2014 BMW 328d – Review and Road Test
When BMW unveiled the new 3 Series sedan to the world 18 months ago, a white diesel 320d EfficientDynamics Edition, led the way as model after model was paraded in front of thousands of cheering employees at the factory in Munich. When BMW launched the 3 Series in the U.S., however, something was missing. The U.S. arm of the Bavarian automaker introduced two gasoline-powered sedans, a 328i and a 335i – but no diesel, despite the 335d having played a prominent role in the previous generation’s lineup.
BMW introduced the 3 Series back in 1975 and, since then, it has consistently set the standard for sports sedans. Indeed, the 3 Series is the most recognizable and most widely sold BMW and the new model continues the tradition that started almost 40 years ago.
But back to the case of the missing diesel. Despite the onslaught of diesel offerings from Ingolstadt, Sindelfingen, Stuttgart, and Wolfsburg, BMW has had one solitary diesel, the BMW X5 xDrive35d, in its lineup for the past 15 months. Fortunately, this is changing effective immediately.
At the 2013 New York International Auto Show, BMW unveiled the new 328d sedan to an appreciative audience. BMW will also offer a 328d wagon as well as a 5 Series 6-cylinder diesel-powered sedan. A few weeks prior to the unveiling, BMW invited The Diesel Driver to spend the better part of a day with a pre-production model of the 328d.
COMPARING THE BMW 328D TO ITS SIBLINGS
It’s important to note that, with the exception of the badge on the rear deck, the BMW 328d is the visual twin to the BMW 328i. Under the hood, however, it’s a completely different story.
The BMW 328d is powered by a TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine that develops 180 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. To make a comparison to the other models in the 3 Series lineup, which has grown considerably from two last year to five this year, easier (for the sake of simplicity, xDrive models have been omitted), we’ve prepared a table summarizing the differences and included the previous-generation BMW 335d and European-spec 320d for completeness.
The new 328d is the clear winner when it comes to fuel economy. Although EPA figures aren’t yet available, early estimates are low 30s for city driving and mid 40s for highway.
While it has the same horsepower and far more torque than the 320i, it is still 0.1 second behind in going from a standstill to 60 mph (96 km/h). The 328i, which gets around the same fuel economy on the highway that the 328d will get in town, produces 240 horses, less torque, yet can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds. The speed demons of the group, the ActiveHybrid 3 and the 335i, are more or less identical. Both get 25 mpg in the city and 33 highway and both do 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds.