43 MPG, an 800-Mile Range, and 0-60 in Under 6 Seconds: The Perfect Car?

2011 BMW 535d

2011 BMW 535d

BMW has built a solid reputation for producing the ultimate driving machine and, as far as I’m concerned, cemented that claim with the 2011 BMW 535d.

The 535d, which debuted in Paris, just might be the world’s only perfect car. That’s a lofty statement, I know, but it’s quick off the line, great at handling twisty mountain roads, and can comfortably accommodate entire families. It also has available all-wheel drive and comes in sedan or wagon (Touring) form. It’s everything a reasonable car owner could ever want in an automobile.

Plus, there’s the added bonus that the “d” in its name stands for diesel, making this Bimmer yet another slap in the face of all things hybrid.

2011 535d rearSadly, the U.S. won’t get the oil-burning Touring version. That’s a shame, because the 2011 535d uses a 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight six to produce 300 hp and a mighty 440 lb-ft of torque, good for 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds. With its 18.5-gallon fuel tank, the 535d can go over 800 miles on a single tank, which by my calculations is over 43 mpg.

Such numbers are possible because the 535d comes with BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission, brake energy regeneration, and lower weight thanks to the extensive use of aluminum.

And that, friends, again proves the point that the way to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is with lightweight cars using advanced diesel engines, not with expensive gas/electric hybrid engines. In my humble opinion, the government and its latest 62 mpg CAFE regulations are simply creating a false demand for hybrids. Leave the market to evolve organically, or impose a $2/gallon gas tax as suggested by the studious jgoods, and automakers will naturally produce cars with better fuel economy as a direct result of fierce competition rather than government regulation.

Diesel engines have proven their worth with long-term reliability and impressive fuel efficiency. When used in a lightweight vehicle with the proper transmission, BMW has shown that diesel perfection is possible. I’ve yet to see perfection in a hybrid.

With a car like the BMW 535d, who needs hybrids?

Are you as irritated as I am that the U.S. doesn’t get many diesel options? I’d take a 535d Touring!

-tgriffith

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2 Comments

  1. Interesting that suddenly youve discovered diesel cars this one looks great and really offers the performance of a good petrol car however if you peruse the offerings from Ford [europe] Jaguar Peugeot Renault Citroen Vauxhall etc you will discover the BMW is nothing special all these makers build diesel cars that give real world good performance and exceptional fuel consumption. For some strange reason US auto makers refuse to import their own vehicles Ford being the obvious where are its MONDEO diesels these are very fuel efficient yet the US gets Taurus hybrid nowhere near so good and GM where is the CRUZ Diesel everyone else can buy Chryslers 300s were sold in europe and Aussie/NZ with diesels why not the US. Hybrids are very good in stop start crawl type traffic but once in constant moving traffic or highway conditions cannot match diesels ecconomy. There must be a hugely lucrative tax or cash kickback involved in hybrids.

  2. Yeah, I’d have to say I’m as irritated as you about limited diesel options. Even though I won’t be buying a new car any time soon, when it comes time to, I’d seriously consider a diesel powered car over a gas powered one. Even though diesel is more expensive in the US (I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but one station near me has it priced at about $3/gallon, maybe $3.10/gallon, compared to about $2.75/gallon for regular 87 octane gas.), the increase in MPG is more than enough to save me money between fill-ups.

    I just crunched some numbers between the 2011 BMW 535d and my current 2001 Buick Century. At $3.10/gal for diesel (at a BP station near where I live) and at 43mi/gal, the BMW costs roughly $0.07/mi in fuel. My Century, at $2.75/gal for gas (at the same station as before) and at 23mi/gal, costs $0.12/mi in fuel. These numbers are independent of tank sizes, and for those who don’t know, I divided cost per gallon of fuel by miles per gallon to get cost per mile, which is clearly lower in the BMW. Sure you’ll probably get a lower cost per mile number for a hybrid, but what’s more fun to drive and still gets 40+ MPG, this BMW or a Prius (or pretty much any other hybrid for that matter)?

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