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 |  Jan 31 2014, 11:01 AM

BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon

Suggestion #1

Information Card -- BMW 328i xDrive Sports WagonFirst up, a taste of Bavaria, and I don’t mean beer and bratwurst. BMW waves the blue-and-white banner for this southwest German state. Believe it or not there’s a suitably useful and efficient Ultimate Driving Machine that could serve Gavin’s needs like a top-notch waiter at a fancy restaurant (to really labor the food reference above).

The 328i xDrive Sports Wagon is a grocery getter with the refinement, driving dynamics and prestige to give us the vapors. It’s an alluring package that’s as fun to toss around as it is practical; think of it as a youthful Pamela Anderson that’s actually good at something other than attracting second glances.

Despite the “28” suffix, this model is powered by a smooth and snarly 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It pumps out an even 240 horsepower and is paired with a technically advanced eight-speed automatic transmission. Torque is delivered to all four corners through BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system for ample traction in every weather condition.

2014-BMW-328i-xDrive-Sports-Wagon-Rear

On the efficiency front this car delivers the goods. Around town it ought to return 22 mpg; on the highway that figure increases to 33. Combined it averages 26 mpg.

SEE ALSO: Real World Fuel Economy Database

Base price for all of this Bavarian goodness is right about $42,500, including $925 for delivery. With a non-metallic paint job, which limits you to either black or white – BMW loves to charge extra for even basic colors ,– seats covered in the company’s “Sensatec” leatherette material as well as a couple invaluable options this car checks out at $45,500. That’s past our 45-grand limit, but if Gavin switches from Lucky Strikes and rolls his own cigarettes for a while, making up the difference shouldn’t be too hard. We’d explain the smoking reference, but you probably wouldn’t understand.

The abovementioned extras include a navigation system, which adds $2,150 to the bottom line as well as a monster 16-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system. The upgraded audio technology is a mere bagatelle at just $875.

Of course as a luxury car the 328i xDrive Sports Wagon comes with all kinds of standard niceties. Drivers are treated to eight-way power front seats, dynamic cruise control, automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, to name but a handful of its highly desirable features.

This BMW delivers the goods… literally. It’s got a wide-open cargo space that’s perfect for schlepping all kinds of large or misshapen cargo (it’s a wagon after all). If it were only a better value we might not even suggest alternatives.