2012 BMW 328i Sedan (F30) – First Look and Review

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UNDER THE HOOD

Under the hood, there have been some substantial changes, particularly in the 328i.  The 328i is BMW’s first four-cylinder 3er since the late 1990s.  It shares a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine with the 2012 Z4 sDrive28i  and the 528i.

Despite the fact that the new engine is a mere two liters (versus three in the previous generation 328i), BMW has managed to increase horsepower by 10 to 240 and torque by a whopping 55 to 255 pound-feet.

The 328i also gets most of the new EfficientDynamics technologies including Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, and the new Driving Dynamics Control, which gives the driver the opportunity to select Comfort, Sport, Sport+, or EcoPro modes.  EcoPro helps the driver drive more economically by changing throttle response among other things.  EcoPro coaches the driver and tells the driver how much better his fuel economy is getting overall.

Despite the more powerful engine, the fuel economy has improved by 8 mpg. The automatic-transmission model gets an astounding 36 mpg (6.5 l/100 km) on the highway and 24 (9.8 l/100 km) in the city while the manual-transmission 3er gets 34 mpg (6.9 l/100 km) and 23 mpg (10.2  l/100 km).

THE NEW 3ER – MORE ROOM, MORE POWER

The outgoing 3er sedan developed a solid reputation with buyers and reviewers.  In its last year of production it was still the sales leader in its class, beating out the Mercedes C-Class sedan, the Audi A4, and the Lexus IS. The new 328i is faster as well. The manual-transmission 3er goes from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 5.7 seconds; the automatic, which gets significantly better fuel economy, needs 5.9 seconds to hit the 60 mark.  (The Mercedes C250 needs 7.1 seconds and the Audi 2.0 TFSI takes 6.5.)

The new 3er gives us more of what the 3er has traditionally provided, namely more room, more power, more efficiency, and more technology.

On the technology front, iDrive is now standard and comes with a 6.5” display.  Bluetooth and iPod/USB connectivity are also standard as is Comfort Go (keyless start) as there is no key slot.

Optional technology includes BMW Apps, blind-spot detection and warning, Park Assistant, and side- and top-view cameras.  As far as I can tell, one of the few options available on the 5 Series and 7 Series that is not available on the 3er is Comfort Seats.

Click here to continue to Page 3Driving the New 3er

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