BMW has chosen to discontinue sales of their 335d model for 2013 in the U.S. market. A shame for drivers holding out for the 3-series refresh which occurred in 2012. With the release of the ActiveHybrid 3 Series we are led to believe that BMW has joined the media hype favoring hybrid vehicles. Yet, a plug-in hybrid contains 2 separate systems so there are far more materials (minerals and metals) for the manufacture, more technologies and therefore more points of failure, higher maintenance and ultimately the extremely high replacement cost of the hybrid battery – $12K for this particular BMW. Also, the hybrid still runs on gasoline. The following articles provide a more detailed and real-world perspective.
BMW diesel lovers still have options in the 2013 U.S. market lineup with the X5 35d (EPA 19/36MPG) and the new 3-series sports wagon is expected to get a diesel version as well. There are also some rumblings about a 7-series diesel coming to the U.S. market so BMW might one day actually compete with Daimler and Audi per their full-line fleet offerings in the U.S. Market.
The 2013 328i offers similar EPA emission and mpg results as the outgoing 2012 335d suggesting that BMW dropped the “d” version because their diesel engine tech had slipped in relation to their economical petrol-sipping variety. Then again, the new BMW 328i comes with a small turbocharged and direct-injected 240-bhp 2.0-liter N20 inline-4. BMW calls this engine TwinPower not because of twin turbocharging, but because of the combination of its double VANOS variable camshaft timing and Valvetronic variable valve timing with a twin-scroll single turbocharger fed by two separate exhaust banks. The result is a healthy bump of 10 bhp and 60 ft.-lb. of torque compared to the previous 328i equipped with a 3.0-liter inline-6 engine. In fact, BMW tells us the N20 delivers its 260 ft.-lb. of peak torque at 1250 rpm, helping the new 3 Series sprint to 60 mph in 5.7 sec (with the 6-speed manual transmission), or 5.9 sec (8-speed automatic).
One significant concern this engine presents is a short life-cycle. Gasoline powered engine blocks with high temp turbo chargers rarely pass the 120,000 mile mark without major engine repair. Anyone who understands the advantages of diesel over gasoline powered vehicles knows the life cycle of a diesel is x2 that of the comparable gasoline car. This results in a lower environmental impact by almost 50%. It also reduces the life cycle cost per mile by nearly 50%. For the penny & pound wise, diesel vehicles have a considerably higher resale value than gasoline vehicles with the same mileage. Most importantly, it helps position the U.S. light fleet to take advantage of the U.S. Migration where biodiesel blends can extend the remaining petroleum supply for decades to come.
From the performance perspective, speed limits on U.S. roads can be achieved by even the lowest-end economy cars. The sensation of torque is the factor that really matters to the serious driver so we are confused as to why so many people continued to purchase the 2012 335i that produces only 300 lbs/ft of torque while the 2012 335d produces 425 lbs/ft of torque. Then again, BMW drivers have a reputation for a very short list of motivations so environmental impact, economy, longevity, national economics and energy independence are probably not considered by most. There was a time when a BMW gasoline powered vehicle was actually a desirable possession not unlike the gas guzzling Detroit muscle cars of the ’60’s and ’70’s.
The EPA does not measure mpg for diesel engines in MPPG (Miles Per Petroleum Gallon). So it appears that BMW may have made a hasty decision in that there are 7 U.S. states that have biodiesel mandates on the books today and the Federal EPA just recently submitted new legislation to make a biodiesel blend a national mandate. Biodiesel can be produced at $2/gallon today, next year, 5, 10, 20, 40, … years from now and biodiesel can be blended with petrodiesel at any percentage. Compare this to the rapidly rising price of petroleum – from the recent $2.30 gallon at the pumps to the current $4 and the projected $7 gallon at U.S. pumps within a few years and the public will make the right decision to Join the U.S. Migration. Here is where we are today – this is not sustainable… (total cost of fuel at the pump in red with government taxes per gallon in blue)
The U.S. Migration plan will ease the economic pain significantly and almost immediately and will provide the infrastructure that will support and utilize the large scale production of biodiesel sourced from 2nd generation feedstock. This is the only scalable, economically viable, environmentally friendly and truly sustainable replacement for petroleum we have today. U.S. citizens have wasted over $2T by purchasing hundreds of billions of lower energy density gallons of gasoline and burning that fuel in lower efficiency gasoline engines over just the past 10 years. There is a direct 1-to-1 relationship today between the strength of a nation’s economy and the percentage of that nation’s light fleet that runs on diesel fuel with biodiesel mandates.