2010 BMW 328

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2010 BMW 328. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Smooth inline-six power
  • Intuitive handling
  • Communicative steering
  • Strong brakes
  • Much-improved iDrive

The Bad

  • Rubbery manual shifter
  • Small cabin
  • Many luxury features cost extra
  • Small trunk
  • Crash tests for convertible

Notable Features of the 2010 BMW 328

  • 230-hp inline-six cylinder engine
  • Coupe, sedan, convertible or wagon
  • RWD or AWD
  • Optional iDrive control system
  • Manual or automatic transmission

2010 BMW 328 Road Test

Kelsey Mays

Driving around Chicago in the winter involves too many cold mornings, too many potholes and too many roads that run in any direction you'd like, so long as they're straight. It takes a car like the BMW 3 Series to remind me that driving can still be fun; that the 3 is also livable during the daily grind is equally impressive. The 3 Series isn't the only vehicle body-type with such capabilities, though; others come close, and many do so for considerably less money. Venerable though it is, BMW's best-seller needs a few updates to maintain its edge.

The 
BMW 3 Series comes in 328i and 335i variants, with normally aspirated and turbocharged six-cylinder engines, respectively. There's also a high-performance V-8-powered M3 and a diesel 335d; we cover the M3 separately on Cars.com. What kind of engine is available in each body style varies, but you can get a 3 Series in coupe, sedan, wagon or retractable-hardtop convertible layouts, most of them with rear- or all-wheel drive. I drove an all-wheel, stick-shift 335i coupe. I've also driven the current generation's 328i, M3 and 335d in previous model years. Click here to see a comparison of all the variants.

 

Exterior & Styling
The current BMW 3 Series sedan arrived for the 2006 model year, and it's gained yuppie ubiquity around my North Chicago neighborhood that's matched only by … well, a slew of Lexus IS and Mercedes C-Class sedans, actually. The BMW mixes well. It's a conservative design that takes few r...

Driving around Chicago in the winter involves too many cold mornings, too many potholes and too many roads that run in any direction you'd like, so long as they're straight. It takes a car like the BMW 3 Series to remind me that driving can still be fun; that the 3 is also livable during the daily grind is equally impressive. The 3 Series isn't the only vehicle body-type with such capabilities, though; others come close, and many do so for considerably less money. Venerable though it is, BMW's best-seller needs a few updates to maintain its edge.

The 
BMW 3 Series comes in 328i and 335i variants, with normally aspirated and turbocharged six-cylinder engines, respectively. There's also a high-performance V-8-powered M3 and a diesel 335d; we cover the M3 separately on Cars.com. What kind of engine is available in each body style varies, but you can get a 3 Series in coupe, sedan, wagon or retractable-hardtop convertible layouts, most of them with rear- or all-wheel drive. I drove an all-wheel, stick-shift 335i coupe. I've also driven the current generation's 328i, M3 and 335d in previous model years. Click here to see a comparison of all the variants.

 

Exterior & Styling
The current BMW 3 Series sedan arrived for the 2006 model year, and it's gained yuppie ubiquity around my North Chicago neighborhood that's matched only by … well, a slew of Lexus IS and Mercedes C-Class sedans, actually. The BMW mixes well. It's a conservative design that takes few risks, even in coupe form — unusual restraint from an automaker responsible for the more controversial prior-generation 7 Series, the outgoing 5 Series and the current X6. If the 3 Series is BMW's bread and butter, perhaps it's a good thing the automaker stayed the uncontroversial route.


Sixteen-inch alloy wheels adorn the 328i sedan and wagon. Other 328i and all 335i models get 17s. If you like the M3's more aggressive bodywork, an optional M Sport Package imitates the look — if a bit stiltedly — on non-M cars, complete with 18- or 19-inch wheels. The 2011 
BMW 3 Series coupe and convertible, which hit dealerships in the coming weeks, have updated styling with cues from BMW's Z4, as well as a few mechanical changes. Check out the changes here.

The Moves
The 230-horsepower BMW 3 Series 328i moves more capably from stoplights than its mere 200 pounds-feet of torque would suggest. Highway passing power feels modest, however, and you'll want to pay close attention during your test drive if you're getting the optional six-speed automatic. The last 328i I drove — a 2007 automatic convertible — didn't upshift smoothly around town. The BMW 3 Series uses the same transmission today, but it's possible the software has been updated for smoother shifts. See how it works on your test drive and shoot me an email with your assessment.


The turbocharged 335i moves swiftly at any speed. I found usable passing power as low as 1,300 rpm. Push harder, and a hint of turbo lag precedes a surge of power that doesn't build so much as it stays there, even as the tach needle heads toward its redline. If all-out punch is what you want, the 335i delivers more of it at any speed than its competitors. The direct-injection Cadillac CTS feels ploddingly modest by comparison; the Infiniti G37 matches BMW's excitement, but only when pushed hard. Put simply, the 335i feels like a quick car all the time.

It's a shame BMW paired this engine with such a lackluster stick shift. My test vehicle had a well-weighted clutch and decent gate placements, but the shifter had longish, rubbery throws; even with practice, upshifts took far too long. The shifter has been this way in too many BMWs for too many years, while other manual sport sedans — from the Infiniti G to the Audi A4 — have offered increasingly well-executed shifters. Attention, BMW: The emperor is long overdue for some clothes. (There's evidence he's donned a pair of socks: BMW's redesigned Z4 has a much-improved manual shifter. Let's hope it makes its way elsewhere.)

The six-speed automatic that's optional on the 335i is different from the automatic in the 328i, so it might suffer from fewer glitches; I've driven only the stick-shift 335i. The diesel-powered 335d, meanwhile, comes only with a six-speed automatic. Upshifts and downshifts are relatively smooth, though the latter are rarely needed. With 425 pounds-feet of torque at just 1,750 rpm, the 335d can scoot comfortably around slower traffic in sixth gear — uphill, if necessary. Diesel engines are renowned for their fuel efficiency, and proof comes in the 335d's EPA-rated 23/36 mpg city/highway.

Here's how all the drivetrains compare:

3 Series Breakdown
  328i 335i 335d M3
Body styles Sedan, coupe, convertible, wagon Sedan, coupe, convertible Sedan Sedan, coupe, convertible
Base price (sedan) $33,150 $40,600 $43,950 $55,400
Engine 3.0L inline-six 3.0L twin turbo inline-six 3.0L twin turbo diesel inline-six 4.0L V-8
Horsepower (@ rpm) 230 @ 6,500 300 @ 5,800 265 @ 4,200 414 @ 8,300
Torque (lbs.-ft. @ rpm) 200 @ 2,750 300 @ 1,400 425 @ 1,750 295 @ 3,900
Drivelines RWD or AWD RWD or AWD RWD RWD
Transmissions 6-speed manual; 6-speed auto 6-speed manual; 6-speed auto 6-speed auto 6-speed manual; 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Mfr. zero-to-60 mph (sec.) 6.2 - 7.3 5.2 - 5.7 6.0 4.5 - 5.1
EPA combined mileage 20 - 22 19 - 20 27 16
Required fuel Premium Premium Diesel Premium
Source: Automaker, EPA

 

Brakes are a BMW forte, and my tester's antilock discs didn't disappoint. Some may find the pedal grabby at first, but with practice it becomes easy to dole out exactly how much stopping power you want. The 328i has smaller brake discs than do the 335i and 335d.

My tester's xDrive all-wheel drive proved unflappable, with virtually no wheelspin on icy roads. Though it transfers power as needed between the front and rear axles, it doesn't overdrive the outside rear wheels during corners like the xDrive in BMW's X6 and X5 M do. City drivers should also take note: xDrive increases the 
BMW 3 Series' turning circle from a relatively tight 36.1 feet to a so-so 38.7 feet.

 

Ride & Handling
The 335i's expert handling may not be too surprising; the fact that it rides fairly well, however, will be. Absent a sport-tuned suspension — part of sport packages offered on the rear-wheel-drive 3 Series — my test car absorbed bumps with unexpected aplomb. It's not the quietest car over potholes and expansion joints, but the rough patches never left me wishing I were driving something softer.

The steering wheel unwinds to center naturally, with none of the pockets of inexplicable numbness or sudden resistance that many European cars exhibit. It provides excellent turn-in precision and good feedback. With just a hint of understeer at the limits, the 335i displays a degree of balance that had me grinning. Though not objectionable, body roll is noticeable; those who want flatter cornering should look into a rear-wheel-drive 
BMW 3 Series with either of two available sport packages. Naturally, the sport-tuned suspension will affect ride quality.


Heavy, low-assist steering is a BMW trademark, but competitors these days — the Audi A4 jumps to mind — return similar precision with much less effort. I've grown tired of the muscle needed to park a 
BMW 3 Series. (Or, quite possibly, I've just become flabbier.) Introduced in the early 2000s, BMW's Active Steering system varies steering ratio in addition to the usual assist — and it delivers a much easier driving experience, particularly at low speeds. Optional on the rear-wheel-drive 335i, it's worth checking out.

The Inside
Cabin materials are good, with plenty of padded surfaces and tasteful metal trim. Radio and climate controls are easy to find and use, if a bit rickety in certain areas, and my test car's heated seats worked quickly. BMW's fourth-generation iDrive system, which uses a knob to control the optional navigation system, has a vastly improved interface compared with earlier iDrives. My test car's iPod-compatible CD stereo, on the other hand, delivered mediocre sound. (Logic7 surround-sound audio is an optional upgrade.)

BMW could take a page from the competition — and a number of non-luxury cars — on a few features. Sport sedans aren't known for their large storage areas, but the 3 Series' glove compartment and center console are embarrassingly small. The coupe's motorized seat belt extenders often miss the seat belts but catch other things, like my coat. The flip-out dashboard cupholders are flimsy contraptions, and one passenger complained that they intruded on her space.

The optional leather seats have supportive cushions and large enough side bolsters to hold you in place on curvy roads. The power front seats — optional on most 328i variants and standard elsewhere — have exceptional adjustment range, but taller drivers may find headroom tight.

For a two-door car, the 3 Series coupe's backseat isn't bad. Adults should find enough headroom and legroom for short trips. The Infiniti G37 coupe's backseat, in comparison, would have kids complaining about space. The sedan's backseat isn't much larger, however; as sedan backseats go, it's tight.

At 12 cubic feet, the 
BMW 3 Series sedan's trunk is small. The A4's trunk is comparable, but most others are larger, some of them considerably so. Folding rear seats are optional in the 3 Series sedan but standard in the coupe, wagon and convertible. The wagon's 16.2 cubic feet of cargo volume expands to 48.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded — more than in the sedan, but short, in some cases significantly, of similarly priced luxury wagons.

Safety & Reliability
The 3 Series sedan earned the top score, Good, in front- and side-impact crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The convertible scored Good for frontal impacts but Marginal for side impacts. IIHS cited poor torso protection for front occupants and poor head protection for rear ones. The coupe and wagon have not been tested, and both have different-enough body structures that the sedan's crash-test ratings cannot apply. No BMW 3 Series has been subjected to IIHS' latest roof-crush evaluation.


Standard safety features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and dual front and side-impact airbags. Convertibles add front knee airbags and head extensions for the side-impact airbags, while the coupe, sedan and wagon have two-row side curtain airbags. Click here for a full list of safety features.

Overall reliability for the 3 Series has been average across the board. BMW's standard warranty is competitive, but it remains one of the only automakers to include four years of free maintenance.

Features & Pricing
The 328i sedan starts at $33,150; standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control and a CD stereo with an auxiliary MP3 jack. Leather upholstery and an iPod/USB adapter are part of a no-charge Value Package on the 328i sedan and wagon; they cost extra on most other cars. Typical of a lot of European cars, you'll also have to pay extra for things like heated power seats and a moonroof.

The 335i starts at $40,600 in sedan form. The diesel-powered 335d sedan runs $43,950 but is eligible for a $900 federal tax credit. All-wheel drive, available on all but the convertible and diesel, runs about $2,000.

Other available features include iDrive and a navigation system, the automatic transmission, xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and various sport packages. The list of options is considerable; check all the boxes, and a 335i can run close to $60,000 for a rear-wheel-drive sedan alone.

3 Series in the Market
Crowd-pleaser styling, engaging performance and an array of configurations still add up to little reason to doubt the BMW 3 Series' continued popularity. The car has had credible rivals for years, however, and its faults are starting to get pesky — a sloppy manual shifter here, a tiny glove box there. The 3 Series is still a solid choice, but BMW would do well to address these things before too long.

Send Kelsey an email  

 


Latest 2010 328 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.2)
Reliability
(4.1)
Value For The Money
(4.1)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Very reliable and fun car to drive

by Dane from Ypsi, mi on August 20, 2018

The car meets and exceeds my expectations I am in love with it, and everyone one of my friends is in love with it. It is very fun to drive, and I feel very safe in it Read full review

(4.0)

Very fun and reliable

by Kaystar from Oceanside, CA on August 8, 2018

Meets all of my needs for a low price. It is fun to drive, quick, and a great daily driver. Best car I've ever owned. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 BMW 328 currently has 6 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2010 BMW 328 i

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Driver Torso
acceptable
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by BMW
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Certified Pre-Owned Elite with less than 15,000 miles; Certified Pre-Owned with less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    1 year/unlimited miles from expiration of 4-year/50,000-mile new car warranty

  • Powertrain warranty

    N/A

  • Dealer Certification Required

    196-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The 328 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker