Car and Driver - Online, by Justin Berkowitz
The EPA just released fuel-economy ratings for the recently debuted 2012 BMW 3-series, and the numbers are very impressive-and not just for the luxury sports-sedan segment. The 328i, which is powered by a turbocharged 240-hp four-cylinder engine, is rated at 24 mpg city and 36 highway when equipped with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission. The 328i is rated at 23/34 with the six-speed manual.
These are, frankly, great numbers. You can see how the 328i's fuel economy compares to other competitive vehicles in the chart below, but let's compare apples to oranges for a moment: The Toyota Corolla, which has a great reputation for being frugal, is motivated by a 1.8-liter four with just 132 hp and is rated at 26 mpg city/34 highway when equipped with a four-speed automatic.
Even the turbocharged six-cylinder 335i has done well by the EPA's yardstick. At 23 mpg city/33 highway, Bimmer's 300-hp sports sedan betters most everything in its class. (That's for the car with the autobox; figures for the stick-shifted 335i drop to 20/30.) The automatic 335i makes the dual-clutch-equipped Audi S4 (18/28) look like a thirsty pig in contrast, and the BMW even trounces the heavier-but diesel-drinking-Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec, which is rated at 21/32.
We know a diesel engine is coming to the 3-series, and a hybrid will be out soon. But with numbers like these, we have to ask whether these alternative powertrains are worth the cost-for BMW or for future consumers. Look for our complete instrumented test of the 335i soon.