When most Americans think of fuel economy, they perhaps think of Toyota (even though they're #10 in fuel economy.) Among the last they would think of is German automaker BMW, known for its sports and luxury vehicles.
However, BMW's 1 series is making a strong case for the company in the field of green performance. The latest 1-Series variant from BMW, the 116d, is set to proves critics wrong by offering up some mean fuel economy. The vehicle gets an impressive 53 MPG from a 2.0L four-cylinder diesel engine. The engine offers 116 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. The new fuel economy rating is on par with Toyota's much-talked-about Prius and is BMW's most efficient model to date.
It can do a 0-62 MPH run in 10.2 seconds, on par with its competitors. It features a number of gas-saving technologies including auto start/stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, an electric water pump, and numerous drive train modifications. It comes in three and five-door body styles and brings classy styling and lots of luxury options ot the table.
Sadly, the vehicle won't be available in the U.S. anytime soon. Europeans will get the 116d in March, though. It will be priced at a relatively affordable £17,605 ($24,330 USD) in the UK.
Aside from proving BMW to be capable of offering top of the line green performance, the new entry also makes a strong case for diesels. The debate over adopting more-efficient diesel engines, versus electric drive assist hybrids has been raging over the past decade in Europe and America. America has sided with electric drive hybrids, while Europe has extensively developed diesel technology.
We side with America on this one, though we certainly think there should be clean diesels in America ASAP. But making the internal combustion engine more efficient can only go so far while hybrids are simply a logical step toward a whole new kind of vehicle.
The 116d series is actually a diesel and a mild hybrid, as it features the option to turn off the engine while coasting or slowing down. It can then restart the engine thanks to its larger-than-average starter motor. However, BMW prefers to avoid the term hybrid as people tend to associate it with hybrids electrically assisted drives like the Toyota Prius.
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