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2014 BMW 328i xDrive GT First Impressions

Don't call it a wagon By ,

Monticello, NY - I’ve got to hand it to BMW, where the 3 Series is concerned, high fives are due. Where the 5 Series wagon got flushed for all the wrong reasons, the 3 gets more than its fair share of all of the spoils.

My heart sank when the 3 GT was announced and unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show. I was slightly relieved upon further inspection at the Palexpo when I noticed that the 5 GT’s bloating had gone. In fact, the 3 Series Gran Turismo is actually quite handsome by comparison.

The sad truth is that this is not a station wagon and that it’s kinda better cause it’s not a wagon. Now, I’m not talking for myself, but instead for the buying public looking for everything the 3 Series has to offer, but with more trunk space. The happy truth is that the 3 GT will likely find much favour with those who find the X1 to be too beluga-like and not BMW enough. I like it. Sadly.

What is a BMW 328i xDrive GT?
The Gran Turismo is not a SUV, a CUV, a wagon or even a hatchback. It is a little of all of these body styles. While the 5 GT is a near complete physical mess, the 3 GT is close enough aesthetically to the 3 which is bar none the most famous and revered line of Bimmers of all time.

The 2014 BMW 328i GT is meant to be an alternative to the family vehicle with a larger trunk complemented by a rear hatch, easing loading of strollers and other family travelling necessities.

2014 BMW 328i xDrive GT Price and Specs
The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive GT has a starting price of $48,990. The 28i designates the presence of the excellent turbocharged 241 horsepower 2.0L 4-cylinder under the bonnet. The 35i gains what remains one of my favourite 6-cylinder engines in the biz: the turbocharged 300-horsepower 3.0L. Its base price is $56,990.

Both versions feature BMW’s rear-wheel biased xDrive AWD system and 8-speed automatic transmission. Brake Energy Regeneration and ECO PRO driving mode ensure maximum energy efficiency from this vehicle.

Packages differ between the US and Canada. For example, my tester sported the M Sport group, however, it is not available here. As best as I can spec it out, my 328i xDrive GT would work out to be a Sport Line with Executive package and tip the price scale at $60,500. The 19” wheels, delivered with the Sport Line in Canada, are the main extra.

Driving the BMW 328i xDrive GT
Taking the keys to a BMW and driving away remains a special event, regardless of the series of letters or numbers that adorn it.

The 2014 BMW 328i xDrive GT quickly makes you forget what it is once underway, that is if there are no kids sitting on the rear bench. This fact proved to be the 2nd biggest selling point for this car. Once in drive, the 4-pot plays nice with plenty of low-end grunt and the plethora of gears manage engine revs for ideal torque delivery.

Always smooth, despite having only 4 cylinders, the engine delivers more than enough power for all driving instances. The ride is much the same. Even with an extra 150 kg (330 lbs), the 3 GT drives with the composure expected of BMW’s bread-and-butter car. As well, no complaints from the peanut gallery where the brakes and steering are concerned.

In fact, the 2014 BMW 328i GT (like the 3 wagon -- gotta stay true to my first love) presents an excellent compromise where dad could go for a spirited drive through the neighboring countryside before picking up the kids from school. This is a win-win situation.

Inside and Out of the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive GT
The “more room without sacrifice” recipe of the 3-series Gran Turismo continues onboard. Passengers, four in ideal conditions, are treated to plenty of elbow and legroom. Up front, the seats do a fantastic job of supporting all members.

The dashboard and its accompanying fit and finish are all presented in typical BMW fashion, with plenty craftsmanship and quality. Ergonomics along with driving position make the BMW a great place to spend many an hour driving.

The 1st biggest selling point for this car -- the main reason for considering this car -- is the larger trunk.

It is this trunk that broke the 5 Series GT’s bodylines. On the 3 Series, BMW was more considerate of the car’s delicate yet powerful lines when they raised the trunk lid and lightly extended the roofline. Although not as attractive (nothing beats the original long roof) as the Touring, the Gran Turismo has grown on me and will likely do the same to all.

Obviously, the Sport Line package with said 19” wheels makes it all better…

Comparing the 2014 BMW 328i GT
The Gran Turismo line at BMW competes with many CUVs and wagons alike. The most obvious are the Audi Allroad, Infiniti QX50, and the upcoming Mercedes GLA-Class.

For my money, I’d always go for the Touring or, in this list, the Allroad. Nothing says brains like a good old station wagon. Discuss.
 

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    2014 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive Gran Turismo
    bmw 3-series 2014
    2014 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive Gran Turismo
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