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2013 BMW 3 Series

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
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Loaded with extras and luxury, this week’s tester is far removed from last week’s people hauler. This week I take the all-new 2013 BMW 328i xDrive for a test drive in the snow, slush and freezing rain that is scheduled.

If you have not been keeping up with BMW’s latest changes, you may be shocked to learn that the 328i no longer offers a naturally aspirated inline-six-cylinder engine — but instead is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder plant.

Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
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Striving to achieve great fuel economy while still offering the smooth and refined power delivery of the inline-six is the challenge that BMW was facing. The new four-cylinder is a 2.0-litre powerplant that offers 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

This is coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission that keeps the engine in the proper torque range while offering improved fuel efficiency. The new 328xi also comes equipped with the somewhat controversial auto stop/start function. This system switches off the engine when the vehicle stops temporarily and thus avoids unnecessary fuel consumption.

My tester is loaded with the Premium package and more and includes features such as: Navigation, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, premium leather seating, lane departure warning system, active blind spot detection, park distance control system, dual-zone climate control and more.

MSRP as tested (including destination): $52,950

For more information on BMW and the 3 Series visit BMW Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
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Despite the redesigned 3 Series for 2013, a lot of things stay the same inside the 328i, and as well they should as BMW has certainly not been hurting and it’s not like their interiors needed a complete overhaul.

It is interesting to note that when mainstream manufacturers redesign a model, changes seem to be drastic with completely new driver interfaces, while in the luxury segment, changes seem to be evolutionary and minor — a tweak here and a tweak there. If you currently are a BMW owner you will be right at home in this new vehicle.

Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
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One of the biggest changes is the extra interior volume that gives passengers more legroom, especially in the rear. But this is still a small car and I find that getting in and out of the rear seats to be a little difficult as they are low and the roofline tight.

Another noticeable change is the infotainment system (iDrive) — at the centre of the system is a large 6.5-inch display that is situated just about the HVAC and radio controls. This is not a touchscreen, but is controlled by the joystick type dial situated in the centre console. The system works well; it is very quick to respond, and although the navigation system is a little slow to boot, once it is up and running it is quick to find addresses and provide route guidance.

The optional 40/20/40 rear folding seats in my tester are also a welcome addition — the 335i models offer this as standard, and i think it should be standard on all models. This configuration certainly makes carrying longer cargo a breeze and offers options if you have four occupants.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
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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.

Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw

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.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
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Well I was hoping for a little better fuel consumption than I ended up averaging this week. But I suppose I have to give this car some slack as it is winter and it does have all-wheel drive, which adds weight and increases fuel consumption. Over the week I averaged 9.1 L/100 km but a lot of that was highway driving.

I did sit and idle for about thirty minutes after a hockey game, waiting to get out of the parking lot. But after dropping to 9.1 L/100 km the onboard computer fluctuated higher at times so in the end that was averaged out of the equation anyways.

The big question here is if you should buy a 328i or a 335i, and although the 335i most definitely has more power, this new 2.0-litre plant is plenty powerful for all but the hard-core enthusiast and would not leave many people wanting for more.

2013 BMW 328i xDrive
Acceleration Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
Handling Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
Comfort Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
Interior Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
Audio System Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
Gas Mileage Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw
Overall Day by Day Review: 2013 BMW 328i xDrive car test drives daily car reviews bmw

*Rating based on vehicle’s classification
MSRP as tested (including destination): $52,150

For more information on BMW and the 3 Series visit BMW Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter




About James Bergeron

James Bergeron is an Ottawa-based automotive journalist. James holds a national FIA race license and actively races and stewards at race events.