BMW plans to offer a six-cylinder diesel engine in its 5 Series midsize luxury sedan in the second half of 2013. The debut joins a new diesel engine option for the 3 Series. Dubbed 328d, the compact luxury car uses a turbo four-cylinder diesel engine. Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO of BMW of North America, said the numerical designation for the 5 Series diesel hasn't been decided on yet.
The last time BMW offered a six-cylinder diesel in one of its U.S. passenger cars was the 335d, sold from the 2009 to 2011 model years. Rated at 265 horsepower, the turbocharged diesel engine developed a commanding 425 pounds-feet of torque for impressive off-the-line performance. Six-cylinder diesel versions of the 5 Series already available in Europe offer similar levels of torque.
After years on the margins in the passenger-car segment, diesels are on the upswing in the U.S., and the gains are most apparent in the luxury segment. Audi plans to sell diesel versions of nearly all its passenger cars; BMW hasn't made that big of a commitment to the U.S. market, but it appears willing to test the waters a little more.