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2014 BMW 328d xDrive Wagon Long-Term Update 1

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/15/2014 Carlos Lago, Motor Trend Staff
2014 BMW 328d xDrive Wagon© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Wagon

While driving the 328d, I sometimes wonder about BMW's longstanding ad tag line. Just how is a diesel wagon supposed to be an ultimate driving anything? Even more curious: Why do I enjoy driving it so much?

2014 BMW 328d xDrive© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 BMW 328d xDrive

It's puzzling, because driving the 328d involves none of the things you'd typically associate with thrilling driving: massive power, screaming exhaust, power slides, and so on. I actually enjoy driving it slowly, just tooling around town with that huge sunroof open. It seems more appropriate.

2014 BMW 328d xDrive© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 BMW 328d xDrive

Quick, it isn't. Sure, the turbo 2.0-liter makes 280 lb-ft, but it's saddled with power-sapping all-wheel drive and 3901 pounds of car. Yet, the delivery of that torque -- a sweet surge starting around 2000 rpm -- at part throttle is pleasant in traffic, and it makes the powertrain feel stronger than it is. Everyone who's ridden passenger in it has been impressed with the power.

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It doesn't sing while it revs, but nor is the diesel sound ugly or intrusive. For a while I thought the clatter at idle was the car's big tell. I later walked by an idling gas-drinking 328i, and the clatter from its direct injection system sounded about the same.

You wouldn't expect a wagon to yearn for apexes and lap times, but the 328d enjoys corners. The ride makes a happy compromise between soft and stiff, and the dampers control most impacts well. Toggling Sport or Sport+ modes increases the stiffness, but ultimately feels superfluous. While I haven't driven a 328d equipped with all-season tires, it's easy to credit the Bridgestone summer tires for good steering response and road behavior. (We'll try a different set during our ownership.)

Two of the best driving attributes are inside the car: The seats and steering wheel. The $3850 M Sport package upgrades them both, and that money is well spent. The seats are comfortable, supportive, and offer a nice range of adjustments. They seem like the kind of seat that won't fatigue you during a long drive. The steering wheel feels great, too. The materials are nice to touch, and the controls are easy to use.

Combined, we have a good-looking car that drives pleasantly, with an enjoyable powertrain and nice tools in the interior with which to pilot it. "Ultimate" may be a touch hyperbolic, but the driving experience of this machine can be can enjoyed every day, even if it's just to the office.

More on our long-term 2014 BMW 328d xDrive Wagon:

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