Test Driven: 2010 BMW 328i Sedan

February 15, 2010
You can really tell a lot about the depth and breadth of quality in an automobile by testing the most basic model. If that version impresses without the benefit of all the optional "ooh-aah" gizmos and high powered engines then there can be little doubt left in your mind that it is a great car. Such a vehicle is the 2010 BMW 328i sedan.

Starting at $33,150, the 2010 328i sedan doesnt seem to promise much in the power department with a pretty average for the class 230 horsepower and 200 pound feet of torque. Fuel economy figures, however, do impress with 19 city/28 highway EPA ratings putting the 328i near the top of the class. But you cant ever really put a perspective on what vehicle is truly class leading until you actually drive the darn thing.

Feeling far more powerful in real life than the numbers suggest, the 3.0 liter straight six sings a melodious concerto as it zooms up and down the rev range. This engine shows that BMW has the technical task of engineering an automobile refined to true art. Steering feel is taut and the handling gets more planted and precise the faster you are driving. It is all too easy finding yourself going 90 miles per hour down the street in this bad boy.

Top speed, however, is governed to 130 miles per hour and 0-60 with the automatic comes in 6.9 seconds according to the manufacturer. Although the 328i feels faster than those numbers suggest there is no denying that the brake pedal in this 3 is firm and easy to modulate affording this luxury sedan very short stopping distances.

Although the BMW 328i isnt the biggest family sedan out there it still has plenty of legroom and space for four passengers (five in a pinch) and a trunk big enough to handle a trip to Costco. The trunk may only measure 12 cubic feet (about average) but it is nicely sized to handle bulky cargo.

Do keep in mind, however, that folding rear seats are optional in the 328i so be sure to tick that box if you carry long loads often. If you dont carry big loads often don't order the folding seats as it actually decreases the torsional rigidity of the vehicle which could have an impact on handling and how well it would perform in a crash.

There is a reason why the BMW 3-series is constantly named as either the best luxury sedan or one of the best vehicles ever built. Period. The 2010 BMW 328i somehow manages to balance precise driving pleasure with just enough utility to make it pass muster as a family sedan. And besides, just because you have a family doesnt mean you cant still have fun behind the wheel of your family car.

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