328i Vs. 328xi BMW

by Andy Joseph
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Currently in its fifth generation, the BMW 3-Series comprises more than a dozen vehicles that differ from one another in body structure and technical specifications. Most of them are numbered 328 or 335, with a letter or two placed next to each number to denote the differences between the models. Thus, even though the 328i and 328xi, for example, have many similarities, they differ in certain aspects.

Pricing and Warranty

The 328i and 328xi are similar in price range ($30,000+), although the latter is a little more expensive. Each comes with a basic drivetrain and full-maintenance, four-year/50,000-mile warranty. They also are covered by 12-year/unlimited-mile and four-year/unlimited-mile warranties for corrosion and roadside assistance, respectively.

Interior and Exterior

Both the 328i and 328xi have power door locks, power mirrors, power steering and power windows, along with other features like cruise control, front and rear A/Cs, bucket vinyl seats, wood grain trim, rain-sensing intermittent wipers, keyless entry, HID headlights and fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheels that can be adjusted, anti-theft systems and premium sound systems with AM/FM stereo tuners and CD/MP3 players. Although they are both available as coupes or sedans, the 328i can also be purchased as a convertible.

Engine and Fuel Economy

The 328i has slightly better fuel economy than the 328xi, but both models boast the same 3.0-liter, inline 6-cylinder engine with 230 horsepower. They also come with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, though an automatic is available for both as well.

Safety Features

Each model has airbags by the driver's seat (head), the passenger side and flanking the rear seats of the car. Additionally, they have aluminum wheels with four-wheel disc breaks and ABS (Anti-lock Braking Systems), plus traction control and stability control.


The main difference between the 328i and the 328xi lies in the drivetrain--all the power-transmitting components responsible for making the car move. The 328i uses rear-wheel drive (RWD), which means that the vehicle uses only the rear wheels to move. In contrast, the 328xi uses all-wheel drive (AWD), which means the car's four wheels are driven by the engine all the time. That explains why there is an "x" preceding the "i": it stands for BMW's four-wheel drive system, the BMW xDrive. This system is also used in BMW's sports utility vehicles.

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