BMW Confirms Plans to Launch New Line of Diesels in U.S.

By Jonathan Spira on 16 July 2012
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BMW will expand the number of diesel models it offers and introduce two new diesel engines in the U.S. starting in calendar year 2013.

The Munich-based automaker currently offers one diesel model in the U.S., the BMW X5 xDrive35d.  Until the end of 2011, BMW also sold the BMW 335d, which was based on the outgoing E90 3 Series.  Both models shared the same I-6 engine and both were voted Diesel Car of the Year by readers of The Diesel Driver.

BMW spokesman Dave Buchko sees diesel as “an integral part” of the future of its EfficientDynamics strategy in the United States.  “The response to BMW Advanced Diesel products in the U.S. has been extremely positive,” said Buchko, who is responsible for the automaker’s EfficientDynamics portfolio, in a brief interview.  “Sales of the X5 xDrive35d  are up 56% in the first half of 2012 compared to last year and, with the success of our 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder gasoline engine, offering our 2.0-liter turbo diesel here is a natural next step.”

The smaller of the two new diesel engines will be a 2.0-liter, single-turbo, I-4, similar to what is currently available in other markets in both the BMW 320d sedan and touring.  The four-banger will develop 180 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque, according to BMW.

An all-new twin-turbo, 3.0-liter I-6 will also be introduced.  Specs are similar to the engine that powers the X5 (and powered the previous generation 335d).  It is said to develop 255 hp and 413 pound-feet of torque.

Both engines will be mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and will have selective catalyst reduction (SCR) system that uses urea to meet emissions requirements.

It is almost a certainty that BMW will include its new Driving Experience Control or “Fahrerlebnisschalter” functionality. Its Eco Pro mode adjusts the accelerator progression, the shift characteristic of the eight-speed sport automatic transmission, the climate control, and several other EfficientDynamics options, including the Active Air Flap Control to obtain greater fuel economy.  (Other modes besides Eco Pro include Comfort, Comfort +, Sport and Sport + modes.)

While it is generally expected that BMW will launch at least one of the engines in the new F30 3 Series, both engines have a wide range of applications.  The I-4 is available in the 1 Series, 3 Series, and 5 Series as well as in the X1 and X3 ranges, and the I-6 can be found in the 3 Series, 5 Series, X3, X5, and 7 Series.

Mercedes-Benz currently offers a diesel in its SUV models as well as in the E-Class and S-Class sedans.  Audi, which only has two diesels for sale in the U.S., announced plans to offer a full range of models, including the A6 and A8, with diesel powerplants starting in model year 2013.

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