Review and photos by Paul Williams

Our latest long-term test car at is this BMW 3 Series diesel.

It’s been a long time coming, with BMW in North America cautiously moving toward diesel car introduction in 2009 with the pricier 335d. Now we get to see the type of BMW that’s so common in Europe, and which auto journalists, at least, have continually championed.

The 2014 BMW 328d starts at $47,700, and is only available with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Wagon lovers will be pleased to learn that the Touring wagon is also available with diesel power and xDrive. It starts at $49,350.

2014 BMW 328d xDrive
2014 BMW 328d xDrive . Click image to enlarge

Under the hood, the four-cylinder, direct-injected, 2.0L diesel engine makes 181 hp at 4,000 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque at 1,750–2,750 rpm. The only transmission available is an eight-speed automatic sourced from ZF.

While not as powerful as the no-longer-available 335d with its massive 475 lb-ft torque, the 2.0L diesel will provide lusty acceleration from standstill, and satisfying passing power between 80–120 km/h. And it will do this while returning 6.5/4.5 L/100 km fuel consumption, city/highway, 5.6 L/100 km combined.

So, a desirable luxury brand, available for under $50,000, great power, all-wheel drive, and amazing fuel economy. Sounds ideal!

Standard equipment for this model is generous, including auto-dimming interior mirror, automatic climate control, cruise control, power seats with driver memory, heated front seats, multi-function steering wheel and sunroof.

2014 BMW 328d xDrive
2014 BMW 328d xDrive . Click image to enlarge

Also standard are front fog lights, bi-xenon headlights and auto start/stop function, but as you would expect, a long list of additional extras are available via various packages.

Our $57,545 test car (includes $2,095 freight/PDI and $100 A/C Tax) is equipped with the $4,000 Premium Package that supplies the navigation system, an alarm system, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, comfort (smart key) access, heated steering wheel, rear-view camera, a through loading system, front and rear park distance control and satellite radio.

Additionally, our test car is equipped with the $1,500 Sport Line package (sport auto transmission with paddle shifters, 19-inch alloy wheels and black and red Dakota Leather upholstery). The $1,350 Driver Assistance Package features desirable safety technologies like Lane Departure and Collision Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection and Surround View (support for parking maneuvers in tight spaces). Finally the optional paint choice adds $800 (only Alpine White and Jet Black are “no extra charge”).

There are additional options that could be selected including a head-up display (HUD), heated rear seats, Harman Kardon Surround Sound audio and Active Cruise Control.

Supplementing the fuel-saving potential of the 2014 BMW 328d are auto start/stop technology and the BMW Driving Experience Control with ECO PRO, Comfort and Sport modes. Auto start/stop is a technology that has been available in Europe for several years, but is only now becoming widespread the North American market. Basically, it’s the same type of technology found on hybrid cars where the engine stops at intersections (when you’re at a red light, for instance) then starts as soon as you take your foot off the brake. The car’s convenience (climate control, entertainment) and lighting systems continue to operate, but the dormant engine uses no fuel.

2014 BMW 328d xDrive 2014 BMW 328d xDrive 2014 BMW 328d xDrive
2014 BMW 328d xDrive . Click image to enlarge

According to BMW, the Driving Experience Control with ECO PRO enables the driver to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20-percent, depending on the model and driving style. In ECO PRO mode, says BMW, everything is geared toward maximum fuel efficiency. “Pedal recognition, gear recognition and the best point at which to change gear are optimized and the heating and air conditioning strategy is adapted intelligently.”

The “Bonus Range Display” in the on-board computer shows how much further you were able to drive in ECO PRO mode, so it will be interesting to see if you can really get even better fuel economy given the 328d’s already excellent estimates. An upcoming 1,000-km weekend trip will put this to the test.

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