What Is It?
2014 BMW 328d
What's Special About It?
The 3 Series lineup is BMW's sales leader in the U.S., so it's a significant move toward mainstreaming new-age diesel technology when BMW trusts its four-cylinder diesel enough to make it a part of the 3 Series lineup.
The move also won't hurt BMW's corporate average fuel economy ratings, as the company announced at the New York auto show today that the rear-drive 2013 BMW 328d will get 45 mpg on the highway (low to mid-30 mpg in the city). BMW sources told Edmunds they believe the 2014 328d may be the highest highway-mileage non-hybrid vehicle sold in the U.S. market. We'll check, but a quick perusal of our mental database leaves no reason to immediately reject the claim.
The brand, of course, must be protective of its performance reputation. It'll be up to the market to decide if 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque can uphold BMW's honor. One aspect brand guardians might balk about: Forget shifting for yourself. The only available transmission for the 2014 BMW 328d will be an eight-speed automatic.
"[Automatic] is the transmission of choice in the U.S.," Victor Leleu, product planning specialist for the 3 Series, told Edmunds at an off-site media event prior to the New York auto show. More to the point, perhaps, Leleu emphasized the eight-speed autobox wrings the best efficiency from the 2.0-liter diesel, and achieving the utmost fuel economy is the end game, after all.
Those who long for diesel hooked to an all-wheel-drive chassis can rejoice in BMW's decision to team the four-cylinder diesel with AWD for either the 328d sedan or wagon. So the only thing missing for the ultimate diesel-lover cliché is a manual wagon. Anything available for the gasoline-engine 328i lineup will be available for the diesel cars, including the near-vital sport and M-spec packages.
The diesel-driven 3er will go on sale in the U.S. in late summer or early fall. The rear-drive 2014 BMW 328d Sedan will start at less than $40,000, Leleu promised.
What Edmunds Says:
Economy car slapdown mileage from BMW's enthusiast favorite? Who could turn that down? Provided the performance satisfies, that is.
Base Price: TBA
Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 180 horsepower, 280 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
Fuel Mileage: 45 mpg highway (est.)