Editor's award - BMW Efficient Dynamics

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Editor's award - BMW Efficient Dynamics

Amid the hullabaloo over headline-grabbing future technologies, it's easy to overlook the giant emission-saving strides that have already been made by BMW.

Efficient Dynamics is the name of BMW's game. Its goals are simple: to improve carbon dioxide emissions, increase mpg and reduce weight, while still delivering the driving experience BMW buyers demand.

These goals are achieved by making small savings across the whole car. It's not as sexy as talk of hybrids, but the outcome is as effective as anything else that's available now, and in some cases more so.

BMW uses a combination of high-precision direct injection, brake-energy regeneration, active aerodynamics, electric power steering, an optimum gearshift indicator and low-rolling-resistance tyres to reduce emissions.

Then there's Auto Start-Stop, which automatically switches the engine off while you are stationary in traffic to save fuel, then switches it back on again when you engage gear.

Other manufacturers may have some of these technologies, but only BMW has managed to combine them all. The company now has 28 models that achieve over 48mpg while emitting 140g/km or less of CO2, which covers around 40% of its range.

In some cases the effect has been dramatic: the 320d Touring now has a CO2 rating of 131g/km - 17% lower than last year's model.

Longer-term, BMW admits that it will have to take a different approach. It has invested heavily in developing hydrogen-powered combustion engines and is looking into electric hybrids.

For now, though, Efficient Dynamics is set to be expanded. It might not be rocket science, but it is effective.

'ED' in action
BMW's 318d with Efficient Dynamics uses less fuel and pumps out less CO2 compared with its nearest class rivals.

BMW 318d
2.0-litre diesel
Average fuel economy 60.1mpg
CO2 emissions 123g/km
Power 141bhp

Audi A4
2.0-litre diesel
Average fuel economy 55.4mpg
CO2 emissions 134g/km
Power 119bhp

Mercedes-Benz C200 CDI
2.1-litre diesel
Average fuel economy 49.6mpg
CO2 emissions 149g/km
Power 134bhp

Five-year gains
Car mpg CO2 (g/km)
2003 BMW 318i 39.2 175
2008 BMW 318i 47.9 142

2003 BMW 320d 49.6 153
2008 BMW 320d 58.9 128

2003 BMW 525i 29.1 228
2008 BMW 525i 36.7 183

2003 BMW 525d 40.4 187
2008 BMW 525d 44.1 171

2003 BMW 730i 26.7 257
2008 BMW 730i 28.0 241

2003 BMW 730d 33.2 227
2008 BMW 730d 34.4 216