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      12-06-2012, 12:00 AM   #2
RPM90
Major General
 
Drives: 335i Msport w/sport AT
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Chicago

Posts: 6,095
iTrader: (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinny84 View Post
Test drove a 328i xDrive with M-sport in Estoril Blue II and a 328i xDrive with Luxury Line in Black Sapphire Metallic.

Just thought I'd put a little mini review in here for people who are interested in either lines and how they compared. Had about a little over an hour combined driving time.

Before I start the review, just want to give a huge praise for Sun Motor Cars in Mechanicsburg, PA and my buddy and CA Peter Kompotiatis. When I do decide to pull the trigger, next October, this will be my 3rd car I purchased from them and these guys really take care of you, not to mention everyone is super cool and nice. If you're in the area I would highly recommend you stop in; and see Peter too

The M-Sport had the following options:
-Hexagon Aluminum Trim with Black Leather
-Tech Package
-Lighting Package
-Cold Weather Package
-Dynamic Handling Package
-Premium Package

The Luxury Line had the following options:
-Dark Burl Walnut Wood Trim with Brown Leather
-Premium Package
-Technology Package
-Cold Weather Package
-Driver Assistance Package

Obviously I test drove the M-Sport first:

Exterior
I always liked Estoril Blue, even back in the e36 days when Estoril Blue was available for the M3. However, I wasn't really considering this color, because my next car I'm thinking long term, so don't want to pick something I would get bored with. After seeing it in person though, I instantly changed my mind, this would be the color I get. It's a looker and I think it suits the car very well. Pictures don't do this color justice.

Interior
Interior is awesome, love it over my e90 335xi I used to have and like it over my current 135i. The steering wheel is awesome and you need to see it for yourself to agree, very thick and comfortable. Everything is placed perfectly, IMO. iDrive controller is in a comfortable spot where it wouldn't be a hassle when driving. Controls, fit, and finish all are spot on to BMW standards. It's nice and roomy, feels very comfortable. Sport seats are very nice and comfortable, but the side bolster isn't as great as it is in my 135i. I feel my seats in the 1er hugs me better and feels tighter, however, I will also note that it's not as comfortable in the 1er when wearing a thicker jacket. That can be a plus to some people for the 3er.

Driving
I really thought I would be disappointed in the 28i engine, coming from a 35i engine, but honestly this car has some kick to it. It might not be as fast as a 35i engine, but it sure doesn't disappoint. I would say the Dynamic Handling package is worth the extra $1k, if you're going to keep it stock and not change out the suspension. The steering on it feels great and literally you just point and shoot with minimal effort. The car has awesome grip and gives you complete confidence in the car.

On to the Luxury Line:

Exterior
This car has class written all over it. The chrome accents around the car gives it that distinguished look, definitely not cheesy at all. This will be a good car for the business man or women that's looking for that sophisticated look and statement.

Interior
The brown leather is a very nice touch for the Luxury line. I wouldn't mind driving around with brown leather, again, it gives it that sophisticated look. The steering wheel is nice, but not as nice as the M-Sport steering wheel and not as thick, but still nice and doesn't look ugly, compared to say an e9x base steering wheel. The seats were comfortable, but found myself sliding a bit when going through turns.

Driving
Still has that kick to it, but I feel in Sport mode it is a little tamer. This car didn't have the Dynamic Handling package and in my opinion you can tell the difference. It has a heavier steering feel and it felt to me that you needed to finesse the steering a bit to get the same result. Otherwise, it's still fun to drive and can still go through the twisties while having confidence.

Overall
Going in, I was more set on the Luxury Line as I wanted a practical daily driver with AWD, but wanted something I can have fun with as well. The Luxury line can do that, but I feel the M-Sport gives you a better overall experience, especially with the Dynamic Handling package. The seats, the M body kit and the color are reasons enough to warrant spending the extra money for the M-Sport. Not to mention it has a tad bit better acceleration in Sport mode. I will be putting in my order for a '14 328i xDrive M-Sport with Estoril Blue with all the options next October.
Nice mini review.
It's interesting that you felt the Msport had better acceleration compared to the Lux line in sport mode.
Maybe the Msport had the "sport" automatic and the Lux had the standard one?

Also, the DH pkg includes the VSS-variable sport steering, which has a slightly tighter ratio, 14.5:1, compared to the standard steering 15:1 ratio.
Very minor, but some others have noticed a difference too.
When I did my test drives non of the 3's had VSS, so I couldn't directly compare the different racks.
It's interesting to read a review like yours where you actually drove the different racks back to back.

Great choice you made.
The N20 engine is amazing for 2 liters of displacement. Excellent low rpm torque, and quite smooth for an inline 4cyl.
BMW did a great job with this engine.

I'm partial to the Msport though as I choose the 335i Msport.

BTW, if you like the Lux look maybe you could look into a 328xi sport line.
You won't get the Msport steering wheel, but you do get the sport seats.
I LOVE the Msport steering wheel.
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