The BMW 3 Series has long ruled the luxury sports sedan class with its near unbeatable blend of smooth, high-performance power, supple handling, and comfortable interiors. The 328i Sedan for 2008 incorporates the cleaner lines and more powerful engines that evolved from BMW's 2006 redesign.
BMW engines express the performance artistry at the heart of these vehicles. The rear-wheel-drive 328i features a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces 230 hp and 200 pound-feet of torque. It is an engineering marvel, using new lightweight magnesium/aluminum composite alloy for its block and incorporating, for the first time in a six-cylinder engine, BMW's Valvetronic variable valve lift technology.
The standard six-speed manual transmission traverses the 0-60 jump in 6.3 seconds. The optional six-speed Steptronic automatic, which includes normal, sport, and manual shift modes, makes the jump in 6.9 seconds. The EPA fuel estimates show off the technology built into this engine - when paired with the automatic transmission, it's rated at 19/28 mpg, while the manual rates 18/28 mpg.
With this powerful acceleration comes the handling that established BMW's "ultimate driving machine" slogan. Reviewers consistently cite the sense of confidence the 328i gives drivers in every conceivable road situation and condition as testimony to its handling prowess. Specifically, minimal body lean and "on rails" cornering, along with the industry standard for steering wheel feedback, all inspire driver confidence.
The 3 Series won the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest possible rating in both frontal offset and side impact tests. The 328i includes as standard safety equipment antilock disc brakes, dynamic brake control, stability control (which incorporates disc-pad wiping of brake rotors when windshield wipers are in use), run-flat tires, front-seat side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags.
3 Series cabins feature high-grade materials, exceptional build quality, and modern design. The main sedan interior criticisms stem from the lack of space both in the front and especially in the back seat, which suits two rather than three bench-seat passengers. Yet "Bimmer" fans will tell you that it's the 3 Series' compact size that's the key to its handling prowess.
Reviewers are unanimously negative regarding BMW's iDrive electronic control system, and they consider the fact that the system is optional on the 3 Series a plus - you aren't forced to endure it.
For its class, the 328i Sedan is still the "ultimate driving machine."