2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo: Family Review Checklist

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The 2014 BMW 328i Gran Turismo can be quite a tease for parents. It's an all-new hatchback variation on the 3 Series sedan. Its body style brings an added element of ease to families, and the increased cargo room and rear legroom is nothing to scoff at either.

For people who enjoy BMW's 3 Series sedan, the 328i GT could be the next practical step for them once kids enter the picture.

As I started formulating my pros and cons list for the Gran Turismo, I found it to be almost tit for tat. Drive experience? Pro. Fuel economy? Con. Cargo area space? Pro. Personal storage space? Con. For everything I loved about it, there seemed to be a counterpart I found ridiculous. And then, of course, there's its biggest family obstacle: the price. The 328i xDrive Gran Turismo I tested came with a $55,500 price tag.

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Actually, the GT's price wasn't as surprising as what didn't come with it. I was shocked to learn there wasn't a backup camera in my test car. However, following right on the coattails of my displeasure came my adoration for the head-up display. I loved using it with the car's navigation feature; the turn arrows and instructions were projected right in front of me. I really missed that feature once my time with the GT was over.

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The most pleasant surprise was the cabin is so much roomier than the 3 Series sedan. The Gran Turismo offers 39.2 inches of rear legroom; that's 4.1 inches more than the sedan's 35.1.

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All that rear legroom makes car-seat installation easier, too. The 328i GT has two sets of easy-to-use Latch anchors. They sit behind flip-up plastic covers. My daughter's forward-facing convertible fit well in the GT's backseat, and rear-facing car seats will fare much better in it than in the sedan.

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The hatchback's cargo area is also larger and offers 18.4 cubic feet of space behind the backseat; the 3 Series sedan's trunk has 13.0 cubic feet. There's 56.5 cubic feet of cargo space when the GT's 40/20/40-split folding rear seats are down, but if you can't lose a seat, there are large storage compartments underneath the cargo floor.

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The 328i GT has a 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that gets an EPA-estimated 22/33/26 mpg city/highway/combined. I wasn't pleased with the 17.2 mpg I averaged with a week of city driving, and just as you'd expect from any high-performance vehicle, it requires premium gasoline.

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Personal storage in the cabin is a disappointment, too. The center console is laughably small. The front-row cupholders worked overtime to hold my keys, smartphone and sunglasses. This wreaked havoc during my late afternoon caffeine fixes when my stuff got displaced after a trip through the drive-through.

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I was impressed by BMW's iDrive system with a touchpad on its knob controller. Using my finger, I was able to write on the touchpad to enter numbers and letters into the navigation system and to program radio stations and frequent locations for the preset buttons.

The BMW 328i Gran Turismo has a lot to offer families, but the pros equal the cons — rather than outweighing them.

Related
2014 BMW Gran Turismo: First Look
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Comments 

Jay

The $55,000 price tag for this model should overshadow any pro it has to offer even if you buy or lease.

KY

I wonder why the 3 or 5 Series GT is not offered with diesel engines...

a

According to the list, the 2nd row seatbacks don't fold down. But later a 40/20/40 split folding seat is mentioned. ????

Great car, but why all BMW's look almost the same inside?

Chip

I spec'd, ordered and received a 328i GT with the M package and it was under $55,000.00. I could have been under $50,000 if I skipped the M sport and Dynamic handling packages.
The back-up camera is part of an option package but all of the dealer cars I test drove had it onboard. In the long run the back-up camera is worth more than the heads up display (and cheaper). The rear seats do flip down. In fact they have handles to flip them from the tailgate area; very well designed.
My real world MPG is 24.9 for the first 1500 miles. This is split between comfort and sport mode.
I do acknowledge there is not as much storage that my Acura TL had but I have yet to "reload" my new car with all the junk I stashed in the TL. I guess I really did need it.

Maugha

I purchased the 328i GT two months ago and love it. Since I work with young children, the latch anchors are a must, but having grown children, the extra space in the rear seating makes the ride very comfortable for my 6;2" sons. The back seat does fold down with easy latches in the trunk area that is easy for me to use being disabled. I had a 2007 525i with an inline 6 cylinder engine. Although this is a 4-cylinder, it has more power than my 525i did by far.

The personal storage space is too small and it is hard to see in your blind spot when looking to the right. Those are the only two things I found wrong with this car. Also, my BMW dealer was fantastic in working a deal with me that I could afford on my soon to be fixed income.

I absolutely love this car and fall in love with it more every day.

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