2013 BMW 3-Series Fuel Economy

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Fuel Economy

Last year, BMW introduced a new eight-speed automatic transmission plus a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the base 328i Sedan models, which gave BMW 3-Series a big boost in fuel efficiency. Those efficient powertrains continue into 2013, but this year there's also a new ActiveHybrid3 model.

Unfortunately, with a turbo six instead of a four-cylinder engine under the hood, the ActiveHybrid3 likely won't much more fuel-efficient than the 328i and 335i models--both earning up to 23 mpg city and 33 or 34 mpg highway. But with a supplemental electric-motor system and 675Wh of lithium-ion cells in the trunk, it boasts an all-electric range of 2.5 miles--a feature that could boast real-world mileage in stop-and-go driving significantly, if you can show some restraint. The system can also shut off the gasoline engine when coasting at high speeds (up to 100 mph).

Great fuel economy, even in six-cylinder form, makes the 3-Series an unheralded green option for sport-sedan buyers, and a hybrid version is on the way.

All 2013 3-Series sedans also get Auto Start-Stop, which shuts off the engine at stoplights, as long as automatic versions are in Drive or manual versions are in a gear (with the clutch and brake depressed). All models also get the Brake Energy Regeneration system that BMW has already installed in some of its other models; it saves the most aggressive operation of the alternator for when you brake, to help aid fuel efficiency the rest of the time. The air conditioning also includes a new ‘smart’ compressor; the coolant pump operated ‘on demand,’ and there’s an ECO PRO mode that includes driving-style coaching and operates ancillaries in their leanest modes.

The Auto Start-Stop system can be pretty rough with the six-cylinder—delivering more of a shudder/kick than we’ve felt from other systems—but it’s smoother with the four.

Going turbocharged has a very positive effect on fuel economy. BMW 328i models with the automatic earn 34 mpg on the highway, which is on par with some four-cylinder mid-size sedans that aren't nearly as exciting to drive.

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