With the price of everything a touch more expensive North of the border, BMW offers several lower cost options to Canadians looking to get behind the wheel of the ultimate driving machine. Included on the list are the 323i Sedan as well as another vehicle, and one that we recently had the chance to test, the X3 xDrive28i.
Powered by a similar engine to the one found on the xDrive30i, the entry-level 28i model makes substantially less power at just 215-hp and 185 ft-lbs of torque. For the record, that's 45-hp ad 40 ft-lbs less than the xDrive30i. Combined with a six-speed automatic transmission with auto-shifting feature there's enough power on call for daily commuting, but a noticeable absence of grunt when getting on the highway. BMW lists the 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time as 8.9 seconds, almost a second and a half off the pace of the 265-hp model. Adding to the lackluster appeal of the 28i is the fact that average fuel economy is essentially spot-on compared to the more powerful engine option with improved city mileage but worse highway mileage.
The trade off, however, is likely the ability to afford a BMW, with the xDrive28i one of the least expensive BMWs on the market. In Canadian dollars, it's $6,000 less than the 30i model at $39,900. It's also one of just three vehicles to undercut the $40,000 mark in Canada, a list that also includes the $35,800 ($29,150 USD) 128i Coupe and the $34,900 323i Sedan.
This might be a reasonable compromise were the downgrades just limited to under the hood. They aren't.
More: 2010 BMW X3 xDrive28i Review