The hunt is on for your next new car and you want to be “in the know.” You’ve decided that a luxury, high-performance car is going to be yours and German-engineering is important, so the field has been narrowed to BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. We’ve previously discussed all the benefits of buying Audi, so now it’s time to explore whether or not BMW is actually your “Ultimate Driving Machine.”
BMW has multiple class options, including a sedan and SUV, but we are focusing on the mid-point level of the 3-series. It is a strong contender in terms of body style options, expanding diversity within the class in late 2013 with two brand new models, the sport wagon and the Gran Turismo 5-door hatchback. The 3-series offers 4 different models with only slight visual differentiation, but with the engine options, the combinations exceed 12+. BMW has a distinctive sporty look and the front, split-center grill highlighted by the signature checkerboard emblem is a sight all will recognize. Driving a BMW isn’t just about the car, it also carries the feeling of being a part of the “it” club.
The conversation about BMW engines could go on for days, but we are going to try and highlight the key points. According to Left Lane News, the standard offering is an 8-speed automatic with rear-wheel-drive, but a 6-speed manual with RWD can be chosen on a few select models at no additional cost. The upgraded option of all-wheel-drive “xDrive” is a new offering and it has some menial gas-mileage differences to consider when weighing the added cost. The 320i comes with a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower, 220 lbs/ft of torque and its estimated MPG is 24 city / 36 highway. The 328i upgrades the aforementioned motor with 240 horsepower and 255 lbs/ft or torque and approx 22-23 city / 33-35 highway MPG. Next up is the 328d (diesel) and it offers a 2.0L turbodiesel 4-cylinder with 180 horsepower, 280 lbs/ft of torque and a noteworthy estimated MPG of 32 city / 45 highway. Rounding out the bunch is the 335i with a turbocharged 3.0L straight-6 with 300 horsepower, 300 lbs/ft of torque and 21 city / 31 highway MPG. There is also a new gas-electric model, the ActiveHybrid 3, which has a combined (gas and electric) 3.0L inline-6, 335 horsepower and 332 lbs/ft of torque with 25 city / 33 highway MPG. While the hybrid handles superbly in comparison to other hybrids on the road, making it seem like a solid option, the steep added cost with only moderate MPG for a hybrid, should give you pause in contemplating it’s true cost-savings over time.
As with other lines, as the “grade” of model increases, so do the standard features. The 320i offers leatherette upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 6.5-inch display screen, iDrive, Bluetooth and 17-inch alloy wheels, to name a few. The 328 line adds a few more like 8-way power seats and a rearview camera and the 335i rounds things out with a sunroof, adaptive/auto-leveling xenon headlights, auto high-beams and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Finding a premium service provider to maintain your BMW is a top priority. With so many engine options and potential issues, you want to know that the technicians working on your BMW have the knowledge and experience to get the job done right. Auto Works of Brandon is an ASE Blue Seal Shop of Excellence and has received the Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2014. All of our technicians are BMW-certified and will provide the premium service and maintenance that the BMW brand demands. As one of the top-rated BMW service providers in the Tampa Bay area, you can trust that we will keep your BMW performing as your “Ultimate Driving Machine.”