BMW Dropping Diesel in the U.S., With an Asterisk

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
bmw dropping diesel in the u s with an asterisk

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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  • NeilM NeilM on Sep 13, 2018

    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...

    • TOTitan TOTitan on Sep 13, 2018

      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 have to pay attention to when various wear items have timed out and replace them before they leave you stranded.

  • Padre92009 Padre92009 on Apr 23, 2019

    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.

  • Wjtinfwb How does the ICE mid-engine C8 platform work for... anything else? A sedan? SUV? With a mid engine configuration? A mid-engine SUV will have to be Suburban sized to offer the utility of a CRV. GM should dust off the Omega platform designed for the Cadillac CT6 for an SUV/Sedan offering with exceptional handling, Rear or AWD capability and acceptable space utilization. They also need to focus on interior fit & finish, trim choices and high quality final engineering and assembly. What GM doesn't need is another half-baked product with a storied and prestigious badge on the decklid and a premium price on the Monroney. No more Cimarron's, Allante's or X-cars needed to tarnish the reputation of Corvette.
  • InCogKneeToe BUILD It and they will come.By Build It, I mean a Vehicle that the Customer Wants and it works for them. It could be called Chevette for all that that matters. The Mach E's success isn't because it totes the Mustang on it.Just build what people want, the next Caravan/Taurus/Beetle/Maverick (truck).
  • YellowDuck do you make a mid-engine crossover? Or even a 4-door coupe? Me not get.
  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
  • Mark 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, G4NG engine with connecting rod bearing issues. Engine needs to be replaced, but Hyundai is denying warranty claim. I have all maintenance records from mile zero. It has been in Hyundai Service department 5 time in 4 months. They added the knock sensor and software update to let you know the engine is about to blow up. They kicked the can down the road doing patch work until the car was past the 120k extended extended warranty. I have that documentation too. So how can I join the class action law suit or find a Lawyer that handles these types of issues?