Cars and Bids Bargain of the Week: 2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon

Unless you’re really into off-roading and towing, wagons are often better than SUVs for those seeking luxury cars. And thanks to depreciation, a premium wagon doesn’t necessarily have to cost a fortune. A great example of this is this week’s Cars and Bids bargain: a 2011 BMW E91 328i Sports Wagon.

The BMW E91 328i Sports Wagon gives you E90 dynamics with more practicality

A gray 2009 E91 BMW 3 Series Wagon parked by an lake among green rocky hills
2009 E91 BMW 3 Series Wagon | BMW

First, a bit of explanation. Starting with the fifth-gen 2006-2011 E90 3 Series, BMW differentiated between body styles with different codes, Automobile reports. So, while the sedan is an E90, BMW called the contemporary wagon ‘E91.’

But, while the wagon weighs a bit more than the sedan, they share a chassis, Car and Driver and Road & Track report. Which, given that the E90/E91/E92/E93 3 Series is one of the most reliable used BMWs you can get, is a good thing.

Besides sharing a platform, the BMW E91 wagon shares its powertrain with the other E90-gen models, Car and Driver reports. For the 328i Sports Wagon, that means a 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 230 hp and 200 lb-ft, linked to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, Autoweek reports. And, like the sedan, BMW offered the 328i Sports Wagon in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive form.

Some BMW fans refer to the E90-gen 3 Series as one of the brand’s “last true great drivers [sic] cars,” BMW Tuning reports. And despite the weight penalty, the wagon is no different, MotorTrend reports.

The rear 3/4 view of a gray 2009 E91 BMW 335d Wagon driving around a mountain road corner
2009 E91 BMW 335d Wagon rear 3/4 | BMW

The BMW 328i Sports Wagon combines excellent handling with a comfortable ride, Autoweek reports. And while its steering can be slightly heavy at low speeds, it provides plenty of feedback, Automobile reports. More so than the succeeding F30’s steering does, in fact, R&T reports. The E91 BMW 328i is simply a rewarding wagon to drive, Car and Driver reports.

Plus, the E91 BMW 328i is still a luxury car. The seats are supportive and comfortable, and “interior quality is high,” Autoweek reports. It also came standard with traction and stability control, MT reports. And the inline-six engine is both “fantastic” to listen to and very smooth, Car and Driver reports.

The 2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon on Cars and Bids

A dark-green 2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon on a forest gravel path
2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon | Cars and Bids

Considering it has 83,500 miles on the clock, the 2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon currently listed on Cars and Bids is in good shape. The only flaws are a few exterior chips and scratches. And apart from wheel spacers, it’s basically stock.

This BMW 328i Sports Wagon is also well-equipped. In addition to the leather seats and walnut trim, it has auto-dimming mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, power-operated front seats with adjustable lumbar support, and a stereo with Bluetooth and an iPod/USB adapter. The wagon also has a built-in compass and BMW’s Homelink system, which functions as a garage-door opener. And it rides on the optional Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.

An overhead view of a 2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon's beige-leather front seats, walnut trim, and black dashboard
2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon front interior | Cars and Bids

Cars and Bids notes that this 2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon has an accident-free history and service records from new. The seller also recently changed the oil and recharged the A/C system. Plus, the wagon’s oil-pan gasket and left-rear wheel bearing were replaced before the seller acquired it.

But perhaps this wagon’s biggest draw is its powertrain. This is a RWD 2011 wagon with a manual. That’s a configuration BMW didn’t offer with the E91’s successor, the F31, Car and Driver reports. Plus, the F31 didn’t offer an inline-six engine.

It’s a fun, bargain luxury car with a reliable engine

The rear view of a dark-green 2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon's beige-leather interior with its rear seats folded
2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon rear interior | Cars and Bids

Do You Really Need an SUV? or Should You Get a Wagon or Minivan Instead?

As of this writing, this 2011 BMW 328i Sports Wagon is listed on Cars and Bids at $8000 with four days left in the auction. Considering it originally cost almost $40k, that’s a significant savings. Plus, while the 328i’s N52 inline-six engine isn’t perfect, it’s one of the most reliable used BMW engines.

The current $8000 price is also somewhat below-average. It’s not uncommon to see BMW E91s going for twice that on Bring a Trailer, especially ones with manuals. That’s because a RWD, manual BMW wagon is a rare version of an already somewhat-rare car. As of this writing, I couldn’t locate any manual, RWD E91s on Autotrader.

In short, this BMW E91 is a fun-to-drive, budget, premium unicorn.

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