Smart cars are one way to use less gas and get pretty decent mileage per gallon. Or, you could, if your pockets were deep enough, get a BMW Diesel-powered sedan, instead, and get even better gas mileage than you would buying a Smart car two coupe.
Impossible, you say? Well, the 2014 328d gets 32 miles per gallon in the city and an incredible 45 mpg on the highway, for a combined 37 mpg, while the tiny but relatively fuel-efficient Smart for two coupe gets 34 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, for a combined total of 36 mpg average.
Also, a 2014 BMW 328d gets better fuel economy than the smaller 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. According to the EPA, the Jetta TDI returns 30 mpg in city driving and 42 mpg on the highway.
What are some of the BMW Diesel Sedan’s features, other than being fuel-efficient?
The BMW 328d, which replaces the 335d as the diesel offering in the 3-series lineup, is quick to accelerate, according to its German maker. It can go from 0 to 60 in about 7 seconds. Take that, Smart car.
The new BMW diesel, according to Car and Driver, is:
…a 2.0-liter twin-turbo inline-four making 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic. Those output numbers are almost as impressive as the fuel economy: While diesels typically make less horsepower than a gas-powered engine of similar displacement, the 328d makes the same horsepower as the 320i (with 80 lb-ft more torque, we might add).
One drawback for automakers like BMW and Audi, which both would like to sell more diesel-powered cars in the U.S., is that they have to try to overcome a stereotype of diesel cars as being loud and dirty.
Also, diesel fuel costs more per gallon than unleaded, so filling a tank with diesel is more expensive. The most recent price figures from the US Energy Information Administration show that a gallon of gasoline costs $3.646, while a gallon of diesel comes out to $3.915.
BMW’s standard 2013 328i gets 23 mpg in the city, and 33 mpg on the highways, for a combined 26 mpg, in comparison to the 328d.
If you want to purchase a BMW diesel-powered car with all-wheel drive, the $41,525 328d xDrive sedan drops to 31 mpg city/43 mpg highway. The $43,875 328d Sports Wagon is available only with all-wheel drive, and it also gets 31 mpg city/43 mpg highway. Both of these models include standard eight-way power seats, fold-down rear seats and dimming side mirrors, which are optional on the $33,475 320i.
The 328d is set to go on sale later this year, and when it does, it will be the only diesel available in its class.
If you have been thinking about getting a fuel-efficient car and you’ve been considering purchasing the Smart car but would really like one that is roomier, has more features, and you can afford it, the new BMW diesel sedan might be for you. It achieves better gas mileage than a Smart car, and looks impressive in your driveway, as well.
Written by: Douglas Cobb