Arriving in December, BMW's new 2009 335d sedan and X5 xDrive35d Sports Activity Vehicle will be the German firm's first U.S. diesel models since the 524td last sold here in 1985-86. Like their green-gen counterparts from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, BMW's diesel duo will sweeten the appeal of their ultra-clean character, enthusiast orientation and mileage-making skills with substantial federal tax breaks.
Both the 335d and X5 xDrive35d share a common engine, presented under the BMW Advanced Diesel with BluePerformance banner. This new 3.0-liter common-rail in-line six is a tech-rich exercise that matches twin sequential turbochargers for maximum output, precise electronic control of its third-generation piezo-electric injectors to optimize efficiency and a particulate filter plus downstream urea injection -- known as AdBlue -- to trim tailpipe emissions to 50-state-compliant levels. An energetic motivator, it cranks out a solid 265-horsepower but a mountainous 425 lb.-ft. of torque. Paired with the mandatory six-speed automatic transmission, BMW says it can send the 335d to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds and take the oil-burning X5 to that mark in just 7.2 ticks. Although the AdBlue tanks in both vehicles will require periodic refills, their on-board reservoirs are scaled to match up with normal oil-change intervals to make that process virtually transparent to owners.
With 23/36 mpg city/highway EPA ratings, the 335d has the distinction of being the most fuel efficient BMW of any kind ever sold in America. The X5 xDrive35d is no slouch in that critical arena either, earning impressive 19/26 mpg preliminary EPA stats. As a final bit of numeric buyer bait, the 335d, which should start around $45,000, also is eligible for a $900 Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit. That figure is $1,550 on the X5 xDrive35d, now projected to open in the low-$50K range.