Diesel Special Operations

By Christian Stampfer on 18 April 2010
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Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz all offer European government and public safety organizations (Behörden und Organisationen mit Sicherheitsaufgaben or BOS) specially-equipped cars for use by fire, police, and emergency medical services personnel.

When ordering their vehicles, most agencies prefer to specify diesel engines.  This is in part due to the fuel efficiency of such cars as these agencies have to keep their operating costs down, but also the fact that diesel-powered vehicles tend to last longer as well. Many of these cars, especially police cars, have been driven over 250,000 kilometres.

In Bavaria in particular, many local governments and agencies purchase BMWs and Audis for their fleets. The choice of car is often greatly influenced by the presence of a car maker’s factory and/or headquarters in a particular region.

In May 2006, the handover of 50 320d wagons was done with great fanfare in downtown Munich. The cars were accepted by Dr. Günther Beckstein, Interior Minister of Bavaria, for the Bayerische Polizei (Bavarian Police).

Recently, the regional fire inspector of Ebersberg (Kreisbrandrat Landkreis Ebersberg) came to observe my fire brigade’s training exercise (a fire in an industrial building where several types of toxic and dangerous substances had been stored) and arrived in his brand new BMW 530d E61 Touring.

The 530d Touring comes with a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder diesel engine that produces 235 hp and 368 pound-feet (500 nm) of torque.  It can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds.  With a 70-liter fuel tank and excellent fuel economy (6.6 l/100 km or 35 mpg), the 530d can go ca. 1,050 km (650 miles) on one tank of fuel.

The BOS market is important to BMW.  Last year the company unveiled the X6 xDrive50i “Emergency Physician” Showcar at the RETTmobil emergency vehicle show. Although not a diesel (it’s powered by BMW’s 407-hp twin-turbo V-8 engine), it does foreshadow things to come.

The Diesel Driver’s European Editor, Christian Stampfer (pictured), is a dedicated volunteer fireman and is serving since 2007 as 2. Kommandant der freiwilligen Feuerwehr Gelting (2nd commander of the volunteer Gelting fire brigade).