Friday, October 17, 2014

2014 BMW 328i First 500 Miles

2014 BMW 328i First 500 Miles

The Good

My previous BMW 328ix (Alex) averaged just under 21 MPG over 27,000 miles. Not bad for an xDrive used for a boring commute from Woodinville, WA to Redmond, WA. Alex didn't get a lot of freeway miles, so performance was pretty solid. 

The new 2014 BMW 328 has averaged out at 24.5 MPG. I have been hot-rodding a bit, and Texas roads speeds are much higher (even in town). Gas prices in Round Rock (Austin, TX) have been under $3.00 for awhile and this morning they dropped below $2.70/gal for regular. The 17% increase in fuel economy is pretty nice.

Review: The First 100 Miles
Review: 2011 328i xDrive aka Alex

Driving in Sport Mode is amazing.  

We took a short freeway run on IH-35 and the ride was scary. Scary, in that the BMW felt like it was doing 45... when we were (a bit) north of 70 MPH.

One of Alex's attributes was that she was not much fun to drive at 25 MPG, especially in parking lots and in crowded neighborhoods. At freeway speeds she was great, and at Texas Toll Road speeds (85 MPH) she was a joy to drive. Once the new plates arrive we're going to drive to San Antonio, and see if the new car can fly.

The Bad

ECO-Mode is still icky, although it is growing on me. Now that morning and evening temperatures have fallen, the reduced air-conditioning in ECO-Mode is more tolerable. Acceleration is non-existent, gear shifts are frequent, and the ride is econo-car. But, picking up the kids at school and driving through the neighborhood doesn't require more than a Corolla, and ECO-Mode effectively renders the 328i into a Corolla.

The Ugly AS/S

Texas uses flashing yellow lights to allow left turns. Roll out, pick your spot, accelerate, and you're on your way. The Auto-Start/Stop (AS/S) complicates this process alot. In addition to the calculation of on-coming car speed, and my ability to move through the turn, I now have to factor in AS/S. I've already worked on strategies to defeat it (shift to Sport mode, never come to a complete stop, lift the foot slightly off the brake). AS/S is very aggressive in ECO-Mode, so the calculation of Corolla like acceleration needs to be added to the momentary AS/S restart.

The Bottom Line

I denied the idea that  the new Turbo-4 couldn't compete with the inline-6.  I was angry that BMW would tinker with the engines, suspension, and drive characteristics that made Alex such a great ride. I struggled with keeping Alex... for days, trying to find a way to justify the purchase of an all-wheel drive 20MPG sedan in Texas.  

[Wikipedia Article]: K├╝bler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief, is a series of emotional stages experienced when faced with impending death or death of someone. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

I'm finally coming out of depression, and into a reluctant acceptance that the new BMW (still unnamed) is a very different car, and is a good car.

Not a great car, yet... but you never forget your first.


P.S. Elle Driver, from Kill Bill is currently at the top of the list, although the lobotomizing Matilda Ratched, RN is still in the hunt (Maybe Elle in Sport mode and Matilda in Eco-Mode)?

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