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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel estimates are out for BMW‘s new line of 3-Series cars and it looks like they’ve caught the competition with their pants down.
The 2012 328i scores an impressive 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, that’s a 28 percent improvement in fuel consumption over last year’s model. What’s even better is that the 328i actually gets more power than the model it replaced for a total of 240 horsepower compared to last year’s 230. The 300-horsepower 335i doesn’t get a boost in oomph but as you may expect, is less thirsty in 2012. In fact, the automatic-equipped version is downright efficient, bragging 23 mpg city and 33 highway.
Though it might seem like it, these jumps don’t happen overnight, or by some magic gasoline fairy waving a wand. BMW achieved such impressive improvements in the 328i through cleverly engineered turbocharging and by lobbing a whole liter off of last year’s engine. That’s right, there’s a 2.0-liter inline four where there used to be a 3.0-liter six cylinder.
So what of the competition? The Mercedes-Benz C 250 has 39 fewer ponies than the 328i and only gets 21 and 31 mpg in the city and highway despite having a 1.8-liter engine. Audi‘s A4 uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged powerplant and also only gets 22 mpg city and 30 on the highway when equipped with their gas-saving continuously variable transmission, not to mention falling 29 horsepower short.
The jig is up for this model year, but it should be interesting to watch Audi and Mercedes-Benz respond to their Bavarian neighbor’s conservative consumption. Perhaps this is why BMW remains the top dog in the bratwurst pile.
The 2013 BMW 3-Series will start at $35,775 when it goes on sale in February. For that amount of coin, you can walk away with a base model 328i, while a 335i will set you back $43,275.
The base price for the two models has only been bumped up by $300-$350, but the newest 3-Series is a radically different car from the outgoing version, chock full of technology and gadgets that weren’t previously available like a self-parking system and a no-charge 8-speed automatic gearbox. 328i models now get a turbocharged 4-cylinder making 240-horsepower, while the 335i continues on with BMW’s legendary turbocharged inline-6.
Diesel, hybrid and wagon variants will all arrive and some point, as will a coupe and convertible, but the only confirmed tidbit we have is that an M-Sport edition will be hitting our shores in July, and carry a $5000 premium over the base car. Consider the M Sport a stop-gap until a new M3 gets here in a few years time.
The 2013 BMW 3-Series, codenamed the F30, was revealed today by BMW, and the most noteworthy change is the first four-cylinder engine for North America since the 318i of the late 1990′s.
So far, we know that the 328i will pack a 4-cylinder turbo displacing 2.0L and putting out 245 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque will come at just 1,250 rpm, an astoundingly low figure that should translate into excellent real world acceleration. The 335i will put out 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual will be available, and BMW even claims that the 335i is capable of 32.6 mpg on the highway.
The car is slightly larger (3.6″ longer overall, about 2 inches longer in wheelbase and slightly wider front and rear tracks) but sheds 88 pounds of weight, while a hybrid and M-Sport version will also be offered.
Gallery: BMW 3-Series
Think the $41,400 sticker price for a BMW 335i is bad? Be glad you don’t live in Singapore where the same model will run you $260,000, about what an Italian exotic would retail for in the United States.
Singapore residents who want a private vehicle must pay for a special permit that allows them to keep the car for a decade – the permit alone costs $55,000 USD, as much as a Porsche Boxster would in America. In 2008, the permit cost about $2,000. On top of that, buyers must pay a 150% duty on the vehicle upon importation. Not surprisingly, car ownership rates in Singapore sit at around 15%, compared to 82% in the United States.
Singapore is ruled by an authoritarian regime (famous for outlawing chewing gum in the name of etiquette and cleanliness), and is strongly pushing for residents to adopt mass transit as a practical solution to reduce congestion, and cut down pollution. While Singapore boasts outstanding air quality, it fears that it could become similar neighboring islands like Hong Kong, which has fewer restrictions on vehicle ownership but is riddled with heavily polluted air.
The structures in place leave car ownership as a privilege for the wealthy, and car dealers are now looking to peddle premium brands to the wealthy, since they are largely unaffected by an increase in ownership costs. “The extra $20,000 to S$30,000 on the [new vehicle permit] is nothing when the total car price is $300,000 or more,” one dealer told Bloomberg. No wonder that companies like Lamborghini do well in the tiny Asian country, with a special preview for their upcoming LP-7004 Aventador being held exclusively for that market.
BMW has recalled 130,000 vehicles using turbocharged inline-6 engines after complaints regarded the fuel pump used with the engine. Vehicles affected include 2007-2010 135i, 535i, X6 and Z4 cars, while another 20,000 2008 X5s are also being recalled, despite not using the turbo motor.
BMW owners approach ABC after they complained of “losing power” while driving, which was apparently the result of a fuel pump malfunction that caused the vehicle to enter into the “limp home” mode that owners of high performance engines may be too familiar with. In limp home mode, the engine reverts to a “safe” configuration that reduces power and load on the engine while ensuring that the driver can safely get the vehicle to a secure location.
ABC is said to be continuing their investigation, and we’ll avoid passing judgement untill all the facts are out.
We all love those impromptu drives on backroads where you can exceed the post limits just a little, without the action getting too dangerous. Once in a while, you’ll be following someone with a nice car that can actually drive well and set a good pace.
The driver of a Mazdaspeed 3 thought it was going to happen when a BMW 335i sedan pulled out in front of him and started driving quickly. Unfortunately, the BMW driver used all of his 5 brain cells to display an embarrassing spectacle of road rage that we can only attribute to misuse of anabolic steroids, or his dismay in seeing a Mazda hatchback keep pace with his (probably) leased 3-series.
It’s a good thing this took place in California. In a state with less restrictive concealed carry laws, someone could have been hurt very badly in this exchange.