BMW expects diesel versions of the all-new X3 to comprise a hefty 95 percent of sales – despite the current caution against diesel that’s taking place in some new car sectors.
The third-generation premium compact SUV will be sold in four versions, two diesel and two petrol. But of them, the 2.0-litre turbodiesel xDrive20d is expected to take a whopping 80 percent of sales, with the 3.0-litre xDrive30d taking another 15 percent. As BMW expects to sell 11,000 new X3 next year, that’s a lot of diesels (all of which will be fully Euro 6-compliant, of course).
A petrol alternative to the best-selling new X3, the xDrive20i, will fight with the range-topping M40i for the remaining 5 percent of sales, despite being the cheapest new X3 you can buy (its list price sits £900 below the diesel).
The low expectations for petrol X3 sales are not because they’re particularly thirsty or inefficient, either. The xDrive20i averages almost 40mpg, compared to the xDrive20d’s 56.5mpg. The list price saving would offset this, particularly for lower-mileage drivers.
BMW’s predictions prove that, although there is an anti-diesel mood in some sectors, particularly superminis and family cars, diesel is still the leader in larger vehicle sectors. Its extra efficiency and pulling power make it better suited to heavier, faster models. And if BMW’s 2018 predictions are anything to go by, market shows little signs of changing this attitude.
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Indeed, the premium SUV sector also seems to prefer four-wheel drive machines over slightly cheaper, slightly greener two-wheel drive variants. BMW GB had investigated bringing across a cheaper entry-level 2WD model, but predicted sales were so small, the firm decided to decline.
Instead, it’s bringing forward the introduction of the £50,530 range-topping M40i. This was to have been introduced in August 2018, but has now been moved to January 2018, not long after the November launch of the rest of the model range.
So take the death of diesel with a pinch of salt. Yes, it’s having an effect in some sectors, but in others, it remains stronger than ever.