Cheaper to drive the BMW 335 Diesel than the gasoline version

3-Series | February 9th, 2009 by 10
bmw diesel 1 81

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 …

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.

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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 has a great analysis also

10 responses to “Cheaper to drive the BMW 335 Diesel than the gasoline version”

  1. Menok says:

    No hybrid can match the fuel efficieny of a diesel, in the future I hope that it can..

    I really dont understand your prejudice against diesel cars..

    Here in Europe, more exactly Portugal, I dare to say that 70% of the hole car sales are diesel, and the majority of de otto are cars with low cc, 1.2/1.4/1.6/1.8.

    Giving the exemple of bmw the 2.0d engine is by far the most popular…
    You see it in the majority of 1 and 3 series.. Gasoline version of the 3 series i believe i saw 2 or 3 cars, and from the 1 series sometimes appears a 116i…

    The 5 series are dominated by the 3.0d, and then the 3.5d and 2.0d.

    In the SUV the 2.0d for the X3 and the 3.0d/3.5d for X5/6..

    Here gasoline cost €1.156 per litre and the diesel €0.979 per litre, but diesel cars cost about 4000€ then the equivalent gasoil version..

  2. In the Chicago area the differences between premium gas and diesel prices look to be around $.25/gallon. That’s not an insurmountable hurdle, and would lower as more diesel pumps are added

    My general feeling on the diesel v. hybrid v. electric wars is that diesel is the first wave, allowing consumers to enjoy the same power and driving feel as gas-cars. New diesels drive cleaner and with much higher MPG.

    Hybrid technology is coming along with regards to power and feel, and I see them not as a second wave, rather wave 1.5. Right now, they’re a bit ploddy, and can be likened to a road sofa. Ploddy doesn’t help you on a highway exit ramp. But the technology is already getting better, and I see driving performance quickly catching up to that of diesel.

    The last wave is electric. These cars will have no problem with performance, but are going through the growing pains of range. We also have some work to do with the national power grid, and how to borrow the idea of a plug at each parking space from our Canadian brethren. It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that they use a lot of electric powered engine block heaters up there.

  3. Gil says:

    We need diesel hybrid!

  4. hhhm3 says:

    BMW has already intro the next X5 diesel hybrid.
    It is test phase.
    It gets 35 mpg.

  5. Antonio Delgado says:

    I agree with the initial analysis of diesel vs gasoline engines. But also I want to add three things.
    1. People do not buy cars only based on how much money they save on fuel. Driving dynamics play a big role in the buying equation formula (strong BMW suit). Not compromising driving performance and getting fuel economy simultaneously is a big virtue of diesel engines, particularly BMW diesel engines (I know I am preaching to the choir!).
    2. Dependability and longevity: diesel engines may cost a little more that counter part gasoline, not us much of hybrid technology, but is a one time up-front cost. In 5-6 years you will have to shell out a significant amount of dough to replace hybrid batteries. Diesel engines will out-live any other current technology, you can still seeing around those mercedes benz 240d and 300d from the 80’s with easily 500,000 miles on the odometer.
    3. BMW put its money on high driving performance, bringing their best diesel engine to the American market re-introduction (BMW 524d /83-84) but if BMW perseveres and continue with its diesel quest and brings to the US the 116d, 120d, 123d, 320d,325d and 330d. Boy you are talking real economy, manual transmission with BMW driving dynamics, yes you sacrifice a little of acceleration, but in reality for our driving conditions and stinky speed limits is more than enough.


  6. Jesse says:

    It still amazes me that hybrids have so much clout with environmentalists. Particulate regulations that kept diesels off the roads were right for the time but need some serious revisions with the newer diesel technologies.

  7. William Austin says:

    I recently drove the BMW 335d diesel and was very impressed.
    Power and handling was the best I have experience with this
    type of car.

  8. Malik Ashar Azeem says:

    Nice blog for saving energy. i love it.used cars houston

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