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.
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.