2008 Detroit Auto Show: 2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d Preview
What it Is
new cars: 2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d Preview – Despite the cumbersome moniker, the xDrive35d is a turbo-diesel powered X5, and it’s going to be a 50-state vehicle when it arrives late this year. Like Mercedes-Benz, BMW uses urea injection to turn nitric oxides into nitrogen and water vapor, thereby meeting emissions regulations. The system also doesn’t need to be refilled any more often than when owners have the engine oil changed, a move by both automakers to lessen any inconvenience. BMW’s diesel is 3.0-liter, inline-six cylinder, twin-turbo engine that is already sold in other parts of the world. The same engine also will be offered in a version of the 3 Series sedan. At the press conference, BMW frequently emphasized how important diesel power is to its plans to reduce carbon emissions. The xDrive35d goes on sale in the fall.Why it Matters
The return of diesel passenger cars to all 50 states comes after a long absence, and without the noise, soot and stench that turned off buyers two decades ago. Clean diesel technology, along with high-pressure injection systems have all but eliminated those drawbacks. While Mercedes lays claim to being the first to bring a diesel car back to California by leasing a handful of E320 Bluetecs, BMW hasn’t announced either pricing or any limitations for its two entries when they appear later this year. The remaining hurdle for many drivers is higher vehicle price for a diesel vs. a gasoline car. Extended engine life can make up for that if buyers keep their diesel vehicles long enough.
What’s Under the Hood
BMW is using its 3.0-liter, twin-turbo, inline-six cylinder engine in both of the diesel offerings it will be showing in Detroit and bringing to the States. It’s a clean diesel engine that the automaker dubs Advanced Diesel with BluePerformance. The engine produces 265 horsepower and 425 lb.-ft. of torque, good for 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds in the crossover, BMW says. The automaker estimates fuel economy at 19 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. By comparison, the gasoline-powered X5 with the V-8 gets to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and gets 14 mpg in town and 19 out on the road.
What It Looks Like
The diesel version of the X5 is indistinguishable from the gasoline version.
What BMW Says
“The first BMW Advanced Diesel with BluePerformance is particularly well-suited to combine the driving dynamics and motoring refinement of a premium automobile with the most current and demanding standards for preserving resources and reducing emissions. Featuring exceptional power and torque, the 3.0-liter inline-six diesel is one of the most fuel-efficient and economical engines in its class.”
What We Think
A 50-state clean diesel crossover with performance that’s close to its gasoline counterpart is a great thing for buyers and the U.S. automotive market. While there’s no such thing as a single panacea for worries over energy supplies and the environment, a clean diesel offers efficiency and low emissions. Buyers who keep their vehicles long enough will realize the most savings. The big question is whether buyers can get over the price premium of buying a diesel vehicle and have the patience to keep it long enough to reap the benefits.
By Bob Beamesderfer
MyRide Road Test Editor
Photo Credit: Staff