The accomplished design and engineering team at BMW can add yet another notch in the proverbial gun-belt; this time for the innovative new 2014 BMW 328i. It seems as though a major consumer research magazine has recognized this model as the best sports sedan for 2014. Not surprisingly, the 328i claimed the award ahead of such worthy contenders as the Audi A4, Cadillac ATS, the Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the Infiniti Q50. The 2014 Best Sports Sedan award is based on an overall rating for safety, performance, efficiency, reliability, appearance, and resale value.
Sure, the 2014 328i looks a lot like your typical 3-Series BMW but if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. This exterior styling has been winning consumer’s hearts and wallets for generations. A long, sloping front end with dual kidney shaped grilles, deeply etched lines, and snarling lower air dam provide the lightning for this Beemer’s thunder. It offers a wide stance and low center of gravity for added curb appeal, as well as improved driving performance. 17-inch alloy wheels are standard, as are automatic Xenon headlights, fog lights, and automatic windshield wipers.
In typical BMW fashion, the interior is immaculate. The eight-way power adjustable seating is stylishly done in your choice of leather or leatherette surfaces that are firm yet comfortable, even on long journeys. Premium wood trim adds a touch of classic styling to the modern interior that features a 6.5-inch LCD monitor with Bluetooth capability, premium audio, and the BMW iDrive electronics interface. A leather wrapped steering wheel with tilting and telescoping steering column, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, and a trip computer are also among the numerous amenities on-board.
Safety plays a big role in winning this prestigious award and BMW is on the cutting edge. The 328i is outfitted with electronic stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, and front knee airbags. Safety features which likely put the 328i over the top include an automated braking system which uses tiny wipers to brush away moisture from brake rotors, during rainy weather conditions, and pre-positions brake pads in the cradle for optimum braking efficiency whenever the driver suddenly releases the accelerator pedal. A front and rear view camera, lane departure warning system, mitigated braking system, blind spot monitoring system, and parking sensors are also available as optional equipment. A driver assistance package adds a driver drowsiness monitor, as well as additional speedometer data and alerts.
The engine is a fuel efficient DOHC turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that utilizes direct fuel injection to achieve 240-horsepower while putting up some pretty impressive fuel efficiency numbers. The 328i gets 23 mpg city/35 mpg highway while sprinting to a class leading 0 to 60 mph time of 5.9-seconds. An eight-speed shiftable automatic transmission sends power to the rear-wheels, although the X-Drive all-wheel drivetrain is also available as optional equipment.
The MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension systems yield comfortably athletic handling. For those who demand a more aggressive approach, the optional Dynamic Handling Package adds the sportier suspension of the M-Sport line with electronically variable ratio steering.