With falling gas prices dampening enthusiasm for alternative fuels, and poor economic conditions causing automakers to tighten their belts, plans for new diesel car launches in the U.S. have slowed. However, diesel engine cars still present a good option over gasoline-powered cars, generally getting much better fuel economy. Although automakers scaled back their plans, Bosch, which makes diesel engine components, still wants to change the perception of diesel cars in the U.S. so the public will be more receptive, and even demanding of this technology from automakers.
To that end, Bosch loaned us a 2007 BMW 123d, a car you can't currently get in the U.S., so we could see how it performed in comparison with gasoline cars. Combating the image of soot-spewing diesel trucks, Bosch adopted the slogan "good, clean fun" for its diesel technology, and the BMW 123d was a means to make sure we had some fun.
BMW started selling its 1-series car in the U.S. last year, as the 128 and 135, in coupe and convertible formats. While we found both cars to be very enjoyable, the 123d is a hatchback, a style that makes much more sense with the diminutive sports car. Increased rear headroom makes the cars rear seats more usable, although still tight, and the hatchback means you have substantially more cargo area. After driving the 123d, we really wish BMW would bring the 1-series hatchback to the U.S., with a diesel or gas engine. It didn't hurt that this 123d was also fitted with an M kit, meaning a sport-tuned suspension. … Read more