The diesel Bimmer is back. A new wave of diesel BMW 3 Series models is invading the U.S., beginning with the 2014 BMW 328d, the sister version of the entry-level 3 Series sedan.
This isn't the first diesel 3 Series to hit the States. The 335d (E90 generation) launched in the U.S. in 2008 and was discontinued for the 2011 model year. Perhaps feeling the pressure of other carmakers bringing more diesel models to American shores, BMW is back in the game with a smaller diesel-powered engine for its bread-and-butter model.
Under the hood is BMW's 2.0-liter TwinPower diesel four-cylinder engine, good for 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is available from as low as 1750 rpm. That's compared with the 328i gasoline sedan's turbocharged inline-4 good for 240 hp and 255 lb.-ft.
The BMW 328d will use an 8-speed automatic, which will be the only transmission choice. The 328d will be available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the latter likely called BMW 328d xDrive.
BMW says the 328d sedan will sprint from 0-60 mph in slightly more than seven seconds, far slower than the 328i gasoline model's 5.7-second 0-60 mph time.
But what the 328d lacks in speed, it makes up for in efficiency. Manufacturer fuel economy estimates put it at 32/45 mpg city/highway for the rear-wheel-drive model, compared with an EPA-estimated 23/26 mpg City/Highway with the gasoline engine.
Equipment on the BMW 328d is expected be identical to that found on the 328i gasoline model: The 2013 BMW 328i comes standard with vinyl upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power-adjustable front seats with driver's seat memory, cruise control and Bluetooth. BMW's iDrive interface with 6.5-inch display controls a standard premium sound system with a CD player, HD radio, auxiliary audio jack, USB port and iPod/iPhone connectivity. Standard wheels are 17-inch alloys.
Exact specs on options aren't yet available, as BMW is still tweaking some of the content packaging for the 2014 model year. We do know some changes will be made to infotainment and telematics options. For example, BMW's collision notification system, known as eCall, will come standard on all BMW models for a 10-year subscription period, and will be transferable between owners. Previously, eCall was bundled with the BMW Assist Safety Plan, which cost $650 and provided only four years of eCall service.
BMW Apps will also expand, providing seamless smartphone integration for subscribers of Audible.com and Rhapsody. Location-based service Glympse and streaming radio app TuneIn also join the lineup.
A diesel version of the 3 Series sport wagon, which is all-new for 2014, will launch with the 328d sedan. All models are scheduled to arrive in dealerships in the fall of 2013.
Pricing has not yet been announced, but sources at BMW hint that the 328d will fit somewhere between the 328i and 335i gasoline models, which start at $36,850 and $43,150, respectively. That should put it somewhere around the $40,000 mark.