Jill Fehrenbacher

An Exploration in Diesel, Courtesy of BMW

by , 10/12/13


BMW328D Hits the Lower East Side, BMW 328D, BMW 328 diesel, BMW 3 series, diesel car, diesel engine, diesel beamer, lower east side, essex street, New york, manhattan, lower manhattan, canal street, hester street

I’m excited to announce that this week I will be test-driving a BMW 328D and reporting back to you, dear readers, on the experience. When BMW first approached me and offered me their new diesel sedan to test-drive, I was a little confused. Knowing virtually nothing about diesel, except the mental image in my head of giant 18 wheeler diesel freight trucks spewing sooty black smoke, I wondered why would a green-car enthusiast like myself would be interested in diesel. Then I started wikipediaing…

Turns out that diesel is highly efficient, much more so than traditional gasoline.


BMW328D Hits the Lower East Side, BMW 328D, BMW 328 diesel, BMW 3 series, diesel car, diesel engine, diesel beamer, lower east side, essex street, New york, manhattan, lower manhattan, canal street, hester street

A diesel engine is built differently than a regular gasoline engine, and the internal combustion process happens through compression instead of a spark plug, which generally means you can go further with less fuel. BMW’s new 328D sedan gets up to 45 highway miles per gallon – which is as good an MPG as a hybrid electric vehicle like a Toyota Prius! It releases 14% less CO2 emissions than a typical gasoline car, and it can go up to 675 miles on a single tank of gas. Too bad I’m not planning to drive down to Miami this week (from New York), because, in theory, I could, on a single tank of diesel. Instead, I’ll be testing out how well the BMW 328 diesel transports oversized pumpkins and shrieking children from Long Island to New York City, as well as how it handles city driving, traffic on the BQE, schlepping to the IKEA in Red Hook, and more fun stuff like that.

Stay tuned for more to come!

thanks to Niels (shown in top pic) for so charmingly surprisingly me with this BMW 328D parked in front of my house this weekend!

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7 Comments

  1. Ana Lisa Ana Lisa Alperovich October 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t drive but remember that Diesel engines where always for crappy old cars, but much cheaper to run. This car is lush!

  2. Kevin Lee Kevin Lee October 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve never driven a diesel car, so I’m curious if there’s any noticeable difference between the power/acceleration of a diesel car and regular gas guzzler.

  3. Yuka Yoneda Yuka Yoneda October 10, 2013 at 10:55 am

    How much does diesel cost compared to gasoline?

  4. Sheldon October 10, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Gotta be careful with the mpg comparisons between Europe (well, the UK as Europe is “litres per 100km”) as the gallon in the US is different to the UK (tsk, naugty colonies ;-)) so 45mpg (US) is a reasonable (for a big fast car) 54mpg in the UK.

    Although the wierdest thing that “google” is reporting is that the 328d in the US is sold as the 320d in the UK?!
    Jill, just out of interest, what was the engine capacity of the car you drove? (I think it’s the only simple way to work this out)
    Looking at the (UK specs) of the 3-series tourers, the 320d appears to list between 57 & 65mpg (depending upon spec) which appears to be better that the 328d you drove.

    Aside: I wish that someone would release a hybrid that combined the electric motor with a diesel engine but in such a way that the ICU charges the batteries. That way you can use the diesel at a constant rpm irrespective of road speed (diesels give best effeciency in a narrow band of RPM – for most cars this is around 1700 to 2000rpm, it’s around the point the turbo starts up). The Prius (petrol) can often be beaten by comparable (non-hybrid) diesels so why not at least take the best of both worlds?
    (gah, even BMW only do an petrol-hybrid)

    Oh, and how disconcerting was it when the engine turned off on stopping at junctions? :-)

  5. Jill Fehrenbacher Jill Fehrenbacher October 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Gryff- I didn’t say I’d never “heard” of diesel. I just said I hadn’t ever considered it in the realm of “green car” until I read up more on the efficiency of this car. Not all diesel cars are this efficient – many older / truck models are still very polluting.

  6. gryff October 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    You can’t really call yourself a ‘green car enthusiast’ if you haven’t heard of diesel.

    Diesel and diesel hybrids are hot topic recently, with many breakthroughs in smart efficient engines in the lab. Search through Physorg to see some summaries.

    Also, Sheldon is right, Europe is laughing at your efficiency ;) There are 5 years old cars here that will get 80+ mpg on a motorway run.

  7. Sheldon October 8, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Welcome to the norm in Europe :-)
    I believe it’s a large reason why electric vehicles like the Prius are not more popular here as a diesel car of comparable size and performance to a Prius beats it on range, lifetime and overall cost for the first few years (cost per mile for Prius is cheaper but the car costs more initially).
    The 328D estate is a fine family car and, er, ‘goes’ well!
    (although I’m more of a 330D coupe fan – smaller & lighter car, bigger engine ;-)

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