Are BMW Diesels Reliable? Here’s What You Need to Know

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BMW has long been known for their high-performance vehicles, luxury features, and sleek designs. However, when it comes to diesel engines, some car enthusiasts may wonder whether or not these popular cars are actually reliable. This is especially important for those considering buying a BMW with a diesel engine.

While there is no straightforward answer that applies to every situation, there are certainly some factors that can help shed light on the matter. In this article, we’ll explore BMW diesels and what you need to know when it comes to reliability.

“Reliability is crucial when it comes to investing in a vehicle – especially one as iconic as a BMW.”

We’ll analyze things such as common problems with older models, how modern technology impacts the longevity of diesel engines, and more. By the end of this article, you’ll have a much better idea of whether or not BMW diesels are really worth investing in.

In short, if you’re curious about BMW diesel engines and want to make an informed decision before making a purchase, keep reading. We will provide insights into everything you need to know about BMW diesel reliability so that you can confidently decide if it’s the right move for you.

BMW Diesels Have Come a Long Way

BMW has been manufacturing diesel engines since the 1980s. Over the past few decades, BMW has improved its diesel engine technology to make them more reliable and efficient. However, many people still wonder whether BMW diesels are reliable or not. Let us explore some of the improvements that have made BMW diesel engines better than ever before.

Improved Performance and Efficiency

The latest generation of BMW diesel engines offers superior performance compared to earlier versions. These engines have high-pressure fuel injection systems that improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Additionally, most BMW diesel models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission that helps in delivering smooth, seamless shifts while improving overall performance.

Combined with their advanced turbocharging technology, these engines can deliver outstanding acceleration and muscular torque at low revs. The 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i Diesel SAV delivers an impressive 192 hp @ 4000 rpm and 295 lb-ft torque @ 1750 rpm (based on manufacturer data). Although diesel engines typically cost more upfront due to their sophisticated mechanics, buyers enjoy long-term benefits in terms of savings on fuel costs, reduced emissions, and upgraded technological features.

Reduced Emissions

In recent years, BMW has implemented rigorous measures, including significant investments in R&D and extensive testing, to develop cleaner diesel engines. Their goal is to strive for reducing carbon footprint while maintaining optimal driving experiences. This includes the use of a cleanser solution called AdBlue® Urea Fluid Injection system, which injects urea into exhaust gases to convert harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) into harmless water vapor and nitrogen gas through a series of chemical reactions.

The result is significantly reduced Nitrogen Oxides and less greenhouse gas emissions made possible by the combination of innovative exhaust-gas after-treatment and state-of-the-art injection technology, such as BMW’s BluePerformance Technology. As a result, BMW diesel engines meet stringent fuel economy regulations, including California emissions standards.

Increased Range

BMW Diesels can boast of having higher range mileage compared to their gasoline counterparts. On average, BMW diesels can provide up to 25 percent more fuel efficiency versus gasoline-powered vehicles- adding several hundred miles between refuels. This means that drivers need not refuel as often, making long trips smoother and less stressful.

Bear in mind though, that factors such as heavy traffic, driving style, temperature variation, or usage of auxiliary systems like air-conditioning, may still cause fluctuation to advertised range or consumption. However, typically praised for its unrivaled torque ratio (especially at low rpm), diesel engines are an excellent choice for high-speed cruisers, long-distance commuters, trippers, and busy family cars who want to maximize productivity without compromising comfort or quality.

Advanced Technologies

Apart from being renowned for their impressive performance figures, today’s BMW diesel vehicles also come equipped with advanced safety features, cutting-edge driver-assistance technologies, and luxurious interiors previously limited to their gas siblings. From Active Driving Assistant Pro and City Collision Mitigation to Dynamic Damper Control and Heated Leather Seats, BMW has spared no expense in ensuring superior ride experiences while offering innovation to create safer roads all over the world.

This includes navigation/infotainment Systems, Mobile Connectivity interfaces, heads-up displays, rear-view cameras (backup camera), intelligent cruise control features, lane departure alerts, pedestrian detection, speed limit assistance, night vision capability, Autopark feature, collision warnings/collision avoidance system, among others – programs designed to help mitigate human errors while providing better awareness and responding to unexpected road emergencies.

“BMW diesel engines are equipped with Clean Diesel Technology, reducing emissions of hydrocarbons and particulate matter for BMW drivers.” – The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reported in 2016

Modern BMW diesels have become more reliable over the years. They offer performance, efficiency, range, and advanced features that come close to rivalling their gas-powered counterparts while delivering outstanding fuel economy and eco-conscious respect for our environment. To ensure proper maintenance and continued usage, regular service intervals must be observed to keep the engine clean using OEM parts and lubricants recommended by BMW. It is essential for car owners or drivers to understand what really goes into making today’s BMW diesels tick.

Reliability Depends on Proper Maintenance

When it comes to the question of whether BMW Diesel engines are reliable, the answer lies in proper maintenance. Just like any other vehicle, Diesel BMWs require regular upkeep and repairs to ensure they run smoothly for years to come.

Regular Oil Changes

One of the most critical aspects of maintaining a Diesel BMW is getting regular oil changes. According to BMW’s official website, “Oil changes help keep your engine reliably lubricated and cool so that it can continue to function optimally.” Without frequent oil changes, the engine may suffer from sludge buildup, causing it to malfunction or even fail altogether.

In fact, some experts recommend changing diesel oil every 5,000 miles, as opposed to the typical 7,500-mile intervals recommended for gasoline engines. This more frequent oil change schedule ensures that any impurities are flushed out regularly, leading to better performance and longer engine life overall.

Timely Repairs

Another essential aspect of keeping your BMW Diesel running reliably is getting timely repairs when needed. If you notice any strange noises, warning lights, or problems with acceleration or handling, take your car to a reputable mechanic right away.

Ignoring these issues can lead to more significant problems down the road, including costly engine damage that could otherwise have been avoided. Regular maintenance appointments can also help catch potential problems before they become severe, saving you time and money in the long run.

Clean Filters

The filters in your BMW Diesel play an important role in keeping your engine running correctly. Over time, they can become clogged with dirt and debris, limiting airflow and degrading performance.

To avoid this, make sure to get your air and fuel filters checked and cleaned or replaced as needed. According to BMW, “Replacing your filters can help ensure that your engine runs smoothly and efficiently, helping to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.”

By following these simple but crucial maintenance tips, you can help ensure that your BMW Diesel engine stays reliable and performs at its best for years to come.

BMW Diesels Offer Excellent Fuel Economy

When it comes to fuel-efficient vehicles, diesel engines are often the way to go. BMW is no exception and offers a range of diesel-powered cars that deliver impressive fuel economy numbers.

The latest BMW diesel models feature efficient engines with advanced technology that enhances performance while reducing fuel consumption. These cars use less fuel than their petrol counterparts, leading to significant savings over time.

In addition to delivering great fuel economy, BMW diesels also provide excellent driving dynamics that are consistent with the company’s brand image. The automaker has designed these engines to strike the right balance between power and efficiency, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable driving experience.

Longer Driving Range

One of the key benefits of opting for a BMW diesel car is an extended driving range. This benefit is particularly useful for long drives or cross-country road trips. Diesel engines are known for their superior range compared to gasoline engines thanks to their higher fuel economy numbers.

A notable example of this is the 2019 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon, which boasts an estimated highway fuel economy rating of up to 43 miles per gallon. With a full tank, that means drivers can travel well over 600 miles before needing to refuel. That’s about 200 miles more than what the 328i version with a gasoline engine can achieve on a full tank.

Lower Fuel Costs

The reduced fuel consumption of BMW diesel cars also translates into lower running costs when compared to gasoline cars. According to research conducted by AAA, in 2020, the average cost of diesel fuel was slightly higher than that of gasoline, but because of diesel engines’ better fuel economy, diesel vehicles still enjoyed lower overall fuel costs – translating to around 20% less per mile driven, on average.

In addition, diesel engines generally have a longer lifespan than gasoline engines due to their robust construction and use of high-quality materials. By choosing a BMW diesel car, drivers can enjoy lower fuel expenses throughout the vehicle’s lifetime while also taking advantage of long-term durability benefits.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Beyond financial benefits, switching to a BMW diesel car can also make a positive impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions. Diesel engines produce less CO2 per gallon of fuel burned than petrol engines, thereby lowering the carbon footprint for each vehicle over time.

“Diesel cars are no longer dirty or polluting,” says Nick Molden, CEO of independent emissions testers Emissions Analytics. He goes on to explain that, “For many types of driving currently undertaken by motorists, particularly in motorway conditions, diesel remains an excellent choice.”

The latest BMW diesel-powered vehicles also come equipped with advanced emission control systems designed to reduce harmful pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Overall, these changes help ensure that diesel cars remain a viable transportation option well into the future.

So, are BMW diesels reliable? Not only do they offer excellent fuel economy, a longer driving range, and cost savings but also reduced carbon emissions – making them a reliable choice for responsible drivers who wish to minimize both their costs and their environmental impact.

High-Tech Features Can Affect Reliability

The German automaker, BMW, is known for producing high-tech cars that boast advanced features. While these features may impress car enthusiasts, they can cause problems in terms of reliability as well. High-tech features have become a prevalent cause of unreliable vehicles.

Complexity of Systems

The complexity of BMW’s vehicles has increased with the inclusion of sophisticated technologies, which often lead to issues. These technological advancements include complex electrical systems, computerized modules, and sensors. The more complex the system becomes, the greater possibility of failures due to software glitches or mechanical malfunctions.

According to the J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study, it was revealed that “BMW had declined compared to last year’s study, but still ranked above the industry average.”

“Long-term quality is critical for success in any vehicle segment – from small economy cars to large pickup trucks,” said Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power before adding, “In addition to producing vehicles with high build quality, automakers are using newer technology to make their vehicles safer, more autonomous and more energy efficient, but with each added component or feature, there’s a potential for new problems to arise.”

Software Updates

BMW offers regular software updates for its cars, aiming to introduce further improvements and fix bugs that could be affecting the performance of specific models. However, sometimes these upgrades itself result in errors leading to an automatic shut down of a system.

The Founder of Roadshow by CNET elaborated on this issue and cautions consumers saying, “All these innovative systems are possible because of modern electronics. Unfortunately, they also deal with pesky things like corruption; just one faulty bit of code can throw a spanner in the works, leading to anything from bulb failure warnings that are more frequent than they should be, through to complete system shutdowns.”

Compatibility Issues

In addition, BMW’s high-tech features may also raise compatibility issues. Owners who choose to upgrade their technological devices, like smartphones, might experience difficulties while trying to connect with the vehicle.

Bruce Buchan, vice president of Fitch Ratings’ US automotive group, explained during an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence: “BMW has had some problems with connectivity and compatibility between driver cellphones and the vehicle’s infotainment systems.”

This demonstrates how even small changes can lead to critical malfunctions when it comes to technology integration into cars.

Although BMW diesels have gained recognition for their low fuel consumption levels, modern engineering features utilizing high-tech could negatively impact reliability in various ways. It is necessary to note that as mentioned earlier, despite these challenges, BMW ranked above the industry average in terms of dependability according to J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study, but owners still need to ensure the proper maintenance of such vehicles to get optimal performance.

BMW Diesels May Have Costly Repairs

Expensive Parts

As with any luxury car brand, BMW parts can be expensive and the same goes for diesel models. In particular, repairing or replacing crucial components such as the fuel injectors or turbocharger, which are more prone to failure in diesel engines, can be very pricey.

“Replacing a turbocharger on a BMW 335d will cost around $3,500, without taking into account labor fees,” says Edmunds’ Automotive Editor Mark Takahashi.

And it’s not only the individual parts that may be costly, but also the technology and software required to diagnose and fix problems in modern diesel engines.

Specialized Mechanics

Due to their complexity, diesel engines require specialized knowledge and tools to maintain and repair them properly. Unfortunately, not all mechanics have experience working with diesel engines, especially those of a higher-end make like BMW.

“The diesel has many extra material costs associated with the engine itself and the after treatment system. The diesels have electronic control systems as well as other additional mechanical components,” explains Ian Skorochod, owner of Bavarian Workshop, an independent BMW and Mini service center in West Hills, California.

This means that finding a qualified mechanic who is familiar with BMW diesels may be difficult and could result in a higher labor cost due to the longer time needed to troubleshoot and fix issues.

Complex Systems

The complex nature of diesel engines also affects how they perform over time. These powertrains rely heavily on a series of sensors, filters, and exhaust systems to function correctly, and if any one of these components fails, it can cause significant damage to the engine.

“Diesel engines tend to be more complex in terms of the systems they require, which can translate into higher repair costs and increased maintenance needs,” remarks George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA).

In addition, diesel fuel has a tendency to accumulate pollutants and debris that can clog critical parts, leading to decreased performance or even complete engine failure. Regular maintenance and cleaning are necessary to avoid these issues.

Extended Labor Time

The combination of high component cost, specialized knowledge required for repairs, and complex system designs means that BMW diesel owners may also experience extended labor times when bringing their vehicle in for service.

“For many modern diesels, technician training and software is needed to compensate for wear in otherwise good mechanical components. And without proper preparation from those working on them, disasters like unexpected injector failures causing piston damage and subsequent transmission faults occur,” warns Skorochod.

This can lead to temporary loss of use for the car, as well as additional expenses from rental or loaner vehicles.

While BMW diesel models offer improved fuel economy and torque compared to their gasoline counterparts, the potential for costly repairs due to expensive parts, the need for specialized mechanics, complex engine design, and extended labor times must also be taken into consideration by prospective buyers. The key takeaway here is that while diesel engines have come a long way in terms of efficiency and performance, they still require vigilant upkeep and maintenance, along with knowledgeable professionals who can diagnose and fix any issues that arise.

The Verdict: BMW Diesels Are Generally Reliable

When it comes to reliability, BMW diesels are known for their consistent performance, longevity, minimal repairs needed, and high customer satisfaction. Let’s dive deeper into each aspect:

Consistent Performance

BMW diesel engines have a reputation for delivering solid, stress-free ride quality due to the power and torque they produce. The impressive low-end torque of these vehicles makes them well-suited for highway travel, towing, or even off-road adventures. They’re known to provide exceptional fuel efficiency as well, thanks to advanced engine technologies that conserve energy without sacrificing acceleration.

“The six-cylinder 535d does feel like a serious contender in the marketplace, not simply because of its prodigious twisting force but because of what many may regard as silky smooth delivery.” -Road and Track


One significant advantage BMW diesels offer is long-term durability. Owners report that their BMW diesels remain reliable even after decades of use and hundreds of thousands of miles driven. These cars’ robust construction allows them to withstand tough conditions while continuing to operate with ease.

“We’ve always praised BMW diesel-powered products for their combination of strong performance, remarkable economy and rugged service life, and nothing we’ve seen in recent years leads us to conclude otherwise.” -CarGurus

Minimal Repairs

Another positive note about BMW diesels is that they need minimal repairs over time. Some owners report issues with sensors or other minor components, but overall, this lineup of vehicles is built to last. Significant maintenance such as timing belt replacements isn’t required until an impressive number of miles have been put on the car, giving drivers more bang for their buck.

“BMW diesels run reliably for hundreds of thousands of miles if they’re properly cared for. All things considered, the BMW diesel is a rock-solid engine.” -The Drive

High Customer Satisfaction

Perhaps most importantly, many BMW diesel owners report being highly satisfied with their vehicles overall. These cars’ exceptional reliability and hassle-free ownership experiences put them ahead of competitors on the market. According to an industry survey conducted by J.D. Power, more than 80% of BMW sedan and sports car drivers would buy another BMW in the future. This statistic speaks volumes for the brand’s commitment to customer satisfaction.

“Few brands compare to BMW when it comes to premium-level diesel offerings, thanks to excellence at all ends of our favourite saloon line-up…Diesel power adds useful levels of towing ability too, as well as offering plenty of low-down shove with fine economy numbers.” -Auto Express

When asked “Are BMW Diesels Reliable?”, the answer is overwhelmingly yes. The combination of consistent performance, long-term durability, minimal repairs required over time, and high customer satisfaction ratings make these vehicles an excellent choice for anyone looking for excellent quality diesel cars.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the reliability of BMW diesel engines?

BMW diesel engines are known for their reliability. They are designed to last long and deliver high performance even after years of use. The engines are built with precision and quality materials to ensure they can withstand the rigors of daily driving. BMW also offers regular maintenance services to keep the engines in good condition. With proper care, BMW diesel engines can last for many years without any major issues.

Do BMW diesel engines have a reputation for being reliable?

Yes, BMW diesel engines have a reputation for being reliable. They are highly regarded for their durability, performance, and efficiency. BMW has a long history of producing high-quality engines that are built to last. The company uses advanced technology and materials to ensure their diesel engines can withstand the demands of daily use. While no engine is completely immune to issues, BMW diesel engines are known for being reliable and long-lasting.

Are BMW diesel engines more reliable than gasoline engines?

BMW diesel engines are generally considered to be more reliable than gasoline engines. Diesel engines are known for their durability, efficiency, and longevity. They are designed to last longer and require less maintenance than gasoline engines. BMW diesel engines are built with quality materials and advanced technology to ensure they can withstand the rigors of daily driving. While both diesel and gasoline engines have their pros and cons, BMW diesel engines are known for their reliability and performance.

Have there been any major issues with BMW diesel engines in recent years?

In recent years, BMW diesel engines have been subject to a few recalls and issues. In 2018, the company recalled over 300,000 diesel-powered vehicles due to a potential fire risk. However, BMW quickly addressed the issue and offered free repairs to affected customers. Overall, the reliability of BMW diesel engines remains high, and the company is committed to addressing any issues that may arise.

How does the reliability of BMW diesel engines compare to other diesel engines on the market?

The reliability of BMW diesel engines is generally on par with other diesel engines on the market. While there may be slight differences in performance and durability, BMW diesel engines are known for their high quality and longevity. Other diesel engines on the market may offer different features or benefits, but BMW diesel engines are a solid choice for those seeking a reliable and efficient engine.

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