The U.S. resurgence of diesel may finally be shifting into high gear, but some of the world's best diesels still aren't even offered here. In Europe, however, carmakers such as BMW are introducing new models to meet ever-stricter emissions requirements, and the latest volley is the BMW 316d ES sedan.

Billed as BMW's most efficient 3-series ever, the 316d ES manages just 118g/km of CO2 emissions - just 9g/km more than a second-gen Toyota Prius - while also returning 52.3mpg US in the combined European cycle. That's good enough to beat the current Prius. It's also good for 10.9 seconds 0-62mph (100km/h) and a top speed of 125mph (201km/h).

It does these feats with a compact 116hp (86kW), 192lb-ft (260Nm) 1,995cc four-cylinder diesel that takes advantage of all of BMW's EfficientDynamics techniques and technologies, including a six-speed manual gearbox.

The 316d is otherwise specified identically to the 318d ES sedan, which has previously won awards for its balance of green motoring and executive appointments.

Prices start in the UK from £23,330 or about $38,450 - but don't expect to see this car on American roads anytime soon. BMW has made it clear that more expensive technologies like turbocharging and diesel won't be made available on entry-level four-cylinders here for some time yet.