2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d First Drive
Europeans have been enjoying the advantages that diesel engines provide for years. Not simply reserved for towing, luxury automakers like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW offer many popular diesel variants overseas that cater to the transportation needs of the discerning masses. Despite this, diesel has long been associated with big rigs and pickup trucks in North America and shunned by those who drive, well, anything else. This is primarily due to the perception that they are loud, smelly and slow – not exactly terms that appear in most automakers' marketing campaigns. BMW is out to change that opinion and educate us Westerners on what our European friends have been hip to for ages.
Knowing full well that introducing premium luxury vehicles with diesel engines to North America will be an uphill battle, BMW engineers have gone to great lengths to ensure that they will not only meet our expectations, but that they will exceed them. This has been an ambitious project from the get-go as transforming negative perceptions is never an easy task – especially when it comes to the discriminating tastes and expectations of premium automobile buyers. Goals for this project consisted of such things as reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel economy, all the while preserving the driving enjoyment and performance for which BMWs are known. Like I said, no easy task.
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