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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 117 Comments
      Matt
      • 2 Years Ago
      In the real world, the diesel is going to do better. Its a well known fact that often times diesel's get better real world mpg than they do in the EPA test. With normal petrol engines, not so much. And I'd still take 450+ lbs of torque. That is, if price wasn't an option... Both of these do muchhhh better than my 2006 330ci vert with ZHP...averaging 24mpg :(. Thats why I keep the 99 civic coupe around
        graphikzking
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matt
        They do much better if you live in the surburbs. My buddy has a passat diesel and when driving in/around Philadelphia - especially downtown he can't average more that like 27-28 for a trip. While the prius will average about 51mpg. Now when he drives around my area - suburban - he regularly gets a great deal better than epa figures. Now diesel with a start/stop program if viable would be ideal. Otherwise for the majority of city population - the diesel would be too expensive. It's slower than the 328, more expensive fuels in most of our cities, and less available (a good deal of gas stations - the diesel is MUCH older pumps or none at all). Wish BMW would make a small diesel pickup with start/stop - then I'd buy it. Diesel does well with more weight. Doesn't seem to affect the gas mileage as much as a gas engine.
      Sik68
      • 2 Years Ago
      Typo: "The 335i? 23 mpg city and 36 highway." Pretty sure you meant 335d
      mkM3
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree with Automobile - they could really use a four cylinder diesel option in the US. The new engine in the 525d is awesome - 215hp for a 2L four cylinder diesel. They should drop that into the F30, and then bring it over here. Unfortunately, though, they appear to be more focused on the ActiveHybrid than the diesel for the US. The AH is nice, but they should really have offered it with the four cylinder N20, or even better, coupled with the afore-mentioned new diesel.
        Tweaker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mkM3
        If that is true about the HP of the 4 cyl diesel, what's the point. It less than the 4 cyl gasser.
      Ak74
      • 2 Years Ago
      Get a diesel if you have a boat to pull with your 450ft-lb
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ak74
        [blocked]
      timber
      • 2 Years Ago
      The F10 525d already has the 2 liter 218 hp engine you are asking for. That engine will surelly show up in the F30. That and the already available 320d (184 hp), 320d ED (163 hp), 318d (143 hp) and 316d (116hp) make a pretty good diesel lineup.
      rayhondafan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I drove the X1 with the same engine and the initial hesitation when you smash the gas pedal is definitely out of character of a Bimmer when you compare it to the smooth in-line 6. On-top of that deficiency, BMW priced the new 328 $3000-$4000 more than the in-line 6 2011 328. The poor reliability of the BMW turbo engines, according to the Consumer Reports, together with poor drivability, make one rush to the BMW stores to get the last 2011 328 with the smooth 6 cylinder. On-the other hand, the new engine shames the Audi's "lump of steel" turbo 4 completely. Audi has to catch up now in the engine department to make its A4 competitive.
      Matt
      • 2 Years Ago
      When I read that the "335i" would get 36 mpg (according to this post) my jaw did actually drop. Too bad that should have read "335d", I was about ready to ring BMW for a new car; 36 hwy in a 335i would be a ridiculously epic win. Heck, 36 mpg in a 3-series anything is already very very good.
        me
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matt
        It's 33 for 335i, they made a typo.
        me
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matt
        It's 33 for 335i, they made a typo.
      lramos1818
      • 2 Years Ago
      The number for 335i fuel economy is wrong. It is 33 mpg highway.
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      This pretty amazing compared to the older generation which gave 28mpg highway.
      spy4
      • 2 Years Ago
      And the Diesel options cost 10K more. Why would someone buy a Diesel?
        NightFlight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @spy4
        Torque, range, longevity, powerband. Shall I go on?
          wepaydeductible.ca
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          if you could go on....then please. But you can't.
          erjhe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          They don't need to go on, they've said enough. If you want more, however: efficiency. BMW is not comparing apples to apples here. They've got a well tuned, but fairly restrained 2 liter gas engine compared against their high strung 3 liter diesel. Put the gasser up against a comparable diesel and the diesel will be the winner. I wouldn't have thought it'd be necessary to point out that it's not even a comparable car. Stick a diesel in this "lighter, more aerodynamic" chassis and see what it does.
        erjhe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @spy4
        Actually, if you had bothered to spend 5 minutes of your time before SWAGing a number, you'd find that the 335i costs $42400 and the 335d is $44150. That's $1750 in case you're too lazy to pick up a calculator too.
        atc98092
        • 2 Years Ago
        @spy4
        Perhaps because it doesn't cost 10k more? Most manufacturers load their diesel models with extras that cost more to halp pad the cost of the engine. Compare a 335i with a 335d and the difference was more like 2k. Same with VW and Mercedes. In fact the E350 Bluetec is only $1200 US more than the E350 gas.
      MiddleClassMotoring
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well - that's not quite fair. The 335d was supposed to be a "performance" model. Let's try this against a 4 cylinder diesel. Also - for some reason, the diesel models tend to achieve greater than EPA estimates on hwy ... just my .02.
        Tarantula
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MiddleClassMotoring
        Correct but the point made here is performance similarities (0-60 time) and efficiency......
          Krishan Mistry
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Tarantula
          0-60 isnt the strong point of any diesel, and with 425lbft traction may be a little harder to come by in launching a 335d. All that torque would really show up during in gear acceleration, what you actually use most of the time. I bet 50-70mph in any suitable gear, the lighter and almost as powerful 328 would get demolished by the 335d. And really, how often do you turn up at a stoplight, rev up, and gun it to 60mph? Not much if you still have a license. In gear acceleration is where the performance really matters, and thus the big old diesel 6 would trump the 4 cylinder.
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      This isn't that surprising at all. The 335d wasn't really an efficient diesel, it was a kick ass diesel.
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