Cars Coming Soon: Gas Beats Diesel in New BMW 328i

BMW 328i

Does engineering know no limits?

The draw of diesel-powered cars, for many people, is the increased fuel economy they offer. In some cases, diesel cars compete with hybrids in terms of the number of miles a car can be driven on a single gallon of fuel.

Auto writers routinely sing the praises of oil-burning engines because we love the performance, reliability and fuel economy they offer. One of the best is the BMW 335d. If I had purchased a new car this morning, there’s a good chance it would have been the 335d. Today, though, I heard about a new BMW that might be even better. And it’s powered by… gasoline.

Thanks to modern advancements in engineering, if I were to buy a new car tomorrow morning, it might be the latest BMW 328i.

Amazingly, the little 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas engine in the new 328i gets better fuel economy and accelerates to 60 one-tenth of a second quicker than the outgoing 335d.

I never thought I’d see the day, but gas has outperformed diesel.

Admittedly, there’s a bit of a wild card in this scenario. The 328i’s 240-hp and 260-lb-ft of torque don’t match up to the 6-cylinder diesel’s 265 ponies and whopping 425 lb-ft of twist. But the 328i is lighter and more aerodynamic and has BMW’s new 8-speed transmission, which helps the car manage 1 mpg better than the bigger diesel. According to the EPA’s figures, the 328i returns 24 miles per gallon in the city and a mighty 36 mpg on the highway. The 335d falls just short, with 23 mpg city and 36 highway.

The ultimate engine for the ultimate 3 Series would be BMW’s twin-turbo diesel 2.0-liter that makes 201 hp. Automobile Magazine says,

Installed in a 3-series with an eight-speed automatic, we estimate that it could hit 60 mph in 7 seconds flat and score (are you sitting?) 34 mpg city and 45 mpg highway.

The writer, Jason Cammisa, then goes on to take a well-placed jab at the Prius, which made me smile inside.

How long before hybrids are made obsolete by gas engines?

-tgriffith

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3 Comments

  1. Transmission technology will be the next big leap in mileage technology, and after that we’ll see Diesel AND hybrid marriages, giving the Diesel’s great highway mileage and great hybrid city mileage coupled with very smooth dual or triple clutch multi speed transmission.

  2. Props for the 335d love! FWIW, we found the 335d’s “official” fuel economy figures to be significantly under-rated. Unfortunately, the 2012 335d is mighty hard to come by here in the States. We’ll have to see how the new 328i stacks up in real-world testing … looks like it’s only slightly more aerodynamic than the 335d (0.29 vs 0.3)?

    A highly aerodynamic turbo-diesel would positively demolish the best hybrid’s highway MPG spec. I’ll put my chips on a the Skyactiv-D …

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