The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week officially rated the 2014 BMW 328d sedan at 32 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, for combined fuel economy of 37 miles per gallon. BMW previously predicted that efficiency for the diesel “could well exceed 40 mpg.” The German carmaker delivered big-time on its promise—bringing the 328d to the front of a growing pack of fun, powerful and efficient turbocharged diesel sedans available in the United States.
Diesels can offer a fuel economy gain of 20 percent or more, compared to gasoline cars, but have only just begun to capture the attention of U.S. car buyers. Diesels make up less than one percent of new vehicles sold in the United States. These clean diesel vehicles provide an attractive alternative to gas cars, hybrids and EVs: offering abundant highway fuel economy and zippy performance at a moderate increase in cost.
Luxury carmakers see this balance as well-suited to their customers, many of whom would like to pay fewer visits to the gas station but aren’t willing to wait 10 seconds or more to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour.
The 328d boasts a 36-percent improvement in highway fuel economy over its gas-fueled sibling, the 328i, which provides 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway for a combined 26 mpg.
How much will that extra efficiency cost you? A little more than $3,000—and about 1.5 seconds in off-the-line acceleration time.
Still, the 328d’s performance stats are nothing to sneeze at. The diesel’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine yields 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, with 0-60 acceleration of about 7.1 seconds. That compares to the gas-powered 328i, which provides 240 horses and 255 lb-ft of torque. While not as fast as the 328i, the 328d compares favorably to the leading turbodiesel on the market: the Volkswagen Jetta (140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque.)
Like competing brands—most notably Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes—BMW is expanding its diesel presence in the United States. Four years ago, the carmaker released the 335d, a clean diesel, which was configured more for power than efficiency. The car shared an engine with the X5 SUV, which came out a year later and has since been one of the top-selling luxury diesels on the market. BMW will be adding wagon and all-wheel drive variants of the 328d by the end of the year.
The 328d rear-wheel drive sedan starts at $39,525. If saving money on fuel is the sole price of admission, the 328d might not be the first car on your list. But for luxury buyers seeking a compelling blend of performance and fuel efficiency—with all-wheel drive and wagon options—the car is definitely worth a look.
Check out all the BMW clean diesel vehicles available on eBay Motors.
Article by Brad Berman, appearing courtesy ebay Green Driving.