BMW 320i vs 328i Conundrum: A Quick Guide To Clear The Confusion

If you are thinking of scoring one  between BMW 320i vs 328i, it’s better to be aware of their strong points to see which one makes more practical and financial sense.

BMW is famous for manufacturing luxury automobiles. But, they also have a few models like the 3 Series with relatively lower prices to make BMWs accessible to all ranges of consumers. 

Two such vehicles are BMW 320i and BMW 328i. These family sedans offer plenty of premium features and advanced technical facilities. However, there are still differences when you compare BMW 320i vs 328i

BMW 3 Series History

The BMW 3 Series is one of the German automaker’s best-known models. Since its launch in 1975, it has been the most popular product in the brand’s repertoire. 

Customers that stuck with the brand liked it generation after generation. BMW debuted the sixth version of the Series 3 in May of 2015. 

It was a fitting testament to the brand’s durability and BMW’s ability to implement required adjustments and enhancements in order to fulfill the needs of fans all around the world.

The introduction of the first BMW 3 Series ushered in a new era of small sporting automobiles. It was a successful replacement for the BMW 2002 Coupe. 

The 1975 E21 was released in North American markets, and production began in 1976, with the first cars completed and offered as 1977 models. This sedan, also known as the 320i, was the only one of its sort built for the American market at the time. 

The 2.0L 4-cylinder engine in the 320i impressed. The 320i takes up substantially more road space than the previously discontinued 02 (also from BMW). 

The dimensions were 171.5″ in length, 63.4″ in width, 54.3″ in height, and 100.9″ in wheelbase. People readily recognized it as a viable alternative to the well-known BMW 02.

bmw 3 series history
The BMW 3 Series is one of the German automaker’s best-known models. (Photo: Fabian Kirchbauer)

The BMW 3 series is a reminder of its classic art motion and innovation in the most recent market. The new models from 2018 to 2020 are doing well in the market. 

BMW is largely focused on economy and comfort, as well as improved handling and performance, to keep the lineup’s appeal at an all-time high.

The BMW 3 series has had a long and magnificent trip, but they are not yet finished. For updating new editions, innovative technology is becoming the regular style of operation.

BMW 320i vs 328i: Which One Is the Better Choice?

Both models are optimized for yielding sporty performance on the road. They are equipped with a robust turbocharged engine and STEPTRONIC automatic transmission.

Even if you are not especially finicky about the distinctions between them, we recommend that you have a general understanding of them in order to determine which may be more suited to your needs.

Some features are available in one car but not in the other. At the end of the day, these minor adjustments have a significant impact. 

You can make your decision based on the following aspects:

1. Exterior & Interior

The interior is almost similar featuring the SensaTec upholstery for all the seats that resists abrasion, staining, and other common forms of damage. 

They have Advanced Vehicle & Key Memory that remembers your preferred settings and adjusts the climate control system according to the variables.

The 328i model is up for several customizing options including original Dakota leather, shiny metallic inlays, and Ash Grain wood.

bmw 320i vs 328i
The 320i is a budget-friendly, practical choice. (Photo: Car And Driver)

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2. Engine Performance

In the BMW 320i vs 328i comparison, the second one will be the winner in this category. 

The 320i has a powerful 2.0L TwinPower turbo engine that runs at a maximum of 180hp and 200 pound-feet of torque. The 328i also runs on a 2.0L turbo engine but its maximum outputs are 240hp and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Both models have the STEPTRONIC automatic transmission with another option for a six-speed manual gearbox.

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3. Fuel Economy

The 320i leaves the 328i behind by a narrow margin. Compared to the 328i’s 23/35 mileage for city/highway, the 320i runs one mile more in each category. 

It is a slight difference and is unlikely to be noticeable in everyday driving.

4. Technology

The 320i is equipped with a premium Hi-Fi sound system that can blast up to 205 watts. It is connected to SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD Radio, and a bunch of other radio channels. 

The audio system in 328i is slightly better with the Harman Kardon audio system. Its noise-reducing feature works great for yielding high-quality acoustics.

bmw 320i vs bmw 328i
The 328i has cutting-edge features. (Photo: Pinterest)

Additionally, the 328i model boasts of advanced features such as a cutting-edge GPS Navigation featuring a touchpad instead of a touchscreen.

5. Safety features

The BMW 320i has adaptive brake lights as a standard feature. It has additional safety features including automatic headlight control and a brake drying system.

The BMW 328i also gets some new safety measures. A spot detection system and adjustable headlights are included.

6. Price

Both 320i and 328i are trim levels of the BMW 3 Series. The 320i is the basic trim that costs slightly less than $36,000 while the 328i is almost $6,000 more.

FAQs on BMW 320i vs 328i

1. Why is the BMW 328i so popular?

The BMW 328i has earned its popularity through a combination of factors that make it a standout in the automotive landscape. Its powerful yet efficient engine, balanced handling, and luxurious interior contribute to its allure.

The 328i seamlessly blends performance with comfort, offering a driving experience that appeals to a wide range of drivers.

2. Is the BMW 320i a fast car?

The BMW 320i, while not the fastest in the 3 Series lineup, still offers impressive acceleration and speed.

Powered by a capable engine, the 320i can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable time, making it an enjoyable car for both daily commuting and spirited driving.

3. Which is the most reliable year for the BMW 328i?

Reliability is a crucial aspect of any vehicle, and the BMW 328i has shown commendable reliability over the years. While variations may exist, many experts consider the model years from 2012 to 2015 as some of the most reliable for the 328i.

These years exhibit a balance between modern features and a reduced likelihood of major issues.

4. What should I choose between 320i and 330i?

When deciding between the BMW 320i and 330i, it’s essential to consider your priorities. The 320i offers a more budget-friendly option with decent performance and luxury features.

On the other hand, the 330i delivers a higher level of performance with a more potent engine. Your choice depends on whether you prioritize affordability or exhilarating driving dynamics.

BMW 320i and 330i
When deciding between the BMW 320i and 330i, it’s essential to consider your priorities. (Photo: Kovar)

5. Is the BMW 320i reliable?

The reliability of the BMW 320i can be attributed to BMW’s engineering expertise and commitment to quality.

While individual experiences may vary, the 320i generally proves to be a dependable vehicle, especially when properly maintained. Regular maintenance and timely service can significantly enhance the longevity and reliability of the 320i.

The Verdict

Considering the features and performance of the BMW 320i vs 328i, the first one seems to be a reasonable choice.

It is a practical family sedan that stays true to BMW standards. Also, you will save a good amount of money.

However, if budget is not a problem to you , the 328i is a better choice for its noticeable extra horsepower and added features.