By on September 12, 2018

If, like most American consumers, there’s a diesel-powered BMW on your Christmas wish list, you’d best tell your loved ones to hurry. The German automaker plans to drop that meager sliver of its U.S. product line for 2019, but there’s a chance the wishes of the oil-burning crowd will force the automaker to hang on to a single model.

During a media preview of the revamped 2019 X5 SUV, BMW spokesman Alex Schmuck told The Car Connection, “We are putting all our eggs in the PHEV basket.”

With the Environmental Protection Agency treating compression ignition vehicles like radioactive waste, it’s not a surprising move. From Volkswagen’s recent emissions scandal to General Motors’ dismal 1980s diesel experiment, Americans haven’t had the greatest experience dealing with this Eurocentric engine type (Cummins customers notwithstanding). Plug-in hybrids represent a stepping stone to the electric future the majority of automakers believe we’re barreling towards. And no one associates PHEVs with unsavory things like sooty exhaust and clattery engines.

Regardless of GM’s newfound bullishness on the fuel, diesel passenger cars are few, and the advent of electrification technology has made the engine type unnecessary from a MPG perspective — though maybe not from a development cost perspective (depending on automaker). A X5 PHEV due out in early 2020 should offer about 40 miles of electric range.

For the 2018 model year, BMW offered only the X5 35d, which no longer appears on the brand’s consumer website, and the 328d, which does. Now, what about that asterisk in the headline? Well, it seems Bimmer’s PR guy said too much, too soon.

In an email to The Car Connection, BMW wrote, “The final decision as to whether or not the BMW X5 diesel variant will come to the U.S. market has not been made. BMW of North America continues to monitor customer preferences and is prepared to adjust the product portfolio accordingly.”

[Images: BMW Group]

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11 Comments on “BMW Dropping Diesel in the U.S., With an Asterisk...”


  • avatar
    redapple

    Would love me some X5 Diesel.

    Good looking CUV. The one I d buy if in the market.
    (this from a former Land Rover guy )

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The big problems for the PHEV vs diesel are the highway and towing. Once the battery runs flat after 15 to 30 miles, the usually small gasoline motor has to work hard by itself to maintain the highway cruise (not helped by the extra battery weight), and as a result typically gets much lower MPG than the diesel equivalent. I think PHEV may also typically have lower towing ratings than the diesel, and I suspect will also get much lower MPG towing a boat or trailer than the diesel.

  • avatar
    PennSt8

    Yup, BMW pulled the plug on the 540d a couple of months ago. Talk about short lived, it was introduced for sale in January of this year.

    If BMW can make good on the promise of delivering 50 miles of range on electric, I think the PHEV X5 will do well. Especially considering the fact that it will dump the 4 cylinder in favor for the 6.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I got beside a brown 328d wagon at a red light the other day. Since I’m in a C-Max now, my engine was shut off so I was able to roll my window all the way down and listen to that sweet diesel engine at idle and as it accelerated when the light turned green.

    I still love diesels, but I don’t want to care for another one.

  • avatar

    I wanted to be a fan. On vacation in Germany, I got an e90 320d. It propelled me to 140 mph on the autobahn, and ran consistent at over 100 mph. We got better mileage than a friend with a gas engined car on the same trip on the same roads….and I bought a TDi in the States. For some reason, it didn’t work out the same way here. My diesel particulate filter cracked. Pre dieselgate VW covered only half. $3600 for a car with 80k is unacceptable. I looked at BMW (drove a 335d…spectacular) but for whatever reason saw lots of DPF problems here too. I drove the TDi hard, so it wasn’t a question of never blowing it out….but the money I saved with my 40 mpg TDi was lost at the dealership. I even had Amsoil cetane boost as US diesel is for garbage trucks and earth movers and freight trains. Oh, well…

  • avatar
    multicam

    So did they drop that BMW there by helicopter or…?

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I own a X5 diesel and it is amazing. It weighs 5200 lbs and averages 26 mpg. It can climb I-70 with a full load of people and their stuff effortlessly making all those escalades etc look pathetic. The M57 diesel actually works better in the X5 than the 335d because it has to work harder which results in very little carbon build up (I also owned a 335d).

  • avatar
    NeilM

    A friend of mine has an X5 diesel, and loved it right until the transfer case cracked (never off-roaded, multiple thousands of dollars fix) and the low pressure transfer fuel pump died ($700 plus installation), and, and…

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      Did he ever have the transfer case serviced? Ive taken mine through mud so deep it was scraping the bottom of the car with no problems. BMWs arent like Toyotas…you have to pay attention to when various wear items have timed out and replace them before they leave you stranded.

  • avatar
    Padre92009

    My wife has a 2011 335D and will not give it up. I told her I will buy her any new BMW she wants. She says nothing handles or goes like her 335D. I had her test drive the 5 series diesal but she didn’t like the size. She says she will keep what she has until BMW offers something else, not likely from what I read. On the other hand her 335D could last a long time.

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