Remember that new 36-mpg 2012 BMW 3 Series we were so excited about, the 328i that got better fuel economy in EPA testing than even the old 335d diesel model? Well, those early estimates haven't held up.

BMW has confirmed to Autoblog that the EPA has issued revised numbers for the eight-speed automatic-equipped F30 328i, with highway fuel economy taking a 3-mile-per-gallon hit to 33 mpg and the city number dropping by a single digit to 23 mpg. BMW is investigating the discrepancy but says the 2012 figure will stay at 33. Spokesman Tom Plucinsky: "Unfortunately, there is no provision in the EPA rules for a re-test this year. Therefore regardless of the results of our investigation, the new rating will stand for this model year."

Though BMW says its testing showed the car capable of 36 mpg on the highway, the EPA decided to validate BMW's numbers and came away with different results. As we type this, the government's fueleconomy.gov website has not yet been updated, though BMW's consumer website reflects the new numbers. According to Plucinsky, buyers of the six-speed manual 328i can expect to see a 34 mpg highway figure on their window sticker, which fueleconomy.gov corroborates at 23/34.

What's surprising about this situation is that when we test drove the new 3 Series last fall, BMW told our Matt Davis it was estimating only 32 mpg highway. Plucinsky suggests that perhaps the 32-mpg figure was an "early estimate was based on the previous version of the 328i."

While the efficiency hit is disappointing, even with the downgrade to 33-to-34 miles per gallon, the 3 Series' fuel economy figures are still class-leading, besting competitors including the Acura TL and TSX, Audi A4, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti G, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

With all of that said, we can't help but wonder if this development will add fuel to the fire of those who have been clamoring for the EPA to "retest" the fuel economy of vehicles in the wake of owner complaints?

Click past the jump to read BMW's email explanation to us in full.

Show full PR text

This statement was provided to Autoblog in an e-mail from BMW:

All manufacturers are responsible for testing and submitting fuel economy figures each year to the EPA (based on physical tests following the EPA test cycle on a dynamometer). Occasionally, the EPA will validate the figures that we provide. When this happens, there are sometimes small changes in the published EPA fuel economy figures (usually 1 mpg up or down).

The EPA recently tested the 2012 328i Automatic and obtained a highway mileage result that was 3m pg lower (33mpg versus 36mpg) than the BMW test result. We are very surprised by this result and are currently working to determine how this is possible. The new rating seems abnormally low in relation to the other models in the BMW range and by the real-world fuel economy that we are seeing from this model.

Unfortunately, there is no provision in the EPA rules for a re-test this year. Therefore regardless of the results of our investigation, the new rating will stand for this model year.


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  • 71 Comments
      l9t8z
      • 2 Years Ago
      The fuel economy blunder I can live with, the lower number is still great. However, that unibrow front clip ruins what is otherwise great looking car.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      33 MPG is quite good for a luxury sport car.
      SPG1
      • 2 Years Ago
      The douchebags at the EPA are killing cars as we know it. Global warming is GROSSLY exaggerated. Yes, the planet is warming, but not the way they say it is. **** OFF AND LET US DRIVE V8, V10 and V12 MONSTERS WITH 6/7 SPEED MANUALS
        KuntryBoy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SPG1
        You don't even own a V8, let alone a V10 or V12. Get real...
          SPG1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @KuntryBoy
          Proud Z06 owner here....V8
        inthelv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SPG1
        Whatever.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SPG1
        What? The EPA doesn't prohibit the sale of any cars. If you want to drive a car that gets crummy mpg, they just make sure you know what it will be before you buy it.
          SPG1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          I know, but their standards cause automakers to reduce engine sizes and what not to best others in fuel economy...I just don't want the big engined naturally aspirated monsters to die out...Direct injection is all fine and well but look at the issues it has had. Jeremy Clarkson's V12 Vantage review in the Series 13 finale of Top Gear made me realize that the governemnt is slowly but surely trying to kill off the performance enthusiast.
          SPG1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          World events are contributing to the death of the big engined sports car. The EPA and DOT cause us to miss out on cars like the RS4 Avant and RS6, not to mention CGT seats in the GT3 RS and the roll bar. The government has WAY TOO MUCH say as to what can come in a car.
        Zoom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SPG1
        Turn off the Faux Noise, fool.
        Fermat1313
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SPG1
        OK, even if you don't buy the idea of human-caused global warming, you completely ignore the fact that oil is a non-sustainable resource. Every bit of extra oil we burn means less oil for our descendants. It's simply irresponsible to not attempt to leave more for them. What fuel economy standards have done is reduce fuel consumption, drastically reduced greenhouse gas emissions, all while achieving huge safety gains (with their accompanying weight gain) and continually improving performance across all segments. And you have a problem with this why?
      robespierex
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just have to say... I F-ING KNEW IT!!! BMW fanboys have been dancing up and down due to how powerful and efficient their new engine was... and it was a LIE! That's what you get for stealing a VW engine. Suck it BMW! A4 model now 4 years old still highly competitive w/ brand new 3 series. BMW 3 - 2.0T series I call it. Also, exterior AND interior design FAIL!
        David J. Bernstein
        • 2 Years Ago
        @robespierex
        How did BMW steal a VW engine? If you're implying that BMW "copied" VW because of the use of turbos, guess again. BMW has a long history of using forced induction in their passenger cars as well as in motorsports.
          flychinook
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David J. Bernstein
          @genelamont Making an engine of similar spec does not equal copying. And if it does, VW is guilty of copying, as they weren't the first automaker to use 4 wheels. They totally copied that whole "trunk" idea too. I mean seriously, what next? A round steering wheel? A stereo? Will the blatant copying never cease??
          metalmatrix7
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David J. Bernstein
          You want to know who first started putting turbo is passenger cars? Oldsmobile. VW, or for that matter no European company "owns" turbocharging. Its a great way to have your cake and eat it too. Nothing wrong with more manufacturers using it.
          genelamont
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David J. Bernstein
          If you seriously think BMW is not ripping off Audi, you're just not looking hard enough.
          me
          • 2 Years Ago
          @David J. Bernstein
          Actually, the BMW engine is way better than the peaky crap that is the VW 2.0T.
      inthelv
      • 2 Years Ago
      What I find interesting is that I remember a few years ago when every car company swore they couldn't reach higher MPG figures without killing the car, blah, blah.... Turns out that because of regulations and standards we have clean cars that get great gas mileage that are fun to drive (Mustang GT anyone?). Oh yeah, they're safe too.
      scotthureau
      • 2 Years Ago
      The real problem is the 335i, with turbo, two extra cylinders, lower compression ratio, and one extra liter of displacement achieves the same 23/33 EPA Rating. Now why again are we supposed to be impressed with the N20? 5.9 0-60 is decent, especially for a 2 liter 4 banger, but normally aspirated 3 liter bimmers have ducked under 6 seconds for years, and achieved decent mileage. Not enough progress on the EPA side to justify sinking the NA 6, IMHO.
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      The point of the 4-cyl in the new 328i is for efficiency, yet at the same size as the Focus, and with eight gear ratios, it can only do 7 less than the Ford, which has six gears. Now that's efficient german engineering.
      robespierex
      • 2 Years Ago
      DRLs look like the Audi symbol.
        jonnybimmer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @robespierex
        Seriously? Two pairs of circles spread apart by a couple of feet resembles the Audi symbol? At the risk of sounding like a BMW fanboi, have you been saying the same thing about BMW's since the E39? What about Corvette exhaust tips? At least those are all next to each other.
      David J. Bernstein
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm wondering if some really big, fat and extremely overweight employee drove a 2012 A/T 3 series and got that mileage drop. Probably!
        genelamont
        • 2 Years Ago
        @David J. Bernstein
        Probably they tried to get away with some implausible numbers, and they got busted.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, cheating is definitely a novel and easy approach to besting your competitors on fuel economy.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        [blocked]
      BG
      • 2 Years Ago
      32 or 33 mpg is still pretty good. However, even my 2002 530i with manual transmission can get 30 mpg on the freeway. That is with Michelin all-season tires. Stop-and-go, especially in winter, is deadly, though.
        Brian
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BG
        It's a real shame that manual transmissions aren't nearly as common in BMWs as they used to be. I remember a time when it was very rare to see a BMW, especially the 3 series without a manual transmission. Unfortunately today, it seems that the opposite is true. You are very fortunate to have a BMW with a manual transmission, I bet it is a blast to drive!
          BG
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Brian
          Thanks, I ordered it that way. I'd never buy a BMW with automatic - what an absurd concept. I'm sure you have heard all the excuses: "I want to be one with the Autobahn, in control of my German-bred road machine that takes me forth through the twisties. But I need automatic because...my wife won't drive manual, I live in the city, there are hills, it will hurt resale, ."
        e46mike
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BG
        My 2001 325Ci with a 5 speed will 30 mpg on the highway pretty easily too...
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      So BMW got caught cheating, and the EPA decided to verify. Now it's time for the EPA to verify Honda's claims.
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