2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon – Review and Test Drive
The first station wagons (which are called estate cars in the rest of the English-speaking world and Kombis in the German-speaking world), evolved from trucks, not cars, and, in their earliest days, were a status symbol. Indeed, the Chrysler Town and Country wagon was the most expensive car among the automaker’s 1941 offerings.
While the station wagon’s popularity has waned in the U.S. since the mid-1980s following Chrysler’s introduction of the first minivan, they remain popular, however, among enthusiast drivers who want the versatility of a wagon with the handling of a true sports sedan. BMW addresses this need head on with the BMW 328d Sports Wagon, a diesel-powered four-door wagon.
The latest BMW wagon comes on the heels of BMW’s recent introduction of a 3 Series diesel sedan (a 328i wagon was introduced with the launch of the current generation 3 Series). The 328d Sports Wagon carries a slightly higher yet still reasonable $1,500 diesel premium over the gasoline variant. By comparison the 328d sedan costs $1,300 more than the 328i.
While I’ve owned and loved four previous-generation (BMW internal code E90) sedans, with its replacement, the F30, it was a matter of love at first sight. In the same manner, the new wagon is sleeker and has a far greater presence than its predecessor partly due to the increased length but also to a beltline that rises sharply. In mineral grey metallic it was stunning.
As is the case with the sedans the BMW 328d wagon is the visual twin to the BMW 328i, with the exception of the badge on the rear deck. Under the hood, however, it’s a different story.
The BMW 328d Touring is powered by a TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine that develops 180 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. While sedan buyers now have a choice of five powerplants (the 328d, 320i, 328i, 335i, and ActiveHybrid 3), wagon buyers have a choice between two turbo-charged engines, one diesel and one petrol. Both two-liter four-cylinder powerplants are paired to excellent eight-speed automatic transmissions.
The diesel wagon weighs 3,790 pounds (1,719 kilograms), ten pounds more than the petrol variant. The European version of the car, comparable in specifications to what is sold in the States, can accelerate from a standing start to 62 miles per hour (100 km/h) in 7.8 seconds.
By comparison, the European version of the 328i xDrive Touring, also comparable in spec, goes from zero to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds but that speed comes with a penalty: a 30.4% lower highway fuel economy than the diesel.
On the fuel economy front, the 328d wagon is only slightly behind the sedan, with 43 mpg (5.47 l/100 km) on the highway and 31 (7.59) in the city.
The EPA says that a 328d Touring owner will save $2,500 in fuel costs over a five year period compared to the average new vehicle, and the figure would be $3,000 for the owner of a BMW 328d sedan. By comparison, the savings in fuel costs over the same period of time for a BMW ActiveHybrid 3 would only be $1,000.