Looking at the December sales numbers for BMW, we can clearly see an ascending trend of diesel vehicles sold in the United States. Official numbers showed that one out of three X5s sold were represented by the xDrive35d model. Last summer, the $4,500 Eco-Credit has also helped boost the sales for the two diesel offerings with most of the dealers running out of 3 Series diesel sedans.
Back in September, in an interview with Automotive News, Jim O’Donnell, CEO of BMW North America, has reiterated that BMW remains committed to its diesel strategy in the U.S. even if more hybrid vehicles will emerge in the near future. As far as future plans, BMW is hoping for 10%-20% diesel penetration in U.S and also the introduction of new diesel vehicles on the market. The one mentioned by Mr. O’Donnell was a diesel variant of the next generation 5 Series, but unfortunately, no other news along that line have been released since.
In the mean time, those of us looking for a sporty luxury sedan, we will have to settle for the 335d model. The fellows at MotorTrend are enjoying their long-term loaner and decided to check in with their readers at 1,300 miles. Let’s find out their impressions….
“So what are you doing here?” says the polite Border Patrol officer after he’s checked our Green Cards, and had a look in the 335d’s trunk to make sure we weren’t transporting illegal immigrants. “We’re on vacation,” I reply. His eyebrows arch: “In Yuma?!” Yeah, yeah, we know…
The 358 mile Tucson to Yuma leg has returned our best mileage so far — an average of 34.1 mpg. Yuma also proved diesel fuel is more consistently priced in Arizona than gas. We’ve paid $2.69 a gallon for each of the last three tanks, while regular gas has varied from $2.23 to $2.49 a gallon and premium from $2.53 to $2.75 a gallon. (Back in LA our initial $2.99 a gallon tank of diesel cost 20c a gallon less than regular and 38c a gallon less than premium.)
We make LA later that afternoon. After four days and 1304miles on the road, the BMW 335d has averaged 32mpg without any special eco-driving. It grunts like a V-8 — shrugging off steep climbs and surging past slow-moving traffic with the merest wriggle of your right foot — yet it sips fuel almost like a four. This might be a compact car, but it’s capable of crossing a continent in giant leaps — based on our experience the 335d will easily go 515 miles between fuel stops. Driver and passenger are likely to need refueling first.
P.S. We can only speculate at the moment, but we feel confident that a 5 Series diesel will make it to the U.S. market the latest next year.