Civic Touring vs. BMW 328i

Billy4202

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So I got back from a trip to Miami and Key West a few days ago, and thought I'd do a fun little comparison between my Civic Touring and the rental 328i I drove for a little over a week.

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Disclaimer so no one gets their feelings hurt: None of this is a knock towards the BMW.

Exterior:
The BMW has the typical aggressive character lines that is synonymous with BMW's heritage. The front fascia, flanked by gorgeous LED halo DRLs and LED low-beams, immediately hits you as a BMW trademark and makes it readily identifiable. The rest of the character lines reinforce the aggressive stance that has become the face of BMW.

The Civic is more polarizing. Some find it a bit too angular, others find it modern and sleek. I'm somewhere in between. Some angles the car looks great for the price and class; others (the rear mainly) look underdeveloped or slapped on and don't fully match the rest of the car. That being said, the Civic is more eye-catching, if only for its originality compared to the tried-and-true look of the BMW.

Winner: Tie

Interior:
The BMW has soft-touch points nearly everywhere, and the majority of them feel good. The graining could be of higher quality, but the rental had the Sensa-Tec (i.e., leatherette) vs. the Dakota Leather. The stitched leather across the entire armrest, woven fabric on the A-pillars, and higher quality woven fabric on the headliner immediately show you're no longer in the compact mainstream class. Other areas (sun visors, iDrive knob) feel low quality and are an indication of cost cutting that I didn't expect when I got in. iDrive was extremely quick to respond to inputs but was slightly distracting to use at times. The steering wheel, even though leather wrapped, felt like urethane. The Civic's is clearly better. The glovebox was felt-lined, damped, and lit, which was nice. Soft-touch plastics extend all the way down to the bottom of the door. The layout is clean and tidy, but overall, there wasn't a huge feeling that you were in a luxury car.

The Civic doesn't have as much soft-touch plastic throughout, but the graining was smoother and felt better in most points. The armrests could use a good deal more padding. I prefer the layout of the Civic a little better, being a little bit cleaner and having the more modern look to it vs. the timeless, somewhat staid look of the 3 series. Built quality is shockingly a little better than the BMW (although the latter rental had just over 10k on it). The BMW's driver door creaked over broken pavement, and parts of the door trim were wearing off. Overall, the BMW gets the slight edge here.

Winner: 328i

Power:
The BMW packs a turbo 2.0L coupled with an 8-speed auto with paddle shifters, sporting 240 HP and 255 lb-ft of torque. You can choose from Sport +, Sport, Comfort, and Eco Pro modes. This automatic was quite good at keeping the power delivery smooth and available at all times. Sport mode took this up a notch by keeping it a few gears lower for good mid-range punch and made it quick and easy to pass slower traffic with ease. The transmission is a little jerky with aggressive downshifting at every stop. This engine made the car a joy to drive.

The Civic's 1.5T obviously lacks the same power as the BMW. The CVT, while fuel efficient and delivers the power extremely smoothly and with efficiency, doesn't quite match the feeling of boost that the BMW's 8-speed would give you. That being said, as noted numerous times previously, the Civic's powerplant is plenty for everyday driving and this CVT never seems to work against you.

Winner: 328i

Fuel Economy:
The BMW's Eco Pro mode acts as a coach to try to guide you to the best MPG possible by telling you when you go over a set speed, and dulling the throttle and A/C as the Civic does. The auto start-stop feature helps with city MPG, but with A/C on it can't stay engaged for too long before coming back to a harsh and annoying jolt. This feature quickly got turned off. Was able to achieve low 40s for a short stretch of 45-55 MPG road; average for the week was in the upper 20s (EPA is 24/36).

The Civic has been well documented here to achieve excellent fuel economy. I keep Econ mode off and my lifetime MPG per the car is 41.5. Highway MPG is significantly higher than the BMW; mixed driving proves the same. City driving is slightly more on par, but the Civic can still eek out of a few more MPG.

Winner: Civic

Ride/Handling:
Being RWD and sporting Pirelli Cinturato P7s, the BMW wins in the handling department. Steering feel is fairly dull, but there is quick turn-in and effort appropriately picks up as speed increases, although highway driving could be somewhat jittery with too many corrections required to maintain a straight line. The BMW's ride is firm yet complaint over all but the most broken of pavement.

The Civic handles quite well, but its clearly let down by the tires. An appropriate replacement could do wonders for the car's handling. Body lean is kept in check nearly as good as the BMW. The steering feels a little more natural the the BMW, and the quick turn-in matches the BMW. The Civic loses compared to the BMW's ability to handle at higher speeds. The Civic feels like far fewer corrections are required on the highway, making it an easier companion for longer cruises. The Civic also has a more complaint and quiet highway ride, and combined with the smoothness of the CVT, makes a better ride to soak up the miles.

Winner: Civic

Price/Value:
The BMW was specced out at roughly $42k; base is $38 and change. While there are some features that the Civic could use, such as power folding mirrors, memory seats, and power lumbar, the 328i doesn't fully feel like a luxury car for the price; its more of a daily drivable sport sedan. The BMW lacks all of the driving aids, heated front and rear seats, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, navigation, a large screen, and an upgraded stereo. Optioned out to Civic-spec is just slightly north of $49k; although this includes other features such as Park Distance Control (front and rear sensors) and a heated steering wheel. At $27k, the Civic provides a lot of value and a good deal more features.

Winner: Civic

Overall: BMW = 2.5; Civic = 3.5

TL;DR - While the Civic is clearly not in the same class as the 328i, the '16 upgrade has primed Honda for success; it should remain a class leader for some time to come.





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Thanks for that well-written comparison. As the higher level trim Civics move upmarket, it's interesting to see how they compare to a member of the old guard. Good looking pictures, too.
 

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So I got back from a trip to Miami and Key West a few days ago, and thought I'd do a fun little comparison between my Civic Touring and the rental 328i I drove for a little over a week.

qq225u.jpg


30rxkpj.jpg


Disclaimer so no one gets their feelings hurt: None of this is a knock towards the BMW.

Exterior:
The BMW has the typical aggressive character lines that is synonymous with BMW's heritage. The front fascia, flanked by gorgeous LED halo DRLs and LED low-beams, immediately hits you as a BMW trademark and makes it readily identifiable. The rest of the character lines reinforce the aggressive stance that has become the face of BMW.

The Civic is more polarizing. Some find it a bit too angular, others find it modern and sleek. I'm somewhere in between. Some angles the car looks great for the price and class; others (the rear mainly) look underdeveloped or slapped on and don't fully match the rest of the car. That being said, the Civic is more eye-catching, if only for its originality compared to the tried-and-true look of the BMW.

Winner: Tie

Interior:
The BMW has soft-touch points nearly everywhere, and the majority of them feel good. The graining could be of higher quality, but the rental had the Sensa-Tec (i.e., leatherette) vs. the Dakota Leather. The stitched leather across the entire armrest, woven fabric on the A-pillars, and higher quality woven fabric on the headliner immediately show you're no longer in the compact mainstream class. Other areas (sun visors, iDrive knob) feel low quality and are an indication of cost cutting that I didn't expect when I got in. iDrive was extremely quick to respond to inputs but was slightly distracting to use at times. The steering wheel, even though leather wrapped, felt like urethane. The Civic's is clearly better. The glovebox was felt-lined, damped, and lit, which was nice. Soft-touch plastics extend all the way down to the bottom of the door. The layout is clean and tidy, but overall, there wasn't a huge feeling that you were in a luxury car.

The Civic doesn't have as much soft-touch plastic throughout, but the graining was smoother and felt better in most points. The armrests could use a good deal more padding. I prefer the layout of the Civic a little better, being a little bit cleaner and having the more modern look to it vs. the timeless, somewhat staid look of the 3 series. Built quality is shockingly a little better than the BMW (although the latter rental had just over 10k on it). The BMW's driver door creaked over broken pavement, and parts of the door trim were wearing off. Overall, the BMW gets the slight edge here.

Winner: 328i

Power:
The BMW packs a turbo 2.0L coupled with an 8-speed auto with paddle shifters, sporting 240 HP and 255 lb-ft of torque. You can choose from Sport +, Sport, Comfort, and Eco Pro modes. This automatic was quite good at keeping the power delivery smooth and available at all times. Sport mode took this up a notch by keeping it a few gears lower for good mid-range punch and made it quick and easy to pass slower traffic with ease. The transmission is a little jerky with aggressive downshifting at every stop. This engine made the car a joy to drive.

The Civic's 1.5T obviously lacks the same power as the BMW. The CVT, while fuel efficient and delivers the power extremely smoothly and with efficiency, doesn't quite match the feeling of boost that the BMW's 8-speed would give you. That being said, as noted numerous times previously, the Civic's powerplant is plenty for everyday driving and this CVT never seems to work against you.

Winner: 328i

Fuel Economy:
The BMW's Eco Pro mode acts as a coach to try to guide you to the best MPG possible by telling you when you go over a set speed, and dulling the throttle and A/C as the Civic does. The auto start-stop feature helps with city MPG, but with A/C on it can't stay engaged for too long before coming back to a harsh and annoying jolt. This feature quickly got turned off. Was able to achieve low 40s for a short stretch of 45-55 MPG road; average for the week was in the upper 20s (EPA is 24/36).

The Civic has been well documented here to achieve excellent fuel economy. I keep Econ mode off and my lifetime MPG per the car is 41.5. Highway MPG is significantly higher than the BMW; mixed driving proves the same. City driving is slightly more on par, but the Civic can still eek out of a few more MPG.

Winner: Civic

Ride/Handling:
Being RWD and sporting Pirelli Cinturato P7s, the BMW wins in the handling department. Steering feel is fairly dull, but there is quick turn-in and effort appropriately picks up as speed increases, although highway driving could be somewhat jittery with too many corrections required to maintain a straight line. The BMW's ride is firm yet complaint over all but the most broken of pavement.

The Civic handles quite well, but its clearly let down by the tires. An appropriate replacement could do wonders for the car's handling. Body lean is kept in check nearly as good as the BMW. The steering feels a little more natural the the BMW, and the quick turn-in matches the BMW. The Civic loses compared to the BMW's ability to handle at higher speeds. The Civic feels like far fewer corrections are required on the highway, making it an easier companion for longer cruises. The Civic also has a more complaint and quiet highway ride, and combined with the smoothness of the CVT, makes a better ride to soak up the miles.

Winner: Civic

Price/Value:
The BMW was specced out at roughly $42k; base is $38 and change. While there are some features that the Civic could use, such as power folding mirrors, memory seats, and power lumbar, the 328i doesn't fully feel like a luxury car for the price; its more of a daily drivable sport sedan. The BMW lacks all of the driving aids, heated front and rear seats, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, navigation, a large screen, and an upgraded stereo. Optioned out to Civic-spec is just slightly north of $49k; although this includes other features such as Park Distance Control (front and rear sensors) and a heated steering wheel. At $27k, the Civic provides a lot of value and a good deal more features.

Winner: Civic

Overall: BMW = 2.5; Civic = 3.5

TL;DR - While the Civic is clearly not in the same class as the 328i, the '16 upgrade has primed Honda for success; it should remain a class leader for some time to come.
I'm sorry but that Bimmer is ugly..I'd rather own the Civic sedan..But I have the coupe..and looks way better than that Bimmer..Lol..Just sayin..Not all Bimmers are created equal that's for sure.. I wouldn't plop that $$$$ on that 328i. Looks play apart in it too...Noooooot...:D
 

David Harper

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My dream car has always been an M3.
 

bigjee

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I actually think the BMW handles better than the Civic (drove both). The brakes are damn good on the BMW also.
You missed out on build quality which the BMW also wins hands down (inconsistent panel gaps, misalignment, pillar dents, sub-woofer rattles, crappy infotainment system are major on the civicX).
Yeah I can see where the extra 8 grand went.

On the plus side: Resale on the civic will be way better along with the low after-sales regular maintenance cost
 
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greyclocked

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I actually think the BMW handles better than the Civic (drove both). The brakes are damn good on the BMW also.
You missed out on build quality which the BMW also wins hands down (inconsistent panel gaps, misalignment, pillar dents, sub-woofer rattles, crappy infotainment system are major on the civicX).
Yeah I can see where the extra 8 grand went.

On the plus side: Resale on the civic will be way better along with the low after-sales regular maintenance cost

Agree 100%. I am a proud civic owner, but it does not do well when you compare it against a car which has such a substantial history of luxury and refinement behind it. The civic is amazing for the fuel economy, but trim, power, steering, etc are all much more impressive with both of the major euro exporters (BENZ & BMW). Now Audi on the other hand.......
 

hector

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So I got back from a trip to Miami and Key West a few days ago, and thought I'd do a fun little comparison between my Civic Touring and the rental 328i I drove for a little over a week..
Well, apropos to this discussion, my short list for my next vehicle consists of the bmw 230i, with at least the wheel/tire upgrade and possibly either the m sport or track handling package, and the 10th gen Si. At least these will be similarly performing and closer in price vehicles, which could make for an interesting comparison, notwithstanding their obvious differences.
 

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