The spark (less) is back! Diesel-powered 2018 BMW 540d on sale next month

January 8, 2018

The diesel-powered 2018 BMW 540d xDrive will quietly return to the U.S. next month, the automaker said Monday.

Federal officials certified the model for sale in the U.S. this month, after a one-year hiatus while the 5-Series underwent an extensive overhaul for the 2017 model year.

The 540d will be the sixth powertrain made available in the 5-Series sedan following the turbo-4 530i, turbo-6 540i, turbocharged M550i, high-performance M5, and plug-in hybrid 530e.

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The EPA rated the 2018 BMW 540d xDrive at 26 mpg city, 36 highway, 30 combined with all-wheel drive. It will cost $62,995 when it arrives in dealerships in February, including destination. For 2018, the diesel sedan will be available only with all-wheel drive, unlike its 2016 predecessor that was offered with rear- or all-wheel drive.

In terms of price, it slots in above the gas-powered 540i, but the diesel engine is less efficient than the plug-in hybrid 530e, which costs $7,350 less than the 540d. The EPA rates the 530e as high as 29 mpg combined, although the plug-in hybrid can run on electricity alone for 16 miles.

The 2018 BMW 540d xDrive will be largely based on the 530d sold internationally, although a spokeswoman for BMW didn’t confirm the sedan’s specifications stateside. In other countries, the 530d is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that makes 265 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. It shares several similarities with the diesel engine offered in the X5d SUV, but it's unclear if they are identical. In the U.S., the 540d will be equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Other countries get a less-powerful, diesel-fueled 520d that's unlikely to be offered in the U.S.

The 2018 BMW 540d joins the X5d and 328d as BMW’s diesel-powered models on sale in the U.S.

Options for the 540d largely mirror the gas-powered 540i version, although for 2018 BMW streamlined its options packages to “tiers”—Premium, M Sport, and Executive—that offer increasing levels of luxury amenities.

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