Among the many attributes of the BMW 3 Series is its exceptional versatility. A shining example of this is the 2016 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon. Embracing a host of qualities one might well be surprised to find in a BMW, it’s a station wagon with a diesel engine and all-wheel drive. While some might find this a bit odd in a BMW, those who are well versed in the marque know the 3 Series wagon can be all of those things and still deliver a thoroughly enjoyable driving experience.
Further, the 328d xDrive Sports Wagon will, by and large, do everything the average buyer of a compact crossover sport utility asks of their automobile, while radiating considerably more style. Unless your circumstances absolutely require an elevated seating position, you’d do well to give the BMW Sport Wagon a go before you settle on a compact sport utility. Even better, the turbocharged diesel engine lets the 3 Series wagon do all of the above—while returning an amazing 34 mpg overall.
In typical BMW fashion, the interior treatment is at once high quality and understated. Of course, if it comes across as too understated, one can always spice it up with one of the several color choices offered for the upholstery. BMW’s iDrive infotainment interface is standard equipment and remains one of the best on the market. For the record, I very much prefer the dial to a touchscreen, as it is easier, and more precise to use when the car is moving.
The 328d’s front seats offer more than enough travel for even the tallest of people to achieve an optimal driving position. Boasting features like adjustable thigh support, they also offer just enough firmness to provide good support, while remaining all-day comfortable. What’s more, even the manually operated front seats offer a broad range of adjustability. Meanwhile, the rear seats are among the most generous in terms of legroom for the class. On the utility front, the 3 Series Sports Wagon boasts 53 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats folded.
As I mentioned above, the 2016 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon features all-wheel drive and a diesel powerplant. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine makes 180 horsepower and 280 ft-lbs of torque. Suitably quick for its station in life, this translates to easy merging on the highway and drama-free passing when required. An eight-speed automatic is the sole transmission offering for 3 Series wagons.
As is typical of all BMW engines, power delivery is smooth and exceptionally determined. In most cases you’ll be hard-pressed to peg it a diesel—especially at highway speeds. There is the mildest of aural indications at idle, but it’s discreet. On the other hand, the stop/start engine function does call attention to itself with slightly rough restarts. But it’s the only nit to pick with this beautifully engineered powertrain, and happily, it can be disabled.
All in all, the 2016 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon offers the refined driving experience BMW has conditioned us to expect from all of its products. Handling is outstanding, ride quality is wonderfully supple, and the Sports Wagon glides effortlessly at speed on the highway. If you enjoy driving, and need the added utility of an enlarged cargo hold, this could well be the ride for whch you’ve been looking.
Pricing starts at $44,150.