BMW diesel line-up slashed

Diesel variants of some BMW models – including the 1 Series, 2 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series and X2 – have been taken off sale due to dwindling demand...

BMW 4 Series Coupé 2021 front tracking

BMW has slashed its diesel engine line-up in response to falling demand for cars running on the fuel. In a statement, the German car maker said it had made the changes after monitoring what customers were looking to buy.

The move means you can no longer get a new diesel version of the BMW 2 Series, the BMW 4 Series (Coupé and Convertible) or the BMW X2. You can still get diesel variants of the BMW 1 Series, BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series but their engine ranges have been slimmed down.

BMW said it wanted "to ensure we have a product offering that is relevant and reflective of our customer’s needs". The move reflects a wider drop in demand for diesel cars.

Diesel’s popularity has been in decline since the emissions scandal in September 2015. In 2016, diesels accounted for 47% of all new-car sales in the UK, but by 2022, that had dropped to just 5.1%, and so far in 2023, the figure has been 4.2%. 

BMW 1 Series front cornering

According to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), sales of new diesel cars dropped by 14.6% in February 2023 compared with the same month last year, despite an overall rebound in the new car market. 

During the same period, petrol car sales grew by 34.9%, mild-hybrid petrol sales by 38.6%, hybrid car sales by 40.0% and electric car sales by 18.2%.

The rise in diesel prices is also a factor. At the time of writing, diesel costs an average of 166p per litre compared with 147p per litre for petrol.

Diesel sign at a fuel station

As part of the changes to its line-up, BMW has stopped selling the petrol 430i, despite tripling its sales from 441 to 1250 units last year. That means the mid-point of the petrol 4 Series line-up is no longer available, but the entry level 420i – which we named as our Coupé of the Year at the most recent What Car? Awards – and range-topping M440i remain on sale.

The BMW 118d was the most popular of the diesel models that were axed, with 1326 UK sales in 2021, falling to just 505 last year. Meanwhile, the 520d saloon – the only diesel 5 Series to remain on sale – grew from 1644 sales in 2021 to 2084 last year. The X2 xDrive18d was the least popular BMW diesel, recording just 34 sales in 2022.

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