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2014 BMW 3-Series Fuel Economy

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On Fuel Economy

The entire 2014 BMW 3-Series lineup manages some impressive fuel economy numbers--thanks to an efficient lineup of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines as well as smart eight-speed automatic transmissions, and even an AcriveHybrid3 model that brings a more electrified powertrain.

The entire 3-Series lineup, whether you go for the Gran Turismo or the base 320i sedan, gets 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). Brake Energy Regeneration system is also included in some of the model line; it saves the most aggressive operation of the alternator for when you brake, which pays off with better fuel efficiency the rest of the time. Separately, the air conditioning compressor is now 'smart' and the coolant pump only runs 'on demand.' And if you select the so-called ECO PRO mode, you get a softer throttle, earlier shifting, and leaner accessory operation, all aimed at maximizing mileage.

The 3-Series is an unheralded green option for sport-sedan buyers--and it even includes a hybrid model now.

What does it all bring? From our experience, real-world mileage is very impressive in the 3-Series, and you'll likely manage to meet the EPA ratings with a rather light right foot. 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.

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 has an all-electric range of 2.5 miles--which could significantly boost real-world mileage in stop-and-go driving. One thing that's quite noteworthy about the system is that it can shut off the gasoline engine at up to 100 mph, when coasting.

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