BMW 540d Coming Soon With Terrific Torque and Magnificent MPG
If you love torque and hate spending money at the pump, you’ll love the BMW 540d. We can’t wait for it to hit showrooms in a month.
Pictured above is a doubly U.S.-forbidden offering: the 5 Series Touring with 3.0-liter diesel power, but except for the wagon body style, it won’t be forbidden much longer. Earlier this week, according to BMW via Motor Authority, the EPA gave the final OK to sell the 2018 BMW 540d xDrive sports sedan in the United States.
In Europe they love oil-burners for their ruthless efficiency and fat mid-range torque, so they sell no less than four different diesel-powered 5 Series variations there. They get a 520d with 295 lb-ft of torque, a 525d with 369 lb-ft, the 530d with 457 lb-ft, and a diesel M550 version with four turbos, nearly 400 hp and 560 lb-ft.
The Americanized BMW oil-burning torque machine goes on sale here as early as February, but details are still scarce as to the exact specifications. We know it’s based on the 530d currently sold in Europe, and likely shares powertrain equipment with the X5 diesel already on sale here, but that is it. There is no indication as to why ours is called the 540d, but then the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six in the SUV is known officially as the X5 xDrive35d, and as we all know, the numbers on the back haven’t been related to engine displacement in some time. It is interesting to note that the X5 is only rated at 225 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque in final American smog-legal trim.
Here is what we do know so far: 1) It will only be available with all-wheel drive. 2) An eight-speed conventional automatic transmission is the only choice, though manual paddles are possible. 3) It will start at $63,000 including destination charges. That price puts it more than $7,000 more expensive than the hybrid 530e, but then the hybrid is down nearly 150 lb-ft of torque compared to the diesel. All that extra twist will get you to 60 half a second quicker from a standstill, and likely be even more of an advantage from a rolling start. The hybrid loses some trunk space and weighs about 500 lbs more thanks to the battery pack.
Official EPA numbers have the diesel getting 2-3 more miles per gallon on the highway than the hybrid, and 1-2 more in the city. Because the hybrid battery pack takes up five cubic feet of the trunk and six gallons-worth of the gas tank, the diesel will have a longer range on each tank of fuel, possibly as much as 150 miles more. Too bad we can’t get the 5 series Touring here because this car is made for road trips.
Most likely, the U.S. version will be nearly identical in specification to the European 530d. It seems that BMW of North America prefers to refer to four-cylinder models as 530, straight-six models as 540, and V8 versions as 550 for marketing reasons. All questions will be answered and specifications revealed in a few days when the online configurator goes live.