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      03-13-2014, 11:30 PM   #1
pocoyo_3
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2013 328 xDrive Test Drive

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I test drove a 2013 328i xDrive this evening (no line, awful beige interior, thin steering wheel). My objective was to get a feel for the N20 back to back with my E90 335i, so I could decide whether I should go for a 335i.

Apart from the spec, what really troubled me was the rattliness of the engine. I have driven a 328i previously, a 2014 non-xDrive, and I thought that was smoother. Likewise, the steering on the 2013 was video game numb (from the days before force feedback in video games)

Is anyone aware if there were changes to the N20 for 2014? I'm somewhat confused based on my mixed experiences with the 328i
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      03-14-2014, 05:50 AM   #2
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Here is my experience...

I had a 07' 335xi and received a 2012 or 2013 328xi as a loaner one time, which I had for about 2 days and drove about 200 miles. The auto start/stop was rough and the steering felt numb, just as you say. I found the engine adequate and lively, but it did idle rough - or so I thought.

I now have a 2014 328xi sport line and I can say there are some interesting differences between the two. The 2014 comes with the N26 (SULEV) engine vs the previous N20 (ULEV) and some updates were made to the auto start/stop. It is very smooth and quick to restart when in traffic, at stop lights, etc. The car also remembers if I have turned off the auto start/stop function when I restart the vehicle, which is nice, but I have grown accustom to it so I leave it on. The engine is just as lively if not more so in all modes. I also believe the steering has much more feedback than the previous models. It is light and easy at low speed and nice and firm in eco/comfort at speed and much firmer in sport and firmer still in sport+.

I have researched changes to 2014 3-series and have found a general consensus that software changes were made and possibly some physical changes in design of the engine, though I cannot positively identify what. Most articles suggested changes to the starter motor and ecu mapping to smooth out engine operation and power delivery. There is also obviously some physical difference for the engine to get the SULEV rating, but I'm not sure what.

I also noticed quite a few options changed from 2013 to 2014. Options like availability of launch control on sport autos, which will be standard for 2014. Sport line suspension is now available on 2014 xDrive models, firmer than standard, but not lower. Quite a few others are out there; changes to standard options as well. If you're considering a purchase then do as much research as you can before going to the dealer just to be sure you get exactly what you want.
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      03-14-2014, 08:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw0perat0r View Post
Here is my experience...

I had a 07' 335xi and received a 2012 or 2013 328xi as a loaner one time, which I had for about 2 days and drove about 200 miles. The auto start/stop was rough and the steering felt numb, just as you say. I found the engine adequate and lively, but it did idle rough - or so I thought.

I now have a 2014 328xi sport line and I can say there are some interesting differences between the two. The 2014 comes with the N26 (SULEV) engine vs the previous N20 (ULEV) and some updates were made to the auto start/stop. It is very smooth and quick to restart when in traffic, at stop lights, etc. The car also remembers if I have turned off the auto start/stop function when I restart the vehicle, which is nice, but I have grown accustom to it so I leave it on. The engine is just as lively if not more so in all modes. I also believe the steering has much more feedback than the previous models. It is light and easy at low speed and nice and firm in eco/comfort at speed and much firmer in sport and firmer still in sport+.

I have researched changes to 2014 3-series and have found a general consensus that software changes were made and possibly some physical changes in design of the engine, though I cannot positively identify what. Most articles suggested changes to the starter motor and ecu mapping to smooth out engine operation and power delivery. There is also obviously some physical difference for the engine to get the SULEV rating, but I'm not sure what.

I also noticed quite a few options changed from 2013 to 2014. Options like availability of launch control on sport autos, which will be standard for 2014. Sport line suspension is now available on 2014 xDrive models, firmer than standard, but not lower. Quite a few others are out there; changes to standard options as well. If you're considering a purchase then do as much research as you can before going to the dealer just to be sure you get exactly what you want.
Thanks for getting back to me. I was really surprised by how different the 2013 felt relative to how I remember the 2014. Saying that, I drove the 2014 while out West on a warm day, and I drove the 2013 in the middle of the cold spell, so I am sure that the weather was a factor too.

I am trying to balance the question of a 328i or 335i (the monthly lease is only $50 apart), but I don't want to end up with "too much car" in terms of fuel, insurance. I'm looking to get something that feels right, but perhaps that is a pipe dream. I would also expect the 328 to handle better and feel more agile so that's another factor. The drive yesterday was to try to settle my dilemma but it just confused the issue further.
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      03-14-2014, 09:00 AM   #4
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Aren't they more like almost $100/mo apart equally equipped and with taxes? For $50 I'd go for the classic inline 6 with more smooth power than you'll ever need on the street. At $100 it's a tougher call unless money isn't an object because the N26 really is adequate plus you'll cruise on the highway at 30+mpg regardless of your speed.
I will have the same dilemma later this year and since I think I prefer the new GC and with likely no lease programs I'll probably end up with the 428 for 335 money!
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      03-14-2014, 09:15 AM   #5
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N55 has a wayyyy smoother engine because of the tried and true inline 6 - the N20 sees no changes in the F30 from 13 to 14 aside from the package changes, engine is untouched.

Perhaps the weather played a roll, but that 4 cylinder engine is loud and clunky, the six is wayyyyy worth it imo.
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      03-14-2014, 10:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw0perat0r View Post
I now have a 2014 328xi sport line and I can say there are some interesting differences between the two. The 2014 comes with the N26 (SULEV) engine vs the previous N20 (ULEV) and some updates were made to the auto start/stop.
N20 vs N26 is not a year thing, it's a ULEV vs SULEV thing. I have a 2013 328i xDrive with the N26 as my car is SULEV. Living near NY or CA you will find most dealers only have SULEV vehicles because of the emissions standards. I do agree though, that the N26 is a nicer feeling engine - my 2013 with the N26 has no harshness/abruptness to it at all.

My wife has an E90 328i, and while I like the sound of the inline 6 better, tne N26 is super smooth and super responsive IMO.
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      03-14-2014, 10:04 AM   #7
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I currently have an N55 in my 2011 E90, and it is a nice motor, but mine feels coarse at times compared to the N52 I had previously. It also has a fair amount of throttle delay between applying the throttle and the engine revs actually moving. I ended up purchasing the PPK1 to help with that issue.

I keep hearing that the 2014 328 sounds better than the 2013 (I found a number of threads). My recollection was the same, but I would like to be sure before placing an order. It's not easy to find a friendly dealership in Michigan that is prepared to put in the time and effort.
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      03-14-2014, 11:43 AM   #8
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I have the n20 in my 428i. While not as turbine smooth as the n55 in my previous E92, it is remarkably smooth for a 2 ltr 4-cyl engine, especially as it revs up. I find it to be harshest in lower gears at lower revs, but I can live with the trade-off.
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      03-14-2014, 12:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my325i View Post
I am trying to balance the question of a 328i or 335i (the monthly lease is only $50 apart), but I don't want to end up with "too much car" in terms of fuel, insurance.
OP, in my opinion, for that difference in price go with the 335. the fuel cost is almost the same, and (at least for me) the insurance is the same.

Also, if you are set on xdrive, don't forget to order the DHP or else you will have no sport suspension and the corresponding huge wheel gap.
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      03-14-2014, 07:22 PM   #10
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The '14 328 in sport mode definitely sounds louder than the '12-13 328. It sounds so good I find myself only driving in sport mode.
To me, the ASS is still to abrupt and I always have it turned off. Thank goodness BMW changed it for '14 so it stays off each time you start the car.

I'm coming from 997 turbo and find that the 328 has ample power for the street and is even fun to drive
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      03-14-2014, 09:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my325i View Post
I test drove a 2013 328i xDrive this evening (no line, awful beige interior, thin steering wheel). My objective was to get a feel for the N20 back to back with my E90 335i, so I could decide whether I should go for a 335i.

Apart from the spec, what really troubled me was the rattliness of the engine. I have driven a 328i previously, a 2014 non-xDrive, and I thought that was smoother. Likewise, the steering on the 2013 was video game numb (from the days before force feedback in video games)

Is anyone aware if there were changes to the N20 for 2014? I'm somewhat confused based on my mixed experiences with the 328i

Coming from an e90 335, and having an N20 X3, I would have vast disappointment going from an e90 335 to F30 328. Just get the 335, and the PPK...
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      03-16-2014, 08:17 PM   #12
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I finally did a back to back test drive of a MY2014 328xi vs a MY2013 335xi. Some observations:

MY2014 328xi
This car was a no-line, though it did have the premium package. I can comment that the no-line beige interior is pretty depressing, and the quality of the materials is a step back compared to the E90. Things like the buttons and plastics feel cheaper.

Once the car has started, the engine is suprisingly quiet. It's there in the background, and when you do hear it, it sounds a lot better than the 2013. It also felt more than powerful enough for the day-to-day driving I do. The steering is not full of life, but it's adequate, and it's not as far behind the E90 in terms of communication as I expected.

MY2013 335xi
This as a Sport Line, with navigation (not the touchscreen as it was a 2013), and Sport Auto transmission. The interior feels a lot better, thanks to the better seats, Sport trim, and thicker rimmed steering wheel. The quality is still so-so. The nav system felt slow, but the screen is infinitely nicer than the no-nav screen.

Startup feels a lot more like a BMW, and the engine did feel torquier than the 328xi. The engine is also more audible at all RPMS, which is a mixed blessing. At low engine speeds the rumble would get wearing, as it feels as the entire back of the car is generating the sound. At higher speeds teh engine is more musical. Nevertheless, it was a lot quieter than my E90 335i PPK, and arguably smoother too.

Conclusions:
It's a more difficult choice than I expected. The 335i would definitely make you smile more at times, but I felt the engine dominated the experience almost too much, whereas the 328i felt quieter and more relaxed as a result. I personally don't need 300 bhp, so the 328i is more than enough for me. Now I'm looking forward to moving on to an F30 328i from my E90 335i.
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      03-16-2014, 08:21 PM   #13
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It's not easy to find a friendly dealership in Michigan that is prepared to put in the time and effort.
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      03-18-2014, 04:47 PM   #14
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What can you tell about my car? Why does it mention California?
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      03-18-2014, 04:49 PM   #15
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Just found the answer


TLEV – Transitional low-emission vehicle
LEV – Low-emission vehicle
ULEV – Ultra-low-emission vehicle
SULEV – Super-ultra low-emission vehicle
ZEV – Zero-emission vehicle
The last category is largely restricted to electric vehicles and hydrogen cars, although such vehicles are usually not entirely non-polluting. In those cases, the other emissions are transferred to another site, such as a power plant or hydrogen reforming center, unless such sites run on renewable energy.
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      03-18-2014, 10:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw0perat0r View Post
Here is my experience...

I had a 07' 335xi and received a 2012 or 2013 328xi as a loaner one time, which I had for about 2 days and drove about 200 miles. The auto start/stop was rough and the steering felt numb, just as you say. I found the engine adequate and lively, but it did idle rough - or so I thought.

I now have a 2014 328xi sport line and I can say there are some interesting differences between the two. The 2014 comes with the N26 (SULEV) engine vs the previous N20 (ULEV) and some updates were made to the auto start/stop. It is very smooth and quick to restart when in traffic, at stop lights, etc. The car also remembers if I have turned off the auto start/stop function when I restart the vehicle, which is nice, but I have grown accustom to it so I leave it on. The engine is just as lively if not more so in all modes. I also believe the steering has much more feedback than the previous models. It is light and easy at low speed and nice and firm in eco/comfort at speed and much firmer in sport and firmer still in sport+.

I have researched changes to 2014 3-series and have found a general consensus that software changes were made and possibly some physical changes in design of the engine, though I cannot positively identify what. Most articles suggested changes to the starter motor and ecu mapping to smooth out engine operation and power delivery. There is also obviously some physical difference for the engine to get the SULEV rating, but I'm not sure what.

I also noticed quite a few options changed from 2013 to 2014. Options like availability of launch control on sport autos, which will be standard for 2014. Sport line suspension is now available on 2014 xDrive models, firmer than standard, but not lower. Quite a few others are out there; changes to standard options as well. If you're considering a purchase then do as much research as you can before going to the dealer just to be sure you get exactly what you want.
Are you sure about that?
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