BMW Clean Diesels Arrive, Powerful and Pricey

BMW announced pricing for its two 50-state clean diesel vehicles yesterday. The BMW 335d sedan will carry a price tag of $44,725, while pricing for the BMW xDrive35d SUV will begin at $52,025.

BMW 335d
BMW X5 xDrive35d AdvancedDiesel height="350" />

Top: BMW 335d.
Bottom: BMW X5 xDrive35d.

The launch of the 335d and X5 xDrive35d—which will arrive in December and January respectively—was accompanied by statements from BMW that the vehicles will carry “the most fuel efficient engine we have ever offered in the US.” The emphasis on efficiency, and the fact that the new models will burn diesel fuel instead of premium gasoline, doesn’t mean the company is planning to shed its “ultimate driving machine” image though.

The diesel engine that powers both new vehicles turns out 265 horsepower and a stump-pulling 425 foot-pounds of torque. The latter number explains why the engine is only offered with an automatic transmission—BMW’s manual transmissions can’t handle that level of torque. While the engine meets the stringent California emissions standards, BMW President of Engineering Tom Baloga said the company and its suppliers are already working on an even cleaner version—one that would have tailpipe emissions comparable, or even cleaner than a Toyota Prius.

BMW 335d Sedan

  • Goes on sale in December
  • Fuel economy of 23 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway
  • Performance in line with BMW buyers’ expectations: 0-60 in 6 seconds.
  • Pricing begins at $44,725—a $2,500 premium over the comparable 335 gas version
  • As a clean “alternative” vehicle, it’s eligible for $900 federal tax credit

BMW xDrive35d SUV

  • Goes on sale in January
  • Fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway
  • Performance: 0-60 in 6.9 seconds
  • Pricing begins at $52,025—a $5,000 premium over the base X5 3.0-liter gas-powered version. (The X5 diesel is comparable in performance to the X5 4.8-liter gasoline vehicle, which starts at $55,625.)
  • The X5 xDrive35d is be eligible for $1,550 tax credit

BMW stressed the technical prowess of its “advanced clean diesel” and emphasized the company’s 25 years of experience with diesels. In a presentation to journalists to announce the pricing, BMW engineers spent a significant amount of time discussing the diesel exhaust treatment system. After explaining that the sophisticated injection system allows very efficient combustion of the fuel, the engineers described the three stages of after-treatment, including an oxidation catalyst, particulate filter, and urea-based treatment system.

Presenters noted that the six-gallon urea-based system was designed to last between oil changes—which are free for BMW owners for the first four years. They added that it was designed “like a gas tank,” with warnings that the fluid is running low.

Hedging with Hybrids

BMW is hopeful that consumers will embrace the new diesels, despite the price premium and the higher price for diesel fuel. Company executives echoed recent industry forecasts that diesel vehicles could capture as much as 15 percent of the new car market by 2015. But the company is hedging its bet on diesel, and is expecting to bring mild and full hybrid vehicles to the market in the coming years.


  • CRut100

    Nice but still not good enough. For the premium price of the vehicle and additional cost of diesel fuel this vehicle is just not worth it. BMW needs to step up and deliver over 40MPG on any diesel vehicle and all their vehicles need to deliver 30MPG plus. I’ve owned BMW 5-series for more than a decade straight but sold mine earlier this year and won’t buy another until they improve their MPG.

  • domboy

    Um, last I check the price gap between Premium gasoline and diesel is pretty small (depending on one’s location), and since this diesel is significantly more efficient than a comparable gasoline engine, you actually will come out ahead. The thing to lament is the lack of a manual transmission, especially in the 335d. They’d better rectify that soon. It’s entirely possible to build a manual transmission to handle that torque, and it would also be more fuel efficient too! Otherwise, it’s encouraging to see another diesel choice finally coming to the US. Kudos to BMW on that note.

    CRut100, I do agree when you say they need to bring a 40mpg diesel, as they have plenty smaller more efficient diesels in Europe (of course). Hopefully this one will do well enough to encourage BMW’s management to bring more diesel engine choices.

  • Stellis

    Waitaminute…the 36mpg five seater gets a $900 credit, and the 26mpg five seater gets $1500? What am I missing here?

  • TD

    23 and 19 mpg in the city is nothing to brag about.

  • schanie

    Compare this SUV to the two-mode hybrid Saturn Vue, which is $33k, and gets 28/31 mpg and 0-60 in 7.5 seconds.

  • qqRockyBeans

    I agree with stellis:

    Why does the higher-mpg diesel sedan (23/36) only get $900 credit
    while the porker SUV (19/26) gets $1550?

    WHY????? Shouldn’t it be the OTHER WAY AROUND????
    or was that just a typo??

    Also note that the 335d’s premium over the gas version is only $2500
    compare that with the $5000 premium of the Civic Hybrid over the LX model

  • Neil

    There is a car that has cleaner tailpipe emissions than a Toyota Prius! You can go buy it now – it is the Honda Civic Hybrid. The Civic Hybrid gets an EPA air pollution score of 9 out of 10 whereas the Prius only gets 8 out of 10. So a Honda Civic Hybrid emits less smog forming air pollution than a Toyota Prius.

    Smog pollution is the main reason I opted for a Honda Civic Hybrid over the previous generation Jetta Diesel. They both had excellent MPG, but with LSD just coming to the market and none of the new clean diesel technology going, it was just too bad for the air quality where I live.

    I am glad to see BMW doing something better – things are looking up…

  • Crut100

    Diesel is very expensive around here compared to gasoline (northern Indiana). It’s just over $1 gallon more expensive – - $1.93 gallon for regular unleaded and $2.95 gallon for diesel. That’s a 33%+ premium. For that kind of money I will opt for a higher mileage vehicle from another manufacturer. Trust me I’d love to buy another BMW but, unfortunately it seems the only way any of these car companies will react is if you stop buying. That’s what I’m doing and here is my plea:

    BMW PLEASE BUILD A 40MPG+ VEHICLE SO THAT I CAN BUY FROM YOU.

  • veek

    Wow! I certainly agree with the postings. 23/36 and 19/26 are not very good figures!! If the American companies pulled something like that, people would be all over them about “greenwashing,” “where’s the improvement,” “more gas-guzzling mentality,” etc. but when BMW or Mercedes does it, the press goes wild with compliments.

    It seems that imports have had a double standard for many years, but, hey, this is America. This is embarrassing.

  • JeepFan

    X5 sounds nice, but I’ll wait for the 4.2 Cummins diesel going into the new Cherokee Overland for 10K+ LESS!!!