In a recent interview with PC Gamer, Battlefield 3 executive producer Patrick Bach said that “Our biggest benefit for the console has been that we’re leading on PC. It has forced us to push the limited technology of consoles compared to the PC to a new level, because we set the bar with what we wanted to create on PC and said, ‘How the heck are we going to do this on consoles?’”
By developing Battlefield 3 on the PC first, DICE was able to focus on making the game powerful and very pretty. Once the time came to start making things work on consoles, they were forced to streamline everything. I've seen it running on a high-end PC and it looks really amazing, but that said, it doesn't look too shabby on consoles either.