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      03-30-2013, 01:17 PM   #1
06Arctic
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Quick drive review of BMW 328d and B38 turbo 3 cylinder engine (motortrend)

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Motor Trend fell deeply, rhapsodically in love with its long-term diesel stormer, the 2009 BMW 335d. That 3.0-liter/265-hp/425-lb-ft I-6 hotrod oil-burner was priced near the top of the range and delivered amazing performance (5.8 seconds to 60 mph), while returning quite respectable fuel economy (EPA ratings of 23 mpg city/36 highway, and an observed average of 29.4 mpg over 30,733 miles). The 335d accomplished its mission of completely rehabbing any lingering image problems the technology might have suffered from the slightly wheezy 524td. Today, BMW believes diesel buyers expect highway ratings in the 40s -- as delivered by our current diesel long-termer, the roomy VW Passat TDI. So the next 3 Series diesel, the 2014 328d (specs/photos), will get the latest 2.0-liter TwinPower turbodiesel I-4, codename N47.

Output drops to 180 hp and 280 lb-ft or torque (at 1750 rpm), and 0-60-mph times will stretch to about 7 seconds, but we're promised a 4 in highway fuel economy. Final EPA figures are expected any day, but BMW expects a 20 percent improvement over the 2.0-liter TwinPower turbo gas version, with which this engine shares some 40 percent of its parts, including the aluminum block. If that holds true, we'll see 28 mpg city/40 mpg highway in the automatic sedan. With a 16-gallon fuel tank, that adds up to over 640 miles of bladder-busting highway range.

When it goes on sale later this summer (production starts in July), the 328d will be offered in both sedan and wagon bodystyles with all options available on the gasoline models (including xDrive all-wheel-drive), with one exception -- no manual transmission. The take-rate was just deemed too small, and it would have presented the conundrum: Bring the super-wide-ratio Euro box that would blunt performance relative to the eight-speed automatic, or bring the performance-oriented ratios that might kill that 40-mpg number?

To meet U.S. NOx emissions regulations, the engine uses a selective-catalytic-reduction (urea) fluid. The onboard tank is not expected to require refilling between oil-change intervals (typically 6000-10,000 miles), unless it's being operated a lot in very cold weather or at higher altitudes.

On the eve of the New York auto show, BMW offered brief test drives around its New Jersey headquarters, which revealed the new engine's more earnest earth-hugging mission. This 328d sedan seems to strike a better balance between performance and fuel economy, and as such it comes off as better optimized for drivers inclined toward obsessively Tweeting their fuel economy. Nevertheless, floor the throttle in Sport+ mode and it surfs the waves of 280-lb-ft torque, merging smartly with freeway traffic or easily jumping ahead of a line of dawdlers for the right-hand-turn lane when necessary. Yet, it feels more at home in the EcoPro transmission setting. Leave it there, and you'll never feel either edge of the torque plateau as the car wafts from ratio to ratio seamlessly. The four-cylinder's firing pulses are enough farther apart than the six's that it sounds a bit more diesel-y too, but never objectionably so.

Pricing has not been finalized yet, but we're told to expect it to fall between that of the 328i and 335i, probably closer to the former (unlike the highway economy, here they're targeting sub-40). The 335d only accounted for about 8-10 percent of 3 Series sales in its day, but given the greater affordability, expanded model availability, and the addition of xDrive, expect the 328d's sales mix to approach that of the X5 diesel, which currently accounts for 20 percent of sales. Will we love it a third less than we did its six-cylinder ancestor? Doubtful, but there's only one way to find out: Deliver one 328d xDrive wagon to Motor Trend headquarters for 12 months.


Sampling BMW's Turbo Three-Banger

BMW reckons it's just about devised the ideal cylinder: bore of about 84-85mm and stroke in the 88-90mm range for a displacement of about 500cc, Valvetronic variable timing and lift, direct fuel injection, and a turbocharger. Making the cylinders any smaller makes friction and the parts count become unattractive; making them larger makes the noise and vibration of the rotating mass become unpleasant. Each such idealized cylinder can produce roughly 40-75 hp/45-60 lb-ft on gasoline and 25-60 hp/55-80 lb-ft burning diesel. How big is your car and how fast do you want to go? Depending on your answer, you'll soon be able to string together three, four, or six of these ideal cylinders. Yes, starting next year, BMW will saw its venerable 3.0-liter I-6 turbo in half and sell both ends in its smallest home-market 1 Series cars and the plug-in hybrid i8 model on our shores, with new Mini and front-drive BMW 1 Series models getting it later on. The claimed fuel economy benefit: 5-15 percent relative to an I-4 turbo sized and tuned for equivalent output.

This high degree of modularity greatly improves manufacturing flexibility, parts, and machining commonality -- and even overall quality (gas and diesel versions can share a block and many other internal parts). An I-3's exhaust pulses are far enough apart that a less-costly single-scroll turbo can deliver the same load responsiveness as an I-4's twin-scroll. (If you were wondering, Continental makes the I-3's turbo; it produces just over 20 psi peak boost in the version we're sampling.) On the downside, an even-firing I-3 does not enjoy an I-6's inherent balance. There is a natural front-to-back vertical rocking couple that BMW counteracts with a single balance shaft spinning at twice crankshaft speed, located below the block. A small sideways rocking couple induced by the balance shaft will remain, but it's not deemed noticeable enough to warrant the cost and parasitic loss of a second counter-rotating shaft.

This new family of gas and diesel I-3s will come in a range of available outputs. BMW invited us to drive an early development prototype of one of the higher-performing gasoline versions, which is good for 177 hp and 200 lb-ft and was installed in a Euro-market 1 Series hatchback. The engineers still have a lot of work to do on the noise/vibration/harshness front.

Upon start-up, it sounds a bit like a diesel, with clatter and injector noise clearly evident. BMW claims that the predominant sound frequencies produced by the I-3 throughout the rpm range overlap the I-6's, registering higher than the four's. Okay, if they say so, but the bangs are enough farther apart that it will never confuse anyone for being a six. That said, the raspy rap was decidedly sporty, except for a sour moaning note around 2000 rpm -- especially when upshifting at a speed that sends the engine back down through that speed when operating in the EcoPro mode. Sport or Sport+ speed up the shifts and elevate the shift points enough to eliminate that effect (which will surely be addressed prior to production). Beyond that, the car accelerated like any other eight-speed automatic BMW carrying about 15 lb/hp -- probably in the low 6s to 60 mph.

The ultra-sporting i8 plug-in hybrid halo car arriving here next year will get a special 220-hp version of the engine, using a larger turbocharger optimized for high-end power at the expense of low-end torque, which will be supplied by the electric motor assisting the three-cylinder. Expect WAY better performance from that car, than from a 1 Series with no E-assist.

[More BMW 3 cylinder engine details]
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      03-30-2013, 04:54 PM   #2
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It's so a 320d why they call it 328d I cannot fathom. I know it's image but come on it's beyond stretching the truth.
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      03-30-2013, 05:15 PM   #3
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^ so they can price it between the 328i and 335i... Most buyers have no idea what happens under the hood, the 328i is just a 2.0, and the 335 is just a 3.0, the 640i and 740i are 3.0's... I'm sure this is just going to get more confusing in the future, just be sure to be an informed buyer...
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      03-30-2013, 05:18 PM   #4
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Also, you are basically paying the same amount of money for a lesser car! welcome to the "green era"....
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      03-30-2013, 05:39 PM   #5
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low performance car full of piss (urea)....no thanks
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      03-30-2013, 05:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TotalPower
low performance car full of piss (urea)....no thanks
Hahahaha well said.

320d is no slouch but I say just be honest with people. If I put a 328d badge on my car in the UK I'd be mocked more than if I put an ///M in front of it.
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      03-30-2013, 07:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clbmw View Post
It's so a 320d why they call it 328d I cannot fathom. I know it's image but come on it's beyond stretching the truth.
Why do they call a 2.0 liter a 328? Why do they call a 3.0 liter a 335? Why do they call a 4.4 liter a 550?


Etc, etc, etc.
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      03-30-2013, 07:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by KORALLROT View Post
Why do they call a 2.0 liter a 328? Why do they call a 3.0 liter a 335? Why do they call a 4.4 liter a 550?


Etc, etc, etc.
Because people like big numbers and marketing people are well above your head.
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      03-30-2013, 07:38 PM   #9
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Cool info about the 3-cylinder motor
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      03-30-2013, 08:09 PM   #10
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i am quite interested in this car but if it's priced over the 328i i won't be buying.
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      03-30-2013, 08:36 PM   #11
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i am quite interested in this car but if it's priced over the 328i i won't be buying.
You won't be buying. This re-badging has really turned me off BMW.
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      03-30-2013, 09:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enilder
Quote:
Originally Posted by KORALLROT View Post
Why do they call a 2.0 liter a 328? Why do they call a 3.0 liter a 335? Why do they call a 4.4 liter a 550?


Etc, etc, etc.
Because people like big numbers and marketing people are well above your head.
I am no expert on BMW but I think people are being unfair here. The most powerful non M3 3er was a 330i sans turbo. With the N54 it was only natural that a higher number should have been used. I think 335i sounds ok.

Although the 328i is a 4banger but it carries on the legend set by the e90 328i. I had the e90 328i while my X5 was in service a d after years of being in denial, I finally accepted that the 328 although slower than my G37 was more fun to drive. If the 4 banger is better than the e90 then it deserves the name.
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      03-30-2013, 09:42 PM   #13
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I just don't get it, I think this is all a cynical move by BMW in the USA. The 320d sells at a slight premium to the 320i in Australia and way below the price of a 328i. I hope they load it with fruit to compensate.
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      03-30-2013, 09:44 PM   #14
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thats weird, our 320d is a good few grand cheaper than the 328i, they should have at least put dual exhaust pipes to call it a 328d..

you guys arent getting any sympathy from me though, your cars are still half the price of ours..
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      03-30-2013, 10:04 PM   #15
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It's so a 320d why they call it 328d I cannot fathom. I know it's image but come on it's beyond stretching the truth.
So they can pump the price and make more profit. I was waiting for the real 328d, but since they are doing this BS, I wont buy this 320d.
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      03-30-2013, 11:19 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by newbmwuser View Post
...
you guys arent getting any sympathy from me though, your cars are still half the price of ours..
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      03-30-2013, 11:58 PM   #17
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I just don't get it, I think this is all a cynical move by BMW in the USA. The 320d sells at a slight premium to the 320i in Australia and way below the price of a 328i. I hope they load it with fruit to compensate.
Taking European 320d and spec'ing it with the same options as EU 328i, then adding BluePerformance (urea tank required to make US emissions) gets the price of 320d _above_ 328i.
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      03-31-2013, 02:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I just don't get it, I think this is all a cynical move by BMW in the USA. The 320d sells at a slight premium to the 320i in Australia and way below the price of a 328i. I hope they load it with fruit to compensate.
You have to add in the "Blue Performance" option if that is in your market and that will make it almost the same as the 328i and in the US it will be standard with the 8 speed auto.

It is clearly a pricing structure move- early indication was that they would call it the 323d and like the 320i remove some content but the focus groups and marketing folks obviously nixed that and the 328d was hatched.

I don't agree with it but will say that I love my 120d with the same engine.
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      03-31-2013, 02:53 AM   #19
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320d is a great car for Europe due to the prices of the gas here.
But I wouldn't buy it over a 328i especially being in US
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      03-31-2013, 05:21 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by KORALLROT View Post
Why do they call a 2.0 liter a 328? Why do they call a 3.0 liter a 335? Why do they call a 4.4 liter a 550?


Etc, etc, etc.
Whilst I agree with your sentiment there, it is generally accepted that the first number signifies the series and the latter two some arbitrary performance related number - often pointed out by reviewers that it doesn't reflect the engine size.

My difficulty is with the huge difference in the arbitrary number simply because it is on a different continent.

The 328i is not comparable to the 320d, it's much more akin in BHP to the 330i which it too will beat on any thing under 100mph. The 330i beats the 320d hands down on power, performance and not sounding like a tractor.

I cannot see any justification for calling it a 328d other than basically telling people in the US that they couldn't handle the reality of a 2 litre diesel that was pretty efficient but quick enough for most people. I'm insulted for you really.
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      03-31-2013, 11:03 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KORALLROT
Quote:
Originally Posted by clbmw View Post
It's so a 320d why they call it 328d I cannot fathom. I know it's image but come on it's beyond stretching the truth.
Why do they call a 2.0 liter a 328? Why do they call a 3.0 liter a 335? Why do they call a 4.4 liter a 550?


Etc, etc, etc.
Because for the US Market "Bigger is better"!
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      03-31-2013, 12:14 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amleto63
Quote:
Originally Posted by KORALLROT
Quote:
Originally Posted by clbmw
It's so a 320d why they call it 328d I cannot fathom. I know it's image but come on it's beyond stretching the truth.
Why do they call a 2.0 liter a 328? Why do they call a 3.0 liter a 335? Why do they call a 4.4 liter a 550?


Etc, etc, etc.
Because for the US Market "Bigger is better"!
So there is a 544 in EU?
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