If you’re looking for a small utilitarian BMW, there isn’t exactly a shortage of choices. The Bavarians can sell you an X1 or X3 crossover, or a 3 Series wagon or (soon) a GT hatchback.
As if that wasn’t confusing enough, BMW is dropping a diesel engine into the 3 Series wagon, which just might be the perfect combination.
Automobile reports that BMW will offer the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four from the new 2014 328d sedan in the wagon. While the sedan will be available with either rear or all-wheel drive, the wagon will only be available with the xDrive all-wheel drive system.
Americans have never been as keen about diesels as Europeans, but their superior fuel economy and stout low-end torque make them ideal in utility vehicles.
That’s what makes the 2014 328d xDrive wagon such a sensible proposition. For owners who need space, want good fuel economy, and don’t live on the Rubicon Trail, this wagon sounds pretty compelling. It’s not a “lifestyle” vehicle, which means it doesn’t come with the compromises of less-optimized cars.
The 3 Series wagon doesn’t come with a crossover’s high driving position, but that means its handling is less compromised.
It’s also infinitely better looking than the bloated 3 Series GT. The GT’s gasoline engines might be sportier, but the diesel will probably get better fuel economy, and neither vehicle is supposed to be a sports car, anyway.
If you want a truly sporty BMW, the 335i sedan is probably the best bet. Nothing in BMW’s stable of utility vehicles is anywhere near as sporty, marketing hype aside. With that in mind, why not get a car that is unpretentious, practical, economical, and shares a chassis with the 335i?
The 2013 BMW 328d xDrive wagon starts production in July, so we’ll have to reserve final judgment until then. For now, though, it looks like a valuable addition to the lineup.