The number of high-end diesel vehicles has doubled in the last five years, and midsize sedans are at the heart of that growth, according to data from Edmunds.com.
BMWBLOG has been a fan of diesels for quite some time now and over time we have tested all the BMW diesels offered in the U.S. and some European versions as well. (See BMW X5 diesel, 335d, 328d, 750d)
The 2014 BMW 535d went on sale this past fall and uses the same twin-turbocharged inline-six engine as the diesel X5.
The diesel banger produces 255 horsepower and a remarkable 413 lb-ft of torque. It comes paired only with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the base price starts at $57,525 (destination & handling included).
0 to 60 mph comes in just 5.3 seconds.
The E250 is powered by a four-cylinder 2.1-liter engine. With 195 horsepower on tap, acceleration tends to be leisurely, with 0 to 60 taking 7.8 seconds and the quarter-mile arriving in 16.1 at 86 mph.
Audi A6 TDI comes with a single-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 making 240 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque.
So which one is the best diesel?
First Place: BMW 535d
The best part of this BMW is the engine, one it shares with the X5 SUV and a 7-Series sedan. A turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine pumps out 255 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. It’s bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission that routs the power to the car’s rear wheels.
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Everything about this drivetrain is silky smooth. There’s no rough idle or vibration during acceleration, and the car has more than enough power to validate BMW’s performance credentials.
Although its 5.8-second run from zero to 60 mph is 0.3 second slower than that of the Audi, it’s a more engaging experience and feels faster than those numbers suggest.
The Environmental Protection Agency rates the BMW 535d’s efficiency at 26 miles per gallon in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway, making the car 25% less thirsty than its gas-powered twin. After 350 miles of testing, in more city driving than highway, we averaged 28 mpg.