2013 BMW 328i xDrive
2013 BMW 328i xDrive. Click image to enlarge

First Drive: 2013 Cadillac ATS
First Drive: 2012 BMW 328i Modern
Test Drive: 2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300
Test Drive: 2013 Audi A4 Premium Plus

2013 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro vs BMW 328i xDrive vs Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic

Manufacturer’s web site
BMW Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2013 BMW 3 Series

This sixth-generation 2013 BMW 3 Series seems to be causing a bit of a kerfuffle amongst those devotees who worship at the altar of “Three”. And the press is somewhat divided too.

So what’s the issue? In a nutshell, this iconic compact luxury sports sedan, which essentially wrote the book on melding superior driving dynamics with four-door utility, and has been the runaway benchmark for decades, has backed off on its mandate to be the sharpest tool in the shed. It’s gotten bigger, a little softer and the base engine has gone from the classic creamy BMW straight-six to a more fuel efficient 2.0L turbo-four.

Is it any less desirable? Personally, I’d snag the previous-gen 335i in a heartbeat, but after a week in this all-wheel-drive four-banger, I’m convinced BMW knows exactly what it’s doing. It’s a terrific car—better in many ways. After all, the 3 Series accounts for almost a third of BMW sales worldwide, so it is doubtful the folks in Munich are going to shoot themselves in the foot.

2013 BMW 328i xDrive
2013 BMW 328i xDrive. Click image to enlarge

This Mineral White Metallic 2013 BMW 328i xDrive arrives with a base price of $46,200. With this we get BMW’s 241-hp, 258 lb-ft direct injection TwinPower 2.0L turbo mated to an excellent ZF eight-speed auto, all-wheel-drive and Driving Dynamics Control, which gives four modes (EcoPro, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus) that alter throttle response, steering effort and shift patterns of the auto box. Also included are xenon headlights, 18-inch multi-spoke alloys and 9-speaker audio.

This new 3 has a softer, more conservative look – I still have a hard time telling it from the 5 Series at first glance. And from the 7 Series for that matter. The interior is rich, beautifully crafted, and in this tester’s Saddle Brown Dakota Leather looked exceptionally inviting.

Plunk yourself into the terrific front seats and you’ll wonder why all manufacturers can’t arrive at this magical combination of comfort and support. Reach up and you’ll find a chunky BMW steering wheel to fill your palms. So far, so good.

Turn the key and the engine jumps to life and clatters like a diesel tractor. What the… ? Dorothy, we’re not in straight-six land anymore. Give it time to warm up and things improve markedly.

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