Super Street Network

 |   |   |  2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon - First Drive

2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon - First Drive

Hauling gear doesn’t get much sweeter than this.

Greg Emmerson
Jan 15, 2013
Epcp 1212 01 o+2013 BMW 328i+sports wagon Photo 1/7   |   2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon - First Drive

We all love a wagon. And we’re fortunate because the Europeans do sports wagons better than anybody. However, the US market doesn’t overwhelming share our affinity, making wagon sales hard to come by.

Epcp 1212 07 o_2013 BMW 328i sports wagon_cargo area Photo 2/7   |   2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon - First Drive

Undeterred by Audi’s decision to eradicate the A4 Avant and only offer the allroad to wagon aficionados, the F31 BMW 328i Sports Wagon will go on sale next Spring. It’s the third generation for US buyers but the fifth in total since sadly the E30 and E36 Touring never officially made it here.

2016 BMW 3-Series
$33,150 Base Model (MSRP) 24/36 MPG Fuel Economy

You may already know the story of BMW’s wagon history: it began after an employee built one at home based on the E30. The concept later won favor with management and was accepted for production.

However, the carmaker is realistic about US sales: numbers haven’t moved much since 2001; with 70% sold in just five states, California being the biggest single market. But that simply means the majority of American drivers have never experienced the wonders of this versatile platform with engaging performance and good economy, preferring clumsy SUVs and crossovers.

Epcp 1212 05 o_2013 BMW 328i sports wagon_cargo area Photo 3/7   |   2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon - First Drive

With a small audience, it doesn’t make economic sense to homologate lots of different versions, so the F31 Wagon comes in one delicious flavor. It gets the glorious 240hp N20 two-liter four-cylinder turbo engine that pulls hard and revs cleanly. However, you can forget about a manual. Instead, you’ll make do with the wonderful eight-speed automatic that shifts like butter, with close ratios to get you to 62mph in 6sec, and enough cogs to exceed 30mpg highway (EPA figures imminent).

While we might dream of a stripped-down manual wagon, in reality, not enough people would buy one to warrant the crash-testing. That said, this 328i wagon is a delight to drive. We found no handling compromises or comfort issues, despite its different spring and damper rates required to compensate for heavy loads. In fact, we managed to induce a little oversteer, which the electronic power steering was perfectly weighted to deal with. This car was every bit as entertaining as the 328i sedan we drove at its Laguna Seca launch, making it a great choice if you need to carry cargo.

Epcp 1212 02 o_2013 BMW 328i sports wagon_rear hatch Photo 4/7   |   2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon - First Drive

If you insist on a six-speed manual, you’ll want to wait for the xDrive version, which is aimed specifically at New England customers who appreciate the superior traction in winter.

From a packaging perspective, all 3 Series wagons are on the small side, swapping style for ultimate utility. It boasts only 35cuft with the 40/20/40 rear-seat split.

The cargo area has a clever stowage system with a floor net and straps, tie-down eyes, underfloor storage and a cubby to store the luggage compartment cover when you need the extra capacity. The net can be configured in different ways and there’s a ski door in the rear seats for greater flexibility. Add an electric tailgate, rear power socket, roof rails and panoramic sunroof, and you’re prepared for any situation.

Epcp 1212 04 o_2013 BMW 328i sports wagon_under floor storage Photo 5/7   |   2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon - First Drive

The rest of the standard equipment will leave you breathless when you list it to your neighbor: 6.3" flastscreen with iDrive controller, USB port, Bluetooth, auto stop/start, Dynamic Driving Control with Eco Pro mode to aid fuel economy and Sport+ mode, brake regeneration and air curtains. You could also add optional heads up display, navigation, park assist, lane departure and BMW Apps to stream internet radio and Facebook updates.

Every 3 Series has a spec list that reads like a 7 Series from three years ago. These cars are astonishingly advanced.

Epcp 1212 03 o_2013 BMW 328i sports wagon_under floor cubby Photo 6/7   |   2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon - First Drive

As with every 3, you can order it in Modern, Luxury, Sport or M Sport lines, each bringing different emphasis to interior and exterior trim, as well as suspension and wheel options.

Inevitably, we’d be tempted by a black 328i Sport Wagon with M Sport line adaptive suspension that sits 10mm lower on 19" wheels. It would be a sweet alternative to an otherwise dull Japanese crossover.

2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon

Front-mounted, RWD

Epcp 1212 06 o_2013 BMW 328i sports wagon_driver side profile Photo 7/7   |   2013 BMW 328i Sports Wagon - First Drive

1997cc i-4 DOHC TwinPower turbo, direct injection, Valvetronic

Eight-speed Steptronic automatic

aluminium double-joint strut f, five-link r

Single-piston calipers, 12.3" rotor f, 11.8" rotors r

Wheels & Tires
17x7.5", 225/50 R17

MSRP: $n/a


Power: 240hp at 5000-6000rpm

Torque: 255 lb-ft at 1250-4800rpm

0-62mph: 6.0sec

Top Speed: 155mph

Weight: 3410 lb

Economy: n/a

By Greg Emmerson
1077 Articles



Let's rewind the clocks 12 years ago...
Jofel TolosaMay 4, 2016
Cathy Bui has never modded a car before and yet she owns one of the most well modified Nissan 180SXs Australia, has ever known.
Aaron BonkMay 3, 2016
This tech heavy Jaguar has everything it needs to go head to head with the likes of the BMW 5-series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-class.
Colin RyanApr 28, 2016
This hot hatch may seem different from its predecessors, but it's still the same in terms of driving experience and bang for your buck.
Matt ZuchowskiApr 26, 2016
A car that is very likely to be pushing the limits a little further during its next assault on the Pro AM class.
Alex GrantApr 25, 2016