The 3-Series has been the yardstick to measure the performance quotient of all executive sedans with sporty aspirations. The 328i Sport, which comes with a brawny TwinPower Turbo four-banger mated to an 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission, gets you two cars for the price of just one – a powerful ‘cornering genius’ that can satisfy serious performance junkies and a sufficiently tractable, feature-laden luxury sedan that can tackle the grind of daily commute. The current generation 3-Series has had accusations of being more focused on luxury than sportiness but there’s still enough that sets apart the 328i from most other cars in its segment. It is here, in this BMW 328i Sport review, where we’ll talk about our rendezvous with an ‘Imperial Blue Brilliant Effect’ 328i that helped us reacquaint ourselves with the sporty-yet-comfortable cars that Bimmers have always been.
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Design & Styling
The 3-Series sedan, over the years, has been successfully showcasing not just the sporting capabilities but also the aesthetic appeal of BMW. While the latest generation 3-Series is longer, wider and taller than its predecessor, it still manages to look as athletic and elegant. The wedge-like silhouette and a wide track go on to play a key role in accentuating the sportiness of this Bimmer’s design and there’s enough to stop people dead in their tracks and shower admiring glances.
The Sport line brings to the 3’er many new bits that emphasise the dynamic form of the 3-Series. The front-end gets some interesting details such as eight well-contoured black slats for each of the two parts of the kidney grille. The revised front bumper features black inserts that make the air intakes look larger which, in turn, bestow a sporty and alert look to the car’s nose.
Complimenting the athletic looks of this car are the very tasty double-spoke 18-inch lightweight mag wheels that come shod with 225/45-spec rubber and are exclusive to the Sport line. There is high-gloss black finish for the B-pillar and the window-line. Some black trim for the rear, along with tailpipe embellishment rounds off the updates for the exterior.
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Step inside the BMW 328i Sport and you are greeted with a very stylish cabin that comes draped in black. Thanks to the ‘Sport’ credentials, the 328i (fortunately) misses out on beige with wood combo and instead gets contrasting black and red accents to further spice things up.
The sportiness quotient of the cabin is further enhanced by the the red trim rings, red stitching on the upholstery and some brushed aluminium accents. Further underlining the sporting ambience of the cabin are small details such as the calibration for the tacho, which starts with a ‘Ready’! (Now, how cool is that!)
Engine & Performance
Think again if you ever thought that the 3-Series has got tamer! Powering the 328i Sport is a new-generation 2.0-litre, four-cylinder gasoline engine that is force-fed by a twin-scroll turbocharger to cough up 245 healthy horses and 350 units of torque in the Newton measurement system. This brand-new four-cylinder engine pays homage to the origins of the 3’er – it was with high-strung four-bangers that 3-Series was born back in the 70s. The latest turbo’ed motor, in line with the athletic character of the BMW mid-sizer, offers a healthy power/torque output, responsive acceleration, a high rpm ceiling and relatively low fuel consumption. The engine benefits from BMW’s TwinPower Turbo machinery, which comprises of modern-day technologies like twin-scroll turbocharging, direct injection, double-vanos variable camshaft timing and variable valve timing. Mated to this new-age engine is an equally modern 8-speed Sport automatic transmission that is, again, exclusive to the 328i Sport model.
On the move, the 328i feels as vigorous as the numbers on the spec-sheet suggest it to be. Select the ‘Sport’ mode and this car will be rather quick to laugh at your presumptions of the 328i being a no-nonsense luxury car. Going by the company figures, the 328i Sport can dismiss 100 km/h from standstill in just 5.9 secs and go on to hit an electronically-nannied top whack of 250 km/h. However, what the manufacturer doesn’t tell you is the way this car enjoys an almost linear power delivery and charges forward with ferocious velocity.
Ride & Handling
Akin to its predecessors, the sixth generation 3-Series too excels in terms of dynamism. Underpinning this core value is an avant-garde chassis that benefits from usage of lightweight components. The engineers at BMW have made good use of sophisticated axle kinematics and a steering system that has a precision of Swiss clockworks. In ‘Sport’ mode, the steering weighs up pretty well with the speeds and offers sufficient feedback. Also, a rear wheel drive (RWD) layout ensures that there’s no torque steer. Lest we forget, the ride quality is pretty good too. True, those bigger wheels and the lower profile tires have resulted into a slightly firm ride, but drive the car in ‘Comfort’ mode and the occupants, on most occasions, won’t really have a reason to complain. The 3’er has never offered the proverbial ‘magic carpet’ ride and the 328i is no different in this aspect. But a slightly harsh ride is only a small trade-off for unparalleled corner-carving prowess, no?
The F30 does feel a lot more accomplished than the old 3-Series. The current generation model has improved substantially in almost all the areas, which is saying a lot when you consider that the old 3’er was the benchmark in its segment. And this car is exactly what the skeptics should look at! For starters, the 328i Sport is almost blisteringly quick, but is pretty fuel-efficient too. And then, there’s the brilliant drive-mode selection switch, which allows you to switch between a cossetting family sedan and its sportier, sinister twin at the touch of a button. Also, the 328i carries enough visual updates to compliment all those sporty yearnings. Yes, we do feel that the ride in the ‘Comfort’ mode could have been a tad more plush, but one minor grouse apart, there’s a lot going for this Bimmer. The 328i Sport sits rather comfortably between the economical and the plush 320d, and the totally bonkers M3. Best of both the worlds? You said it!
So, what do you have to say about our BMW 328i Sport review here? Do share your views by penning them down in the comments section below and do stay tuned for more such reviews.