2012 BMW 3 Series

Saying automotive journalists like diesel sedans is like arguing the color pink is going to do well with the 5-year-old-girl demographic this quarter. You're not going to find too many dissenting voices. So, it should be no surprise that we love ourselves some BMW 335d. With plenty of power and impressive fuel economy, the outgoing diesel is a mechanical wonder child. And yet, thanks to the new F30-generation BMW 328i, with its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, there's some competition for the title of most fuel efficient 3 Series.

Admittedly, the 328i's numbers are a far cry from the 265 ponies and 425 lb-ft of torque cranked out by the diesel-fueled 3.0-liter inline six in the 335d. Even so, the 2012 328i is considerably lighter and more aerodynamic. It also boasts a next-generation transmission, which helps the car get to 60 mph one tenth of a second quicker than the old 335d. That's surprising, but not nearly as surprising as the fact that the 328i manages 1 mpg better than the diesel in the combined cycle. According to the EPA's just-released figures, the 328i nets 24 miles per gallon in the city and an impressive 36 mpg on the highway. The 335i? 23 mpg city and 36 highway.

We'll give you a moment to pick up your jaw from the floor. Now all BMW needs to do, as Automobile points out, is drop a diesel four-cylinder behind the headlights of the 3 Series to go after even bigger green credentials. Fingers crossed.