The lowly BMW 328i gets a big update for 2012, making it a fuel-economy king in the BMW lineup. Doing away with the old 3-liter straight-six-cylinder engine, BMW replaces it with a four-cylinder, at the same time maintaining its power rating.
There are minor exterior changes from the previous generation. The hood is more sculpted and assumes a more dominant stature than on the previous generation, while the kidney grille looks shorter.
The engine uses the best of modern engineering to achieve excellent efficiency. Direct injection, stepless variable valve timing, and a twin scroll turbo help the engine achieve 240 horsepower and average fuel economy of 30 mpg.
The 328i holds up BMW's reputation for handling, but the suspension feels a little loose at the limits. BMW also offers a Sport line version of the 328i with a sport-tuned suspension, which should eliminate some of its float.
Some of the iDrive menu items, such as Office and ConnectedDrive, may seem odd, but they are useful. Office shows the contact database and calendar entries, while ConnectedDrive covers all the new external data features.