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BMW Goes Diesel

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BMW 335d Photo: BMW AG
By James Tate
The German car company brings its diesel back to America.
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BMW 335d Photo: BMW AG
BMW 335d Photo: BMW AG
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BMW 335d Photo: BMW AG
BMW 335d Photo: BMW AG
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BMW Concept 7-Series ActiveHybrid Photo: Rod Hatfield
BMW Concept 7-Series ActiveHybrid Photo: Rod Hatfield
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BMW Concept 7-Series ActiveHybrid Photo: Rod Hatfield
BMW Concept 7-Series ActiveHybrid Photo: Rod Hatfield

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    Remember the 524td? It was the last diesel-powered car that BMW offered here in the U.S., and it was new about 20 years ago. And the fact that you have no idea what we’re talking about is a big part of the reason it’s taken the company so long to bring another diesel stateside.

     

    But if you’re going to bring a diesel car to the U.S., it may as well be the awesome 335d. It’s the first clean diesel legal in all 50 states to come from BMW, thanks to what BMW is calling BluePerformance, which refers to the use of urea to keep emissions low, and it cracks off a zero-to-60 sprint in six seconds dead.

     

    The 335d pulls off the feat thanks to a 3.0-liter, sequentially turbocharged inline-6 that produces 265 horsepower and – wait for it – 425 lb-ft of torque at 1750 rpm. Pick your jaw up off the floor before you read that 80 percent of that torque is available at 1100 rpm. The fun is channeled through a 6-speed automatic transmission only, as BMW notes that a manual transmission wouldn’t be able to handle the torque. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 335d at 23/36 mpg (city/hwy), but we beat those numbers with some ease, despite an occasional lead foot on the accelerator (diesels tend to score poorly in EPA testing).

     

    Other than the radically different engine and the “d” on the decklid, it’s tough to discern the 335d from the 335i – like the latter, this one has a new, slightly updated body, featuring LED blinkers, subtly resculpted taillights and a redesigned front fascia and rear bumper. Inside, it’s Bauhaus as usual, except this time featuring BMW’s redesigned (and much improved) iDrive.

     

    The 335d starts at $44,725, which could prove to be its only downfall. The steep premium makes us wonder why BMW didn’t bring in the smaller, 2.3-liter diesel powerplant and a manual transmission. Engineers assure us that the cost of certifying each new engine in the U.S. is borderline prohibitive, and this engine can be used in a wider range of BMWs, like the X5 xDrive35d, which will be in dealerships alongside the 335d in December. By the way, that diesel X5 will go from zero to 60 mph in less than seven seconds and gets an EPA-rated 19/26 mpg (city/hwy).

     

    7-Series Hybrid

    In other news, you might be able to buy your new 7-Series in hybrid form, which BMW says is 15 percent more efficient than the straight gas version. Enter the BMW Concept 7-Series ActiveHybrid. Fifteen percent isn’t a radical jump, of course, but that’s because there’s still a twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood. This one simply has an electric drive motor in addition. If you weren’t aware, the V8 in the 7-Series already churns out 407 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid tacks an additional 20 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque on top.

     

    Unique visual cues include an aluminum accent band mounted low on the front fascia, which directs air flow for optimum aerodynamics. The fog lights are actually LEDs, and the car has bespoke 20-inch wheels in body color. Predictably, there’s no word on if this car will make it to America and when, and certainly nothing on what it will cost if it does.

     

     

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