"Diesel? Are you sure that’s a good choice….?"
I had just explained to my mom that I was taking the plunge and buying a BMW. A diesel burning BMW at that. The 335d to be precise.
For many Americans, diesel conjures up a couple thoughts:
- Huge, dirty tractor trailers clogging the highways with billowing plumes of soot.
- Huge, dirty trucks and SUVs that are both ill-equipped for city usage and poor environmental citizens.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder most folks have an aversion to buying diesel vehicles.
What they miss is that modern diesel engines are safer, cleaner, and more efficient than their gasoline counterparts. In fact, you can stick a wick in a vat of diesel, light it, and not blow yourself to kingdom come. Try doing that with regular gasoline! (Better yet, don’t)
Diesel in Brief
Diesel engines differ from gasoline engines in a rather unique and interesting way. Instead of using a spark plug to ignite fuel, they rely instead on intense heat created by compressed air. The typical diesel cycle follows this basic pattern:
- Crankshaft pushes the piston head up into the cylinder, compressing the air by nearly 20:1. This compression creates intense heat, often in excess of 1,000°F.
- Diesel fuel is injected into the cylinder while under this intense heat and pressure. The intense pressure leads to a finer dispersement of fuel and the heat from compressing the air quickly burns off said fuel quickly.
- The rapid burning of the fuel leads to gas expansion, drives the piston head down, and rotates the crankshaft.
This process is generally much more fuel efficient than gasoline and delivers superior mechanical efficiency (read: better gas mileage). The really fun part is that adding a turbocharger to a diesel engine only improves gas mileage. Not what you usually expect out of a turbocharger.
All of this technology comes together beautifully in BMW’s 335d — currently the only diesel sedan from BMW available this side of the Atlantic. The 335d sports some impressive numbers:
- 0-60 MPH in 6 seconds
- 265 Horsepower
- 425 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 RPM
- 36 MPG highway
- 580 miles per tank
Take a moment and let that all sink in.
Everything about this car is real, authentic BMW. It corners like a champ, feels agile in the turns, and really makes you feel one with the road. On top of that you get torque that even the M3 can’t match. With full torque at 1,750 RPM, it feels like being shot out of a canon from a dead stop. In a word: Awesome.
Fantastic agility. Amazing power. And superior gas mileage. It’s rare you find so many great benefits wrapped up in one package.