BMW will discontinue diesels in the US for 2019

Lower demand, stricter regulations and a focus on plug-in hybrids all drive this decision.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
2 min read

If you fancy a new, diesel-powered BMW, better act fast. The German automaker will likely cease diesel vehicle sales in the US after the 2018 model year.

"We are putting all our eggs in the PHEV basket," BMW representative Alexander Schmuck told The Car Connection. When reached for comment by Roadshow, Schmuck reiterated, "We're focusing on PHEV."

Indeed, the demand for diesels in the US has been dwindling for quite some time, especially in the wake of the Volkswagen Group "Dieselgate" scandal. Premium competitor Mercedes-Benz has similarly decided to stop selling diesel passenger cars in the US.

One of the most popular diesel-powered US-spec BMWs has been the X5 SUV. But when the new 2019 X5 launches this fall, it'll be a gasoline-only affair.

2017 BMW X5 xDrive35d is a diesel-powered road trip machine

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"The all new BMW X5 will launch with two gasoline variants (xDrive40i and xDrive50i) and a PHEV variant is planned to follow in 2020 as a 2021 model year," BMW said in an official statement emailed to Roadshow. "The final decision as to whether or not the BMW X5 diesel variant will come to the US market has not been made. BMW of North America continues to monitor customer preferences and is prepared to adjust the product portfolio accordingly."

In addition to the aforementioned X5, BMW only offers a handful of diesel models in its 2018 model year US portfolio. The can be had with a 2.0-liter diesel engine in the 328d sedan and wagon, and the is available with a 3.0-liter I6 in the 540d.

BMW has expanded its plug-in hybrid lineup in recent years, and is putting a ton of resources into electrified powertrains moving forward. The company recently outlined its plans to launch 25 electrified models by 2025, 12 of which will be fully electric.

"I have set clear goals for sustainable mobility," Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW, said during a speech in March. "More than 140,000 electrified vehicles sold this year. A total of half a million electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids on the roads by the end of 2019."

BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance plug-in hybrid is juiced up for 2021

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Update: An earlier version of this story quoted a company official who said a diesel-powered X5 would not be offered in North America. BMW has since clarified this stance, and the text has been updated accordingly.