BMW is preparing to put the 'd' back into the United States market. Starting in the fall of 2008, two models will be available with a 3.0-liter biturbo in-line six diesel engine. They'll make their first appearance at the 2008 North American International Auto Show.
The 335d and X5 xDrive 35d will be the first BMW diesels sold in the U.S. in well over two decades. The Advanced Diesel with BluePerformance is a version of BMW's diesel in-line six that's already sold in Europe, where diesels account for two-thirds of the company's new vehicle sales. The addition of BluePerformance urea injection allows these models to be sold in all fifty states, even those following California's strict emissions standards.
BluePerformance uses a solution called AdBlue, which is basically urea (yes, that urea) that is injected into the exhaust gas to turn nitrous oxides into nitrogen gas and water vapor. This works with a diesel particulate filter to reduce emissions. The AdBlue solution should only need to be replenished during regular service intervals, and BMW will include free refills in its 4-year/50,000-mile maintenance program. This is the same system that Mercedes-Benz uses in its Bluetec diesels.
But you don't care about any of that, as long as it means you can get a 3-series with 265 hp and - get ready for this - 425 lb-ft of torque.
Wait, 425 lb-ft? As in 130 more than the new M3? Yes, indeed. What's more, two differently sized turbochargers help make that torque available at only 1750 rpm. The smaller of the two spins up first to minimize lag at lower rpm, and the larger turbo comes on at higher engine speeds to keep things going.
The diesel-equipped 3-series has a claimed 0-to-62-mph time of 6.2 seconds - a claim we'd believe, since several Automobile Magazine editors have driven the car in Europe. The 335d is estimated to return fuel economy of 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The X5 xDrive 35d will take an extra second to reach 62 mph and will consume diesel at a rate of 19 mpg around town and 25 mpg in highway driving.
If these models take hold - and we sincerely hope they do - we expect to see this engine in additional U.S. models. And there's more where that came from, because BMW has a diesel V-8 and three four-cylinders in various models running around the Continent.
For more information on diesels in the U.S. market, take a look at 'Diesels: What's all the clatter about?' in the related links below.