A German station wagon just has a certain rightness to it, even when it’s equipped with an automatic transmission and four-cylinder engine like our 2014BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon tester.
As an auto journalist, I’m not allowed to dislike BMW wagons, though I probably wouldn’t even if it were permitted in our unwritten code. It’s a great car. BMW’s turbo four will never sound like the near-perfect straight six in the 335i, but I’ve learned to deal with it. Aural issues aside, it’s a good engine with solid low-end torque and a fun midrange made more usable by the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. In normal mode it’s good; in sport mode it’s exceptional. I’m sure Sport+ would be even more entertaining, but thanks to a spate of winter weather during my drive I left traction control enabled lest I inadvertently test the car’s crashworthiness. Ride and handling is sublime.
Much as I’m growing accustomed to the four-banger powertrain, I’m beginning to appreciate the feel of the 3-series F30 chassis. Again Sport mode is the key to any kind of serious maneuvering, primarily thanks to the tightened steering feel, though for commuting, Normal mode ties things together well without overreacting to inputs in bumper-to-bumper traffic.