efficient, and their range on a tank of fuel is impressive. Instead of wasting fuel by idling at a stoplight, an alternator-starter puts the diesel engine into a dormant state when the car is at a standstill.
Unlike gasoline, which evaporates, diesel is a light oil. But the diesel Sports Wagon has a secret -- when its torquey, unassuming engine combines with the optional M Sport upgrades and Dynamic Handling package, it becomes a rather good driver's car that balances comfort and efficiency with grin-inducing performance. For the first half of its stay, the 328d repeatedly warned us of excessively worn brake pads and required multiple service visits to track down the cause; a worn pad-level sensor threw the false alarms, and we did not need to replace the brake pads during our time with the car. You might also discover that diesel fuel tends to linger, on the ground and sometimes on a fuel-pump nozzle. Passenger space is about as expected of a compact car, with decent room for four adults.
Lift your foot off the brake, and the engine seamlessly comes back to life. Rick and Tom agree the system has improved over time, though Rick still longs for conventional switchgear. Overall, though, the 328d xDrive Sports Wagon won us over by blending sportiness and efficiency into a cohesive, utilitarian package. The salesman was not willing to share the spec sheet, inspection of the used car, and the service history of the car. We also made the no-cost decision to swap out the garish Estoril Blue plastic dash trim that comes with the M Sport pack for more subtle gloss-black pieces. When nearing an interval, the minder appears in the gauge cluster during startup, informing you the recommend miles and days before the next stop.
It also packed automatic climate control, auto-dimming mirrors, a power panoramic sunroof, and ambient lighting. With 50 miles or so remaining, we didn't even have to refill the 15-gallon fuel tank. A few drivers complained of poor rear visibility, and the less patient among us noticed turbo lag. Eco Pro adjusts the engine's performance and transmission shift program for better fuel economy while simultaneously adjusting the performance of the climate control system to further boost the miles per gallon. The run to 60 mph was accomplished in 7.
The optional Dynamic Handling package allows the wagon to go from comfortable cruiser to corner carver with the flip of a switch. The 328d xDrive Sports Wagon is a rare and appealing combination for the enthusiast with cargo-hauling needs: wagon body style, efficient diesel engine, and all-wheel drive. This cost us nothing, as did the warranty fix performed at the same time for a broken rear-passenger sunshade; it had fallen into the door after the tab for lifting it was snapped off by someone among our ranks. One difference between the gas and diesel models — and a big one — is the noise level. We also had a scheduled service performed at 22,000 miles, which involved an oil and filter change, an inspection, an air-filter swap, and a top-off of the AdBlue exhaust-treatment fluid. The 2014 328d, available as a sedan or wagon, replaces the 335d, which was powered by a 3-liter six-cylinder diesel engine.
Now, 180 horsepower isn't an overwhelming amount of power; dropping down two gears for a pass with a quick double tap of the paddle shifter doesn't result in a neck-snapping bang of acceleration. The shudder disappeared when they disconnected the control module, thereby briefly turning our wagon into a rear-driver. The 328d Sports Wagon is not the most exciting driving experience. In a car that can travel more than seven hours between highway fill-ups, those comforts are particularly welcome. That auditory harshness was taxing, but the 2. Even better: The car remembers this setting after you turn it off.
Low rumble The engine largely stayed at speeds as low as 1250 rpm, aided by control logic that saw the eight-speed transmission upshift four or five times by the time the car reached 35 mph around town. All-wheel-drive with either engine knocks those figures down by 1-2 mpg. Many other features are incorporated into the iDrive system and its dashtop display. Like all of its type, it turns the engine off when you reach a stop and starts it as you come off the brake pedal in order to save fuel. After setting an appointment with the local dealer a day in advance, I dropped the car off in the morning and picked up a complimentary loaner -- a new and rather powerful X3 xDrive35i. That would seem to give an edge to the gas model, but the diesel proved to be a torquey little wonder that provided perfectly adequate pull.