Oh, come on! I assumed diesel had been cancelled?
It’s true – UK gross sales of motors that drink from the black pump have folded quicker than a short-sighted UFC contender.
Briefly, diesel occupied a 50 per cent market share in Britain. Proper now, solely 14 per cent of recent automobiles bought listed here are diesels. In 2020, gross sales freefell by over a 3rd, from an already dismal 2019.
So… why are you driving a £50okay diesel BMW? Why is BMW even constructing it?
Properly, the carmakers speak an excellent sport. They are saying diesel isn’t completed but. They level to the very newest low-friction engines, a number of emissions filters and exhaust components, whereas reminding us that not so very way back, turbodiesels have been bought as commonplace with a halo.
A lot of torque for straightforward driving, low CO2 for straightforward tax-evasion, and 700 miles on a tank, if you happen to have been cautious. Diesel make sense of massive, heavy household automobiles, automobiles that do lengthy distances on the common, and automobiles that need to tow leaden trailers. There’s no EV, or plug-in hybrid, that provides fairly the identical vary of skills, a lot of the time. Not but – regardless of what the federal government has determined to spout.
That’s why Mercedes is tentatively providing diesel-plug-in hybrids. Audi’s S4 and S6 at the moment are TDIs. After which there’s this factor. The standard BMW wagon attempting to beat Alpina at its personal sport.
This new BMW M340d is likely to be a curious collector’s merchandise in many years to return. One of many final hurrahs for a meaty diesel engine in a smart automotive, earlier than the thought will get swept away within the electrification tsunami.
What’s the spec of this Unicorn TDI?
You’d need to know your stuff to finish up shopping for one in every of these. Hilariously, BMW will promote you a less expensive, much less highly effective Three Sequence powered by a diesel straight-six: the 330d. It’s obtained 261bhp, 428lb ft and hauls to 62mph in 5.5 seconds. You don’t really want a quicker junior exec than that, do you?
And but, right here it’s. The M340d. The dual-stage turbocharged engine has been breathed on, and joined forces with a 48-volt starter-generator motor that provides 11bhp by itself and fills in any pesky turbo lag.
The result’s 335bhp, and a staggering 700 Newtonmetres of torque. That’s 516lb ft in outdated cash. Small marvel BMW has needed to entrust drive to all 4 wheels, through a fettled eight-speed automated gearbox. There’s even launch management, for heaven’s sake.
May very well be a little bit of a Q-car particular, then?
I’ll say. Getting from 0-62mph in 4.eight seconds in any household property automotive is spectacular. The way in which the M340d manages it’s simply foolish although. It’s so fuss-free, you arrive at 62mph and it’s anti-climactic, as if the automotive’s simply entering into its stride.
Beneath, it is a fantastically difficult machine. The engine is busy sustaining most increase stress wherever you’ve obtained the throttle, it’s harvesting electrical vitality and juggling the electro-surge, and the exhaust gases are on a magical thriller tour by means of a sewage remedy works-meets-waterslide, so this rampant runaway diesel locomotive truly complies with harder tailpipe checks not truly coming into motion till subsequent yr. And but it’ll nonetheless maintain a Cayman sincere.
And but, from inside, you’re blissfully unaware of all of this. You simply purpose and fireplace. There are modes obtainable, however you needn’t hassle toggling them. Soar on the gasoline, the gearbox readies itself for the onslaught, and also you’re off. An M3 pilot would nonetheless be busy deciding on his gearshift ferocity menu. The M340d is 2, no, make that three counties away.
Is it a blunt instrument?
Nope, it handles. As with all M Sport 3s, the journey’s reasonably taut and busy on again roads, even with the non-compulsory adaptive suspension locked into Consolation mode. It’s superbly managed although. You would load up the household and set off for holidays with out having to swerve round potholes or undertake the brace place for drain covers.
If you happen to’re actually cracking on, then you definately’ll run into the boundaries of front-end grip earlier than you’ll in a four-cylinder Three Sequence – it is a hefty lump of engine dangling over the entrance wheels, in any case. However that type of behaviour isn’t what the M340d is about.
It is a distance-crushing, journey-shrinking monster that makes use of its monumental muscle, not dainty cornering, to get you residence significantly quicker than you have been anticipating.
I hope it’s nonetheless economical, or I’ll simply purchase an M340i.
Drive the M340d like a pillock and it’ll do 35mpg. However it merely won’t do any much less. 35mpg is the baseline. You’d need to drill a gap within the gas tank to make it devour extra.
What’s pretty is while you’ve completed overtaking each automotive inside your postcode and quiet down, the M340d’s economic system skyrockets. Enable the Eco Professional mode to teach you into lifting off properly earlier than roundabouts or when cresting hills and also you’ll common over 40mpg. And if that is your motorway thrust-chariot, it’ll shut in on 50 to the gallon. Can’t bear in mind getting that from an M3.
The perfect automotive BMW makes, you reckon?
In addition to being ‘good’, it’s additionally cool. A lot extra suave than an X2 or a 2 Sequence Energetic Tourer or an X4 or an X6 or a 6GT or an X7 M50d, however not as flashy as an eight Gran Coupe.
And it’ll be uncommon, which provides it mystique. Simply because it’s completely pointless, not low cost and more likely to promote on the similar tempo as ‘Greatest Moments of 2020’ sticker album doesn’t imply the M340d isn’t one in every of BMW’s trendy hero automobiles.
If that is diesel’s final hurrah, then we will say it went out on a excessive, in one of many best refined superwagons ever constructed.
3.0-litre turbodiesel 6cyl
335bhp, 516lb ft
8spd auto, AWD
0-62mph in 4.8sec, 155mph
48.7 – 52.Three mpg, 153 – 143 g/km CO2
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