Cars Diesel Powered BMW

Published on November 6th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Remember Diesel Powered Sedans And Their Torque

A time when diesel powered cars outsold petrol cars in Europe.

Go back a few decades and the only diesel engine you would see was under the bonnet of a commercial vehicle, a bus, farm machine, a luxury sedan (like the BMW E28 524td pictured here) or a luxury SUV.

Diesel Powered BMW 5 Series

Vehicles like the Mercedes G-Wagon and Range Rover with diesel engines produced impressive high torque with lower fuel costs.

Then about two decades ago things changed. Even compact cars were produced with the choice of a diesel engine. Volkswagen, Ford, Opel, BMW and Peugeot were leading the compact diesel passenger car segment.

Car buyers were attracted to diesel power for a variety of reasons. Low fuel consumption had long been the diesels’ strong suit, especially in larger SUVs where the difference between petrol and diesel engine consumption is at its greatest due to the size and heft of early luxury SUV’s.

At the time the new showroom purchase price difference between petrol and diesel variants started to narrow and with some brands the difference was less than RM15,000.

Back then if you were buying a diesel to save on running costs alone, though, you needed to consider a couple of issues.

Your driving mileage, meaning how far do you drive and will it have a big effect on the bottom line.

BHP_Euro5 Diesel_2021_Lexus NX

If you drive less than the average of 10,000km per year, let’s say 7500km, calculate this over five years you will be around RM1,000 worse off compared to the petrol equivalent.

And there can be some other ‘hidden’ costs, especially if you only drive short distances. So high mileage drivers benefited from having a diesel powered car.

However, diesel engines were cheaper to service and had lower running costs. This is why till today many people love modern pickup trucks like the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi Triton. Lets not forget the popularity of diesel luxury sedans like the E300 Blutech Hybrid and the AMG tuned C220 CDI.

Diesel engines were more efficient because the diesel fuel burns at a higher temperature than petrol. But diesel’s higher energy density means it can also emit more black smoke.

In the last decade car manufacturers managed to improve catalytic converters to burn soot/smoke and have added filters to capture more of the bad emissions.

Europe nations were largely responsible for the popularity and refinement of diesel cars, partly due to their tax incentives that used to favor diesel-powered cars.

There’s also a cost issue, which doesn’t calculate as well in Malaysia because diesel usually costs about ONLY 10 to 20 cents plus less per litre less over unleaded petrol. However, the economy offered from diesel engines is the key and likely to be a large component of the push towards diesel-powered large sized luxury SUVs.

The years before dieselgate, diesel engine cars popularity were almost twice of petrol counterparts in Europe with their powerful acceleration times and great engine torque.

BMW used to deliver diesel sedans that were almost as fast as their petrol powered ‘M’ cars and Volkswagen diesel sedans could match the power delivery of their Golf GTI’s.

Drivers who are looking for that quick boost at traffic lights will find that the new diesel-powered sedans or SUV’s will give them the acceleration they desire.

Today, the diesel powered car has been retired and only modern pickup trucks are still running powerful diesel engines.

This will also soon be retired like what we see in the Ford Maverick pickup truck which is powered by either the 2.0L Ecoboost petrol with an 8-speed conventional automatic or a 2.5L Duratec hybrid with an e-CVT.

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