February 2, 2013
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It seems as though my BMW 328i xDrive has developed some rattles (in the dash area) on rough roads, that is a little unfortunate and so “un-German” really. So far this is the only negative I have witnessed — today was full of positives for the 328i as I was able to finally test the auto start/stop functionality.
In a hybrid the engine will typically shutdown before coming to a complete stop, as a result the vibrations felt during the shutdown process are minimized considerably. But because the 328i is not a hybrid it must wait until the vehicle is completely stopped before shutting the engine down. From what I could tell with the three times it occurred the car actually has to come to a complete stop for at least a 1..2..3 count before killing the engine.
When the shutdown does happen there is a slight vibration as the pistons come to a stop, just like when you shut off the car to park it. But lift your foot off the brake and before you can get it to the accelerator the engine is back up and running. A few days of driving with this system and you will completely forget it exists and just enjoy its benefits.
As for the rest of the drive the 328i, like its forefathers, is a well balanced machine. Out on the icy roads, on Tuesday night, the all-wheel drive system, coupled with the low centre of gravity and near perfect weight distribution offered up a sense of stability and comfort.
Hit an off-ramp a little too fast for your comfort and don’t worry, just hang on — even with winter tires the 328i is balanced and can corner quicker than most drivers would care to endure. Out on the highway and around town the vehicle is quiet, isolating the sounds outside from the passengers inside.
If you do step out of the vehicle for a moment you may notice the 2.0-litre engine sounds somewhat like a diesel — it sounds rough and certainly not buttery smooth like the I6 engine it replaces.