Which one is cheaper to drive: 335d or 335i? Here is a question that has been asked many times in the past year since BMW has announced new diesel engines coming to the U.S. Despite the fact that is has been proven over and over that the new diesel engines are more efficient, cleaner and greener than ever, there are still many people, including media, that are reluctant to buy into the “whole diesel thing”.
The latest publication of Car and Driver basically slams the diesel vehicles in the U.S. when compared to hybrid models and it calls the future of diesel as being “between dim and dubious”. A strong statement coming from a respectable publication, but hey…freedom of speech.
Now, of course, I will go ahead and totally disagree with them. Yes, we are definitely moving towards hybrids and electric technologies, and that’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong here. But in the same time, we cannot ignore the latest diesel technology which has come a long way since its inception and it brings new things to the table. With its carbon emissions down 10% – 20% from comparable gasoline vehicles, and near-elimination of both smoke and NOx emissions, BMW Advanced Diesels cannot be ignored.
Let’s go back to the original question which I’m sure everyone is looking forward to see the answer. In my calculations, here are some of the key factors that I have taken into consideration:
- used the highest EPA numbers announced by the manufacturer
- used the premium gasoline as all BMWs are required to use that
- I ignored the cost of AdBlue urea solution after the 4 years maintenance period
- used the average U.S. fuel prices as of 2/2/09 taken from Energey Information Administration – $2.10 premium gas and $2.25 diesel
So, are you ready?
BMW 335i – EPA 17/26 – operating cost of 8.07 cents per mile
BMW 335d - EPA 23/36 – operating cost of 6.25 cents per mile
BMW X5 3.0 -EPA 17/23 – operating cost of 9.13 cents per mile
BMW X5d - EPA 19/26 – operating cost of 8.63 cents per mile
While the difference between the X5 models is fairly small, the advantage of driving a cheaper vehicle is more obvious in the 3 Series Sedan. Of course, these figures might change in the near future, based on the diesel/petrol pricing, but you get the idea.
There is also one more thing that I feel that it needs to be mentioned, buying a new BMW diesel vehicle will be more expensive that its petrol counterpart, but the extra cost could be justified if you drive a lot of miles every year. The 335d is $3200 more expensive than the regular 335i, while the X5d is $4,525 more expensive than the gasoline version.
P.S. Marty Padget at TheCarConnection.com has a great analysis also