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Review: 2012 BMW 328i Sedan

Classics  /   /  By Alex Kramer

BMW 328i iDrive

Also much improved is the interior technology. The latest version of the iDrive system, with a 6.5-inch high-res flat-screen display, is actually not a chore to use, especially since the controller is ergonomically well placed, where your right hand naturally wants to rest. The optional Harmon Kardon premium surround sound system is also commendable, punching out clean sound even at high volume levels.

At this point you might be thinking that the new 3 Series is really quite flawless, but unfortunately there are a few missteps. For one, BMW added a start-stop feature that just isn’t executed very well. Pull up to a red light and the engine will turn off to save gas, which sounds nice, but when you lift your foot off the brake the whole car shudders as the engine restarts with an almost shockingly harsh jolt.

2012 BMW 328i

The new exterior design is also sure to generate some detractors. The pinched headlights and extra creases on the hood give the front of the car a more aggressive, almost angry look, but the sides and rear look like they were lifted straight from a 5 Series.

There is also a nagging question of value. The new 3 Series costs a bundle for what is essentially a smallish luxury sedan. When you include all the optional features that most people want, a new 328i sedan will set you back close to $50k. That’s mid-sized luxury sedan territory, and we’re not even talking about the more powerful and expensive 335i.

Still, this is one compelling car, especially if you can restrain yourself when it comes to the options list. A friend recently asked, “What is the best sedan for under $40k?” After giving it some thought, I realized that BMW has done it again, as there is honestly nothing that comes close.

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  1. Bonnie Hernandez June 15, 2012 at 7:12 am Reply

    How good is the performance on this vehicle??? I would love to have this beautiful car..

  2. derek June 15, 2012 at 7:41 am Reply

    Performance is really, really good. As mentioned in the review, BMW engineers did some amazing work extracting a lot out of a twin-turbo 4-cylinder engine and still getting surprisingly good fuel economy numbers. The ride is a little softer than previous generation 3-series, but handling dynamics are still razor sharp. Just be careful when choosing options otherwise the price tag gets inflated awfully fast.

  3. Dave June 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm Reply

    Elegant,and sexy,,,yet sassy enough to tame the wild in me,, the thought of her training me ,, makes me purrrr,, oh Santa. Please read my list now , I just updated it

    • Duchess July 10, 2012 at 5:33 am Reply

      Dave remember to include my name on santas list too lol you might as well finish your xmas with an enchanting climax.

  4. Matt June 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm Reply

    Personally, I was not impressed with the performance on this vehicle. If you want performance in a 3 series, go with the 335i. The technology is amazing though. The eco mode is amazing! The real time performance display is a great feature as well. I personally did not like the engine stop/start when the vehicle comes to a complete stop — however — that option can be turned off. All in all, the vehicle is everything one would expect from BMW — the price, the features, the performance.

  5. r simon July 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm Reply

    r they still using those rotten 20K mile run flat and replace for 1400 bux tires? After 11 BMW’s we are now solid Lexus owners and very happy.

    • Tom July 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm Reply

      Don’t even get me started!!!! We had the same problem. On our 2008 328xi and our 2010 328xi the tires are rotten! Every time we hit the most mild of bumps in the road it sounds like the engine is going to fall out of the car! Its a flat out shame. Eventually they conceded, in the 2008 models, that Bridgestone had a ‘bad batch’ of rubber that they had used for their tires and the compound was mixed improperly. They wouldn’t give us new tires however so after 11,000 miles we just bought new ones from Tire Rack. How does no one mention this! It happened to our cousins as well. So thats 3 for 3 on the 3 328s I know.

  6. Tom July 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm Reply

    Man, the last line of this story really gets me. I can’t figure it out. I personally have a 2010 G37XS Sedan. My father has a 2010 BMW 328xi. I drive them interchangeably as we basically share the cars. It has always been the case that we essentially fight for who is driving the G37. It is more ‘refined’ in virtually every way possible. It is faster, sounds better, has a better stereo, ergonomics are infinitely better… Why do I have to reach so far to roll down the front windows? Why does it feel like I am being birthed when I get out of the car? Why does the standard model come with manual seats? Now the price tag was a bit different on the two. The BMW had only a few basic options and was around 40k. The G37 came with every conceivable option and hit about 42,000k. I could do without a few of the features in the G37 and it would still, in my opinion, be a far better vehicle than the 328xi. The 328 is no slouch, but the G37 is a truly amazing vehicle.

    • Steve July 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm Reply

      I just bought a used 328i and I love the looks, perfromance and handeling of the car. But, I HATE the bone jaring ride I get on these Brigstone run flats, everytime I go over the slightest bump. Has anybody swap another brand of run flats and got a smoother ride by doing so? Of so, what brand tire did the job? Or do I have to buy a non run flat tire to get a smooth ride?

    • RichReg July 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm Reply

      Why does no one mention the tires?
      Easy…the F30 uses the third generation run flat tires, which are a massive improvement over previous run flats. The weight of the wheel and tires is now comparable to standard tires and the road noise and ‘banging’ over bumps is eliminated. If you didn’t know they were run flats you probably could not tell.

  7. Ofelia Serratto July 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm Reply

    was the asking price on this

  8. Ofelia Serratto July 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm Reply

    what is the price $?

    • derek July 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm Reply

      Base price for the 328i sedan is $34,900. We tested the Luxury Line trim optioned with Mojave Metallic paint, premium package, premium sound package, technology package, split fold down rear seat, heated front seats, park distance control, Xenon headlights, BMW apps,BMW Assistant.

      Suggested retail price with destination charge is $49,070.00

      As mentioned by Alex, selecting a few less options helps keep the price down to reasonable levels.

  9. Roshan July 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm Reply

    Wow…. Wish I could have this car!

  10. Grafit July 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm Reply

    The car is excellent.
    Have you any better in this class, and for similar money?

  11. scott July 6, 2012 at 1:00 am Reply

    I had a 540i in 2000. So I may be a little off on the lower models of the BMW’s but, this is just another cheap “I got a beemer” BMW. The 3 series, cross overs, and the z4 are all a waste of your cash. If you want a fast little “more economy car” then you should look at the Genesis 2.0T from Hyundai. If you want a real BMW save your coin and start playing and paying the in 60k range.

    • derek July 6, 2012 at 9:15 am Reply

      @Scott – why are you comparing a $25k sport to a $35k luxury sedan? It would seem the prospective buyers for each car would not consider the other.

      There are a few good alternatives to the 3-series – Infiniti G37, Audi A4, Cadillac CTS – so there is something for everyone.

  12. ВАСЯ ПУПКИН July 6, 2012 at 1:04 am Reply

    Сколько ж она блин стоит?

    • Жора Брусникин July 6, 2012 at 11:50 am Reply

      Ой, Вась, до хрена она стоит. Но мне она нравиться, лучше чем ланос.

  13. Mike July 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm Reply

    I think it’s a good thing that BMW is expanding and trying some new things. Trial and error. One thing that doesn’t work this year will be improved the next. If BMW never tries to push the boundaries and explore new features, they will never find that perfect balance and un matched car that we have come to know of BMW. One step back 3 steps forward. And this new 3 series isnt even a step back.

    • RLF February 17, 2013 at 6:03 am Reply

      Too bad they are all starting to look like Pontiacs so they can sell them to the old people that are the only people with enough money to spend $15k on options.

  14. Alex July 15, 2012 at 9:35 am Reply

    Thanks for all the comments, folks. The almost mythical, often uncritical praise given to BMW products by the automotive press was very much on my mind while reviewing this car. In fact, I really didn’t want to like it, and there are lots of good alternatives in this segment. But in the end, having driven the competition, this is the one I would own. Sure, the G37 is a bit faster, and the A4 has perhaps the better interior, but neither hits all the major criteria nearly as well.

    I didn’t comment on the tires because, as RichReg mentioned, they don’t draw attention to themselves. Grip was more than adequate and noise levels perfectly acceptable.

    Although some entry level BMWs may have seemed a bit low-rent in the past, and I also have not been as impressed with the X3 and X5, the new 328i is very close to the 5 and 7 series in terms of quality. In fact, having tested the Infiniti G25 earlier this year, which did come across as entry-level, the 328i is far more mature and refined by comparison.

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