In European models like the BMW 320d, the 2.0L 4-cylinder diesel produces 181 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft of torque. That model also returns a whopping 57 MPG, says Jalopnik, here.
But will we see the same results from that engine when it hits American shores? Maybe not. Here, the EPA is extremely strict on diesel emissions – one of the main reasons that very few automakers sell diesel engines here. BMW last produced a diesel sedan here with the 2009 335d, a bruising turbo-diesel 3.0L Inline-6 engine that churned the earth with 425 lb.-ft of torque and modest 23/26 mpg. It also sold high, thanks to increased fees and taxes, with a $44,725 MSRP. (UPDATE: BMW also currently produces one diesel model for the U.S. market: the X5 xDrive35d SUV, starting at $56,700.)
By contrast, BMW offers a diesel option for every model except the Z4 and M cars to buyers in the U.K. Thus far, BMW has offered no hints as to when the diesel model will come to the U.S., nor in what car.
The announcement may also signal a preemptive attack on the future diesel market. America is still struggling to find a viable alternative to gasoline, as sales of electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are oscillating wildly from month to month, and hybrid vehicles – while rapidly improving efficiency – are still priced on the high side. Automakers have seen success with small engines for small cars like the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic, but what about luxury cars?
It seems like diesel may be a more appropriate option for fuel-sippers in the higher tax brackets, and Volkswagen has already staked their claim with TDI versions of the Golf, Beetle, Jetta, Passat and Touareg. They’ve shared that tech with Audi in the A3 and Q7, and their recent takeover of Porsche may lead to future diesel Panamera and Cayenne models in the U.S. Mercedes-Benz has their E350, ML350, GL350 and R350 BlueTEC diesel models, as well.
If diesel power is the future of fuel-efficient luxury, BMW is certainly already a step behind. Their research into EfficienctDynamics electric-hybrids like the i3 and i8 are certainly intriguing but may not be sustainable or cost-effective. Is the immigration of the diesel 2.0L engine a sign that BMW is trying to stake their claim before the competition runs away with the market?
Would you be interested in a fuel efficient diesel BMW? Let us know in the comments below.