The diesel engines we've been promised for the past few years are finally hitting the U.S. market. Anyone who has travelled to Europe probably noticed that about half of the vehicles on the road were powered by diesel engines. The current crop of European diesels headed to America are incredibly clean and refined with virtually no noticeable diesel traits other than superior fuel economy.
I was particularly surprised by how high the engine in the X5 35d will rev. Last night I was driving with a friend, and the subject of the Toyota recall fiasco came up. To demonstrate how easy it could be to fix the sudden-unintended-acceleration dilemma, I floored the accelerator and shifted into neutral. I was surprised that the diesel engine raced up to 5000 rpm before hitting the rev limiter. It wasn't that long ago when gasoline engines in SUVs hardly revved past 5000 rpm.
There's a little more diesel clatter coming through the cabin in the X5 than an Audi Q7 TDI, but the engine is still far quieter than most consumers would expect from a diesel. Power delivery is also quite good since the torque comes on strong and quickly. Leaving a stop feels very quick, so drivers are unlikely to have complaints about acceleration unless the vehicle is at highway speeds, a common complaint since diesels are typically down on horsepower compared to gasoline engines.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor