BMW planning four-cylinder diesel for U.S.

BMW has long hinted at the return of four-cylinder engines to the U.S. market, but has been rather quiet about exactly which four-pots might be headed our way. However, BMW has broken the silence, revealing that four-cylinder diesels will be part of the German automaker's U.S. plans.

Speaking with Edmunds, Tom Baloga, vice president of engineering for BMW of North America, revealed that BMW is planning to release four-cylinder diesel technology in the U.S. sometime next decade. The diesel four-cylinder will likely first surface in the 3-Series, but could eventually spread to the X3 and X5, and possibly even the 5-Series.

In order to pass as an adequate 5-Series engine, look for the diesel four-cylinder to produce similar performance to BMW's current range of turbocharged six-cylinder engines. "Our four-cylinder diesel will be so good that people will readily accept it as a replacement for six-cylinders," Baloga said. "The target is to produce enough horsepower to be comparable [in performance] to our N54/N55 six-cylinder turbos."

BMW's U.S. four-cylinder diesel will like be based on the 2.0 L unit that recently launched in the Euro-spec 320d. The 320d is capable of returning nearly 60mpg.

Although BMW's four-cylinder diesels promise to be the automaker's most frugal offerings, don't expect a pricing scheme to match. Diesel will continue to command a premium in the BMW lineup, as seen by the 335d.