UPDATE: BMW has clarified its statement to Motor Authority in an email. "The final decision as to whether or not the BMW X5 diesel variant will come to the U.S. market has not been made. BMW of North America continues to monitor customer preferences and is prepared to adjust the product portfolio accordingly."
It's the end of the road for BMW oil burners in the United States. The German luxury brand confirmed with Motor Authority the diesel engine will disappear from U.S. shores after the 2018 model year as BMW focuses on plug-in hybrid vehicles.
BMW spokesperson Alexander Schmuck told MA, "we are putting all our eggs in the PHEV basket" as the brand announced improvements for the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid coming to the U.S. The spokesman added the next-generation X5 plug-in hybrid should return around 40 miles of pure electric range, which is up substantially from the current model's 14-mile estimated range.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance
The 2021 X5 plug-in will also switch from a 2.0-liter inline-4 in to a 3.0-liter inline-6 for the internal-combustion engine side of things. As for the lithium-ion battery, it's mounted in under the floor of the rear cargo area to help minimize cabin space losses. The brand said the battery will claim 5.3 cubic feet of cargo space versus a standard X5, but 60 cubic feet of cargo space is still available with all seats folded down.
Set as a 2021 model, expect the next plug-in X5 to arrive in 2020 and carry "super ultra-low emissions vehicle" or SULEV certification, meaning it will put out 90 percent less emissions than the average gasoline-powered vehicle.
The end of BMW diesel models in the U.S. comes just months after the brand certified the 2018 BMW 540d xDrive for sale in the country. The luxury sedan features a 3.0-liter inline-6 turbodiesel engine, which American buyers have already sampled with the X5d. The confirmation also squashes rumors and previous reports that suggested the next-generation 3-Series and X3 will gain a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine, codenamed B47.
Refocusing on plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric cars also underscores BMW's electrification roadmap. The German marque will launch 25 electrified cars by 2025 and 12 will feature battery-electric powertrains. Even BMW's M division won't steer clear of plug-in hybrids; BMW CEO Harald Krueger told Reuters in a 2017 report that the electrification plan "includes the Rolls-Royce brand and BMW M vehicles."