With the arrival of the CTS Sport Wagon and a coupe model in the near future, Cadillac is setting the stage for a product lineup much more closely mimicking that of BMW's 3 Series. For decades, BMW has spread its engineering costs over several 3 Series body styles and capitalized on the recognition and reputation of the mainstream sedan. The wagons, convertibles, and coupes may not sell in the same volumes as the 3 Series sedan, but each one certainly plays a role in BMW's business. We drove a 2009 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon to see how the golden standard of the sport sedan world translated into a wagon.
The sedan's sibling
Even if a 3 Series wagon is a relatively rare sight, the compact wagon is instantly recognizable. That's because the body's lines are almost identical to the much more common sedan. In both cases, the cars have been on sale for three years now, and while the design is still true to BMW's corporate look, it could hardly be called eye-catching.
Our 3 Series wagon wore dark Monaco blue paint and optional 17-inch wheels. For an extra $800, our test car was equipped with Xenon headlamps that did a great job illuminating the road. Even better than the high-intensity discharge lamps, though, was the standard adaptive lighting feature that swivels the lights as you turn the steering wheel.
Luxury, plain and simple
The wagon we drove was treated to leather seats and door panels in a rich saddle brown accented with dark walnut trim. The leather came as part of the $3350 premium package, which also includes Bluetooth, power front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, a digital compass, and a universal garage door opener. That seems like a hefty price tag for some trivial equipment, but the beautiful leather is certainly something we'd want if we were purchasing a 328i. Combined with the black surfaces of the dash, console, and carpeting, the finely grained leather creates a luxurious environment.
Tech that's expected
BMW offers a full range of technology in the 328i Sports Wagon. The list of standard and available features offers few surprises, but does include everything you could expect or want. Navigation costs an extra $2100 and includes the company's iDrive infotainment controller. Additional options on our test car included satellite radio, an iPod adapter, keyless ignition, dynamic cruise control, and park assist.