BMW refreshed its 3 Series for 2016, and the 328d xDrive Sport Wagon continues on as a driver’s car with elegance and efficiency aplenty.
Changes for the 2017 328d are minimal – even its $100 price increase is negligible. So if you’re wanting a 328d xDrive on the cheap, check out your local dealers for end-of-model-year deals.
Although “cheap” is probably not the word to use with the 328d xDrive Sport Wagon. It has the usual BMW feel of exceptional quality, and the 328d’s pricing is firmly premium. There are many excellent cars and crossovers and SUVs you could buy for the near-$62K price of our 328d test car, but few would have this 328d’s wagon-chicness.
We’re stopping short of calling the tested 328d xDrive Sport Wagon truly fun to drive, for a reason we’ll explain forthwith. But on the whole, this 3 Series’ responses were balanced and satisfying.
Fun to drive is of course in the eye of the beholder, and there’s a lot to like here. The 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder engine’s strong low-end torque keeps it feeling nimble around town.
The 328d xDrive will then run a like a freight train down the highway – one can imagine it being a terrific commuter, especially with the diesel‘s impressive 40-mpg EPA highway rating.
That’s six more than the gas-powered (with premium required) 328i xDrive Sport Wagon’s rating of 34, and it places the 328d xDrive in the enviable place of reaching the coveted highway rating of 40 while being equipped with all-wheel drive.
The fly in the ointment is BMW’s electric steering. For longtime BMW enthusiasts and owners like your writer, this is a particular disappointment. BMW’s hydraulic steering was once unrivaled, with open communication and a predictable buildup of resistance.
But this electric steering unit isn’t interested in much beyond keeping the driver isolated from the proceedings, and it frustratingly dings the 328d xDrive Sport Wagon’s fun factor. I noted this in my review of 428i Gran Coupe, and the same is the case in the tested 328d xDrive Sport Wagon. C’mon, BMW, fix this.
Otherwise, this 328d xDrive Sport Wagon presented itself with substance and elegance. The front Sport Seats are included with the $3,100 M Sport Package, and they’re as buckety and supportive as you’d expect, although we thought it was curious that the lumbar support came separately through the $1,700 Premium Package.
The 328d xDrive Sport Wagon’s rear seat is clearly compact-sized, with 35.0 inches of legroom. That’s just enough for six-footers. The seat is comfortably shaped, and unlike some closed-in crossovers, the view out from back there is wide-open.
The cargo area is deeply carpeted, and its 27.5-cubic-foot measurement opens up space enough for a good-sized Costco run. Fold down the seatbacks, and that number grows to 61.5 cubic feet.
So the tested 328d xDrive Sport Wagon impressed in many ways – of course, adding nearly $20K in options will do that to a car. If you’re looking for a premium experience in a car with extra practicality, the 328d xDrive Sport Wagon is worth a look, and what feels like isolated steering to this automotive journalist might feel like something else to you. But we’re holding out hope that BMW will infuse the 3 Series’ tiller with the substance the rest of the car reflects.