2012 BMW 328i Sport
2012 BMW 328i Sport
2012 BMW 328i Sport. Click image to enlarge

This was the second week in a row I was driving a BMW with its auto start-stop system, and the second week in a row I was disturbed by its coarseness. When the engine turns off at a stoplight, the car has a mild shudder. This being a manual shifter, pushing the clutch in and moving the shifter into gear restarts the engine. I was a little shocked the first time it happened in the manual 328i — as I moved the shifter to the left, it vibrated in my palm and kind freaked me out… I mean, we’d just met and all, so it seemed a little frisky to be getting as familiar as a palm massage that soon. As the week went on, though, I got used to it and even started to like it (hey, it felt kinda’ nice…). But don’t worry, if you’re not into that sort of thing, the auto start-stop function is defeatable by pressing a button under the ignition button.

Finally, as with any vehicle I drive, I had to install my daughter’s child safety seat, and the contoured rear buckets were a perfect fit for my front-facing seat. The latches were easy to find, access, and secure, the seat belt buckles tucked into custom slots, and despite some initial struggles raising the headrest, the top tether anchor was relatively easy to reach. And I’m not sure if it was a coincidence of the body colour, but the top tether anchors matched the bright red exterior. It’s a small thing, but you know what they say about the details… BMW seems to have gotten all the details right.

2012 BMW 328i Sport
2012 BMW 328i Sport. Click image to enlarge

At $43,600, the 328i isn’t cheap, and by BMW standards, the $7,000 of options were modest. One could question the value proposition of such a steep price of entry on a four-cylinder luxury car, but BMW will soon have its $35,900 320i to compete for bean counters and comparison shoppers. However, there is no doubt in my mind that BMW won’t be running out of takers for this car with this engine at this $52,745 price (or the much more easily justified monthly payment), and it’s well worth it. Personally I’d skip some of the packages and options, but that is the choice BMW gives you when ordering or configuring your car, so you can order up to the price you can afford.

Come back in a couple weeks for more on the 3 Series as we will review the 335i Luxury and the 328i in Modern trim with the eight-speed auto in the coming weeks.

Pricing: 2012 BMW 328i Sport

Base price: $43,600
$4,300 — Premium Package $3,500 (alarm, comfort access, auto-dimming mirrors, cargo pass-through, park distance control, navigation); Executive Package $1,600 (universal remote, backup camera, 600-watt Harman/Kardon sound system w/ nine-channel equalizer and 16 speakers); BMW Apps $300 (smartphone integration); sport suspension $400; Sirius satellite radio tuner $450; Metallic paint $800
A/C tax:
Price as tested:

Buyer’s Guide: 2012 BMW 3 Series

Buyer’s Guide: 2012 Audi A4/S4
Buyer’s Guide: 2012 Infiniti G

Buyer’s Guide: 2012 Lexus IS

Buyer’s Guide: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Buyer’s Guide: 2012 Volvo S60

Crash test results
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

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