BMW X1 Clean Diesel Bound for US?

BMW could bring a clean diesel version of the X1, its new compact crossover vehicle, to the US by 2011. The vehicle will go on sale in Europe this fall, where it will be offered as four separate models—three with a diesel system and one powered by gasoline.

“We’re hoping that by 2011, overall diesel sales will have ramped up in the US,” a source at BMW, who asked not to be named, told “If America starts to embrace diesel, it will allow us to market this vehicle with more confidence.” Unfortunately, BMW apparently does not expect a quick change of public sentiment regarding diesel. USA Today reports that BMW executives have been disappointed with sales of clean diesel vehicles to date. The persistent hurdles for diesel have been the higher cost—both for fuel and the vehicles—and a nagging public perception that diesel fuel is dirty, expensive, and hard to find.

BMW and fellow German carmakers, including Audi, Mercedes and Volkswagen, are pushing forward into the US diesel market. Yet, all six of the main US car sellers—General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan—have dropped or delayed plans to introduce diesel cars into the North American market.

BMW currently offers two 50-state clean diesel vehicles—the BMW 335d sedan and BMW X5 xDrive35d SUV, carrying hefty price tags of $44,725 and $52,025 respectively. The 335d, which provides a city/highway average fuel economy rating of 29 mpg, is eligible for an “alternative vehicle” credit of $900. The X5 xDrive35d, with an average rating of 23 mpg, qualifies for a $1,550 tax credit.

Pricing for the BMW X1 has not yet been announced.

Ground-Breaking Mileage, If BMW Goes Forward

The X1, a small five-passenger premium utility, is expected to offer fuel efficiency approaching 43 miles per gallon. The clean diesel X1 would become the only vehicle in either the luxury class or the small SUV segment to offer more than 40 miles to the gallon in the United States.

Although BMW has kept much of the technical details under wraps, the carmaker revealed that the X1 comes under the company’s “Efficient Dynamics” initiative. This means it could feature mild hybrid features, such as stop-start and regenerative braking, as well as lightweight steel chassis components designed to maximize efficiency.

The X1 will utilize Dynamic Stability Control and will come in both rear- and four-wheel drive configurations. Safety features include six airbags and active head restraints. Cargo versatility will be provided by a 40/20/40 split rear seat.

If the X1 does manage to get to American shores, it will most likely be eligible for a federal tax credit as an “alternative” vehicle.

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  • moishe k

    VW has nice diesel cars IN USA bot no diesel minivan

    The only nice full size diesel in US is Audi Q7

    when will they wake up

  • Dom

    I hope they bring it. It really is unfortunate that Americans are so ignorant when it comes to diesels. I’ve just been reading about how the European Ford Mondeo (same platform as Ford Fusion) with a diesel engine gets about the same fuel economy as the Fusion hybrid we get in the US… but we can’t get the diesel because supposedly Americans won’t buy it. Dumb!!

  • bhgdrn

    One more time. Carmakers make what car buyers want or they go out of business. Have you read “Common Sense” yet?

  • Paul Beerkens

    Car makers also spend a lot of money on advertising to manipulate people into thinking they want to buy the type of vehicle they can produce with the highest profit margin. After all we all know that real men drive huge trucks that can pull enormous load up steep hills.

  • Dom

    Speaking of advertising, finally VW and Audi are starting to advertise their clean diesel offerings… it’s about time. If the media and government would do more than just blindly push a single solution (hybrid) we might get some really great choices! Sure plug-ins and electric stuff are going to be part of the solution for the future… but diesel is a great solution that is already here, right now, as in the present! And this BMW X1 might even have some mild hybrid features, and get 40mpg?!?! What are they waiting for?

  • uktiger

    Hey Mr. Common Sense… they did go out of business because they wanted to sell 12MPG monster trucks.

    You can repeat your idiocy one more time… and then again but nobody will listen because what you say is nonsense.

  • Oak

    Well, the problem with diesel is, that it is used by trucks, buses, trains, machinery, etc. And since it is dependent on production of gasoline, pushing (excessively) car market towards diesel will result in spiraling prices of diesel and cheaper gasoline. We had pretty large crisis here in Europe last year. And then the problem is, that high diesel price than affect many industries, i.e. agricultural, transport, construction, etc.
    Don’t get me wrong – clean diesel is good. But an idea of all (or most of them) cars to run on diesel is unreal.

  • crut100

    I dom’t think Americans are ignorant regarding diesels, rather most of the diesels brought over have still gotten absolutley sh**ty gas mileage for the price. Come on 23mpg for an x5. To my knowledge the only decent gas mileage vehicle in the Volkswagen Jett TDI and I have seen several of them around – even in my sleeply little town. BMW has the 335d but at over 50K for a little car that is absurd with only a decent mpg (Jetta is basically the same size and half the price) If BMW would bring over a true high mileage vehicle like the x1 I think it would do quite well.

    FYI – not bashing on BMW I absolutely LOVE their cars, I’ve had a 528, and two M5’s but I just sold my M5 last year and will not buy another Bimmer until they wake up and produce/bring to America a larger (5 series size +) vehicle that gets decent mileage. I figure these companies are like my kids. You’ve got to show them you’re serious before they will modify their behavior!!!

  • Dom

    Well, I guess whether Americans are ignorant about diesels is up for debate, but for some reason the only automakers that really think we will buy them are VW/Audi and Mercedes. The rest think there is no market… not sure who they asked to come to this conclusion.

  • RKRB

    I’m skeptical the X-1 will get 43 mpg in the EPA tests, and it would be nice to see some hard data on this. The SUV seems less aerodynamic and at least as heavy as the 335d, so somehow getting an additional 10 more miles per gallon seems a bit of a teaser, although I am sure you’ll hear a few anecdotal reports of 40+ mpg.

    Americans may be skeptical about diesels partly because of their track record. Back in the ’70’s, GM introduced diesel cars that destroyed the reputations of diesel durability. Big diesel Mercedes cars were among the most popular luxury cars of the late ’70’s, but my wife and I test drove one and both checked to see if the parking brake was on (it was not) — very slow and not much more efficient than a standard car (we eventually bought a smaller, faster 190 turbodiesel, but the traditional diesel was fairly noisy). The Sierra Club and other environmental groups also lobbied heavily to kill diesels because of emissions concerns. American diesel engines persisted mainly in trucks, and if you’ve ever had a neighbor with a diesel truck who starts it up at 5AM, you won’t think much of traditional diesels either. Meanwhile, in Europe, the emissions and fuel tax situation favored diesels, and modern diesel engines offered inherently greater torque, fuel efficiency, and durability than most gas engines of similar sizes. We drove a European diesel in Italy a couple of years ago and were impressed. We now drive an Escape hybrid and are very happy with it — it also has plenty of torque and the durability of these hybrids has been excellent, so the only reason we may return to a diesel would be that the VW’s are more enjoyable to drive than the average hybrid.

  • Doc Santino

    I realize that they want to be a bit conservative with their diesel offerings, in case they don’t catch on. Despite this, I think that if they’re going to bring a diesel model out here, they need to offer us the same options as they would for the gas engine (i.e. automatic vs. manual transmission, and 2-wheel-drive vs. all-wheel-drive). As a potential customer, if I feel like I’m being short-changed on options, or that this car purchase would be almost a downgrade, I’m not going to buy it. If I’m going to spend this much money on a car, it had better give me everything I’m paying for. If I don’t feel fully satisfied with the car, I’ll take my business elsewhere. In my case, I want a diesel engine, xdrive, and a manual transmission. Until BMW offers those three options in a sedan, they can count me out.

  • Sundog

    “We’re hoping that by 2011, overall diesel sales will have ramped up in the US”

    So how exactly can diesel sales ‘ramp up’ if either no one is selling them, or they’re in the higher end models?

    VW is the only car maker to offer affordable diesels. The others seem to like setting them up to fail, or to pad their wallets by only putting them in pricey SUVs.

    Same deal with Chrysler and MB. We had the top end Grand Cherokee, but no Wrangler diesel, a model people have been clamboring for. MB gives us the E class diesel, but not a C diesel.

  • BMW X5

    Nice model. I liked it. But i would prefer the new 2009 BMW X5 is an attractive, and best selling, mid size, luxurious SUV vehicle. It has many features like high tech gadgetry, remote operating one-touch power windows, dual-zone automatic climate control and AM/FM/CD/MP3 12-speaker audio with auxiliary input etc. To know more on BMW X5 car’s features, performance, refer

  • Jaqes

    The BMW X5, shown to the world’s media for the first time this week and due in South Africa in early 2010, is BMW’s smallest SUV but still a family hauler with space for five adults and 420 litres of luggage in its five-door body – or a weekend getaway machine with BMW’s X-Drive all-wheel drive and 1350 litres of playtoy cargo bay once the rear seats are folded. its really a nice car in FL.

  • Tim McLaughlin

    This is exactly what diesel -aka “clean diesel”- does best: 30%+ better fuel mileage and the great driving satisfaction that comes from all that torque. This is clearly the best “clean diesel” light-vehicle concept offered by any manufacturer- Americans are shifting to the small SUV and I believe it will sell very well here.

  • rvshape

    Well, BMW could bring a clean diesel version of the X1, its new compact crossover vehicle, to the US by 2011. The vehicle will go on sale in Europe this fall, where it will be offered as four separate models three with a diesel system and one powered by gasoline.

  • Phil

    My wife has a TDI Jetta wagon that is amazing. If the X1 is sold with a diesel I will seriously consider it for my next car. If it’s not available as a diesel I won’t bother to take a look.

  • David

    I could respond to hundreds of websites and blogs/comments about how I drove a diesel BMW in the Pyrenees mountains in northern Spain. Wow!!!What a blast! I have not purchased a car since I came home 2.5 years ago waiting for the day they bring a car like that here. Look up the mileage figures for their diesel cars overseas on a European website for BMW. Especially the 118 and 123d I believe… INCREDIBLE mileage and sportiness to boot! Stop-start technology rules. Period. Why pollute and waste fuel waiting for a green light??? Give me the real deal or give me my 97 Chevy p/u until you do! Or, I can keep driving my Ford Focus SVT, or…