The idea of a powerful sports sedan and fuel efficiency would seem to be in direct opposition.
But BMW, the top purveyor of the sports sedan – and most would say, the originator of the concept – is taking on the challenge head on.
BMW rolled out a more efficient new 3-series, it’s most important model, at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday. The sixth-generation model reintroduces a four cylinder engine to the U.S. market, but the automaker also showed the first hybrid version of its most important model.
The 2012 model is expected to go on sale next month. Replacing the outgoing model’s standard 3.0-liter straight six, the new four-cylinder is a turbocharged 2.0 liter producing 240 horsepower powering the base 328i. The 300-horsepower, single-turbo 3.0-liter carries over in the 335i.
There will also be a hybrid version, which will combine a 335-horsepower gasoline engine with an electric motor to provide about 37 miles per gallon highway. Called ActiveHybrid 3, it is expected to go on sale in the fall.
The four-door sedan comes first, but eventually, there will be coupe, convertible and high-performance M3 versions.