Bimmerfest brings you a exclusive look at the first US diesel powered F30 3 series, the 328d. We got a chance to drive the new diesel 3er at BMW's North American headquarters just after the 328d was revealed to the press at the New York Auto Show the day before. The 328d sports a 2.0 liter TwinPower Turbo 4 cylinder engine, delivering 180 hp and an impressive 280 lb-ft of torque that moves the sports sedan from 0 to 60 mph in about 7.2 seconds while getting an estimated 45 MPG highway!
With the body of the 3 series the interior and handling of the car are dead on F30 3 series. There are a few exterior tweaks as pointed out in the video but to the average consumer it would be hard to tell the difference between the 328d and the 328i. There is a touch more clanking from the engine at idle but as many have noted, the 328i is not the smoothest sounding engine BMW has ever produced. The gas and diesel 328 options both make a lot of cold stat up noise but I would be hard pressed to say the diesel sounds dramatically worse. In the sound category the 328d sounds equal to its gasoline brother so no negative marks there.
Behind the wheel around town everything is business as usual for the 3 series. Smooth ride, direct steering and a sporty feel. There is a touch more noise from the diesel at higher revs, where the gas engine seems to quite down under power. If the radio on or you're holding a conversation any engine noise would be drowned out. In 99.9% of driving you won't be able to tell you have a diesel under the hood. When you get on the loud pedal there are two distinct places you can feel the diesel engine difference. Right off the line the 280 ft-lbs of torque, which is up from the 328i's 255 ft-lbs is noticeable. It pulls hard off the line and makes quick stoplight getaways easy. Hold the pedal down and as the revs climb over 3800 you can feel the engine start to go flat. Diesels have their power down low and don't like to be pushed to high revs like a gas engine. I found the car to be much more responsive and fun to drive in sport mode. I used the steering wheel paddle shifters to flip the 8 speed automatic up a gear just as the revs hit 4k. This keep the engine in the torque range where it pulled the hardest.
US pricing is set to start under $40,000 with Lines, equipment and packages mirroring what you can get on a 328i. With an estimated 45 mpg the 328d is something you're going to have to consider if you're shopping the 3 series for fuel economy.
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