BMW 316d: Worth a Longing Glance?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

It’s BMW’s most efficient 3 series yet, which means it’s a brand-killer stateside Not to worry though, the new M5 will have 600hp. We’ll get that. Anyway, the two liter BMW oil burner gets 62.8mpg (52 miles per US gallon, non-EPA testing) and emits fewer than 120 grams of carbon per kilometer. Too bad it still starts at about $38K (in the UK). And takes 10.9 seconds to reach 62 mph. And since we’re in the realm of Euro-diesel fantasy, wouldn’t you just as soon cough up $40-42K for a 123d five-door? It may only get 50 mpg (41 US, etc), but it’s the first diesel to produce 100 hp per liter, and “a gem of an engine,” according to Autocar. Back in the stark reality of the American market though, that new M5 is going to have a twin-turbo V10. And in case that’s not enough, it will also boast a boost button based on the F1 KERS system. Good times.

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • Ghillie Ghillie on Jun 26, 2009
    TonyJZX : June 25th, 2009 at 9:59 pm comparing this to a prius… i would much rather drive a world class 50/50 rwd package sitting on 260Nm torque with a smart 6 spd manual you are comparing car that has ‘the ultimate driving machine’ in its veins vs. a ‘the ultimate washing machine’ A BMW is no more "the ultimate driving machine" than a Prius is "the ultimate washing machine". But moving on past the marketing hoopla - each of the two has a different focus. Just because you wouldn't enjoy driving a Prius doesn't mean someone else doesn't. DarkSpork : June 25th, 2009 at 7:28 pm Prius’ get their best gas mileage in the city where the electric engine is able to help propel the vehicle, on the highway you have the 1.5L engine powering the vehicle on its on and you can expect typical small 4cyl mileage. This is a popular misconception that still pops up on TTAC no matter how often it's pointed out to be wrong. A Prius can still get its best mileage on the open road because the hybrid system reduces the inefficiency of stop-start motoring, but doesn't eliminate it. The electricity in the battery isn't free - it still comes from the fuel in the tank. Also, the electric motor is not irrelevant on the highway, it consistently provides a small amount of "boost" to maintain momentum. The work done by each motor is determined by the controlling electronics, which I assume are programed to maximise efficiency (subject to necessary limitations - such as the need to prolong NiMH battery life). What is typical small 4cyl mileage on the highway? In a Prius it is not difficult to get about 55mpg at 55-60mph on the open road. Average mileage (city + suburban + open road) depends on many things (such as; average trip length, ambient temperature, geography, driving style) but 47mpg is also not difficult to get.
  • DarkSpork DarkSpork on Jun 26, 2009
    ghillie : June 26th, 2009 at 9:53 am What is typical small 4cyl mileage on the highway? In a Prius it is not difficult to get about 55mpg at 55-60mph on the open road. Average mileage (city + suburban + open road) depends on many things (such as; average trip length, ambient temperature, geography, driving style) but 47mpg is also not difficult to get. Well, saying "small" 4 cyl I mean 1.6L or less (I understand that there aren't many still being sold new in the US outside of the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, but the older examples are generally better anyways). A friend of mine has a Yaris, and he has the receipts to prove that he averages 50mpg commuting. I wouldn't be surprised to see the same from a Honda Fit. My mother has a Pontiac Vibe (1.8L 1zzge engine used in Corollas), I managed 40mpg doing an average of 75mph on a trip to Canada in it (I understand this falls short of the 47mpg number. Under the old estimates the new civics were rated at 39mpg highway, which should not be difficult to exceed. The older HX/VX civics were rated at 44mpg highway, anybody remember the old Tercels? They got 39 highway (again, not hard to exceed). Here's a pretty good example: 1995 Honda Civic HB VX 47 city, 56 highway. Ford Aspire of the same vintage, 42 highway. The 1.9L Saturns were rated at 28 city 40 highway, I knew somebody who used it to commute in and averaged 45mpg (until the transmission gave up). I'm sure that the Prius bests some of these numbers by a little bit on long road trips by at least a little but I doubt enough to justify a 20k price tag. A friend rented one to take on a 800 mile trip and averaged 37 (not bad considering he had to drive through some hills). My point was that the Prius is a really environmentally conscientious buy for people who actually have to sit in traffic or do a lot of city driving, otherwise the idea of putting small engines in small cars for good fuel economy is not really a new idea. I'm not knocking its as an economy car, I'm just saying its not for everybody; personally I would rather have the 95' Civic hatchback VX I mentioned earlier in the post.
  • Johann Johann on Jul 03, 2009

    The "gem of an engine" Autocar is referring to is the twin turbo version of this engine. Just like a 325d, a 330d and 335d have the same engine (with the 325 being the lowest stressed), this 316 has the same engine block as the 123d. But in terms of character they can't be further apart. You cannot quote this low stressed 316 in the same sentence as that in a 123d, just as you will never ever compare a 325d with a 335d. So in future please compare apples with apples before you throw powerful quotes like that around.

  • Bomber991 Bomber991 on Jul 11, 2009

    Alright guys (DarkSpork), let me tell you the truth about the Prius. Yes, in city driving you will average a fantastic 50mpg, but on highway driving, let me tell you, you'll get a horrible 50mpg. So where does this leave you at the end of the day? Regardless of what kind of driving you do, you'll usually end up with a 50mpg tank. There really isn't any conventional engine car you can buy today that will get you 50mpg on the freeway. Sure there's the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, but you've got to drive them fancy to get 50mpg out of them. Though I'll admit they probably are cheaper in the long run compares to a Prius. And if your daily commute is "mostly highway", that still means there's city driving and probably stop and go driving mixed in. So most people will get something between the combined and highway rating for their cars then. You can't really trust everyones numbers either. I caught a fish that was 12 inches big is what billy bob says, but actually it was barely 6 inches. We all know people lie about things to make themselves sound better. The truth is that most people either average the EPA combined rating, or up to 10% better. Driving slower and anticipating stops is required to do better than that.