Blue Diamond Ventures and Texas A&M Form Biofuels Research Alliance
Catilin Uses Nanosphere Catalysts to Optimize Biodiesel Production

BMW Introduces New 1 Series Coupé; Twin-Turbo 4-Cylinder Diesel Model

The 1 Series Coupé.

BMW has expanded its 1 Series with a new Coupé model that offers a choice of three versions: the 120d, 123d and 135i.

Both the 123d and the 135i are weighted toward power and performance; the 123d marks the production application of the world’s most powerful four-cylinder diesel engine, and the 135i marks the first time a twin-turbo gasoline engine has powered a 1 Series car. The 123d diesel delivers fuel consumption of 5.2 l/100km (45 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 138 g/km.

The 204 hp (153 kW) 2.0-liter diesel in the 123 is the world’s first all-aluminium diesel to have an output per liter figure in excess of 100 hp. It is also the first four-cylinder production diesel to come with twin-turbo technology.

Peak torque is 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) from 2,000 rpm, while the engine revs to in excess of 4,400 rpm where peak power is attained. This performance equates to a zero to 62 mph time of 7.0 seconds and a top speed of 148 mph—previously unheard of figures in such small capacity production diesels.

The 2.0-liter engine in the 120d produces 177 hp (132 kW) of power; 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque; and a zero to 62 mph time of 7.6 seconds with fuel consumption of 4.8 l/100km (49 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 128 g/km.

Both the 123d and 120d come with Auto Start-Stop technology, Brake Energy Regeneration, third-generation common-rail fuel injection, a diesel particulate filter, active aerodynamics, Electric Power Steering and low rolling resistance tires to aid in fuel efficiency.

The high-end 135i uses a six-cylinder 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged gasoline engine that produces 306 hp (228 kW). The 135i is capable of accelerating from zero to 62 mph in 5.3 seconds before going on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph. The engine develops peak torque of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) from just 1,300 rpm.

The 135i has a fuel consumption rating of 9.2 l/100km and CO2 emissions of 220 g/km.

BMW 1 Series Coupé
0-62 mph
Fuel Cons.
120d 177 350 7.6 4.8 128
123d 204 400 5.0 5.2 138
135i 306 400 5.3 9.2 220



I think with the EPA likely going to increase CAFE numbers, don't be surprised that we see the 123d in the USA within the next 18 months, especially now that ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel is available in most of the USA. Imagine getting nearly 40 mpg in normal freeway driving and potentially topping out at over 140 mph in the same car! :-) That turbodiesel could also make it to the 3-Series for a US-market 323d model.


Don't count on it. I have written both BMW and MINI (among others) urging them to offer modern clean diesels here in the US market. BMW is considering offering diesels in their X5 SUV- but that's about it.

MINI's Diesel model falls nicely between the Cooper s and the base model in terms of performance- but returns better than a real-world 50mpg! Unfortunately, they have no plans for a US MINI diesel.

I can't wait until +50mpg cars become the norm. Modern clean diesels are a step in the right direction. Eventually diesel hybrids should be able to provide 80mpg cars w/o yet to be achieved battery technology.


This is the exact body shape we are getting in the US.

5.3 seconds 0-60 is quite pessimistic since the 335i (with the same 300hp engine but an additional few hundred pounds of weight) hits 0-60 in about 5.0 seconds flat.


I'll take the diesel version if it is 50 state legal, the 123d.

If it isn't 50 state legal I'd much rather have the 177hp engine out of the Cooper S.


Put me down for a 123d as well. Those are great numbers!


The auto and oil companies have invested a lot of money in diesel technology to bring it to market including high pressure direct injection and an expensive particulate filter. So you can bet diesel ICEs will be the next big thing simply because the companies expect to recoup their R&D expenses. You can also bet it will be some time before PHEVs and BEVs from the Big Four, Toyota, Ford, GM and Chrysler, ever make it to the mass market.

A few things to consider: It takes up to 15% more oil to super-refine the sulfur out of the oil; also, biodiesel, at this time will is a premium. So, don't think that diesel will be cheaper than gasoline. And, don't forget that diesel is just another version of an inefficient ICE that burns higher energy-density fuel. I intend to wait for the Tesla BEV sports sedan before I jump into a new car.


$50,000 for a Tesla sedan versus $25,000 to $30,000...I doubt many people could afford the Tesla as financing would cost nearly as much as they pay for their house or apartment.


^Patrick, a house or apartment where? Not where I live. I guess that's one good thing about living in a metropolis in the Northeast--after the cost of housing, a $50,000 car seems relatively cheap.


I don’t understand why so much emphasis is put on acceleration and top speed performance? The world is slowly going to hell in a hand basket and you are drooling over the facts about how fast it goes and how quick you can get there. How often will you drive over 75 or 80 mph anyway?

Slow down people!

Rafael Seidl

Lad -

do you have a reference for that 15% primary energy penalty for getting the sulfur out? Sound a little steep to me.

What grades of crudes does it apply to, and are those the ones used to produce ULSD fuel?


Actually, I do count every auto manufacturer to offer clean-burning turbodiesel engines across the board once EPA/CARB certifies urea gas injection to reduce NOx emissions. That will clear the way for BMW to offer their 2.0-liter I-4, 3.0-liter I-6 and 4.5-liter V-8 turbodiesel engines on all models. The BMW X3 with the engine from the 335d sedan would be sweet to drive, that's to be sure (and will around 30 mpg on freeway driving, pretty good for a sporty SUV).


Rafael Seidl:
The old standard for sulfur in diesel was 500ppm; as of 2006 that has been changed to 15ppm. Some oil starts out with 2000ppm sulfur. As you can imagine this requires additional oil. The best I can recall is I read the figure 15% on GCC. Because I wasn't quite sure of the figure I said "up to 15%." If you google "diesel oil refining" I'm sure you can find the exact data you want listed by the grades. My point is it will take a larger amount of feedstock for the same output and that translates to additional retail costs.

BTW, in Europe there is a fear that the sulfur market is sinking because they have so much surplus sulfur from the refiners as a byproduct, they don't know where to store it and the price of sulfur is dropping rapidly.


I agree with Rafael - that 15% number sounds extremely high. I cannot find any reliable source that confirms that.

As for the price premiums, I've seen sources suggest that it is 6-7 cents per gallon for the end consumer. That alone suggests it does not take 15% more oil for ULSD.

Hasn't ULSD been the only thing sold for on-road use in the US since October 2006?


And what figure did you come up with if you don't believe the 15% figure. Absent any other figure I still believe what I read is true: "up to 15%" means from 1 to 15%.


Nemo - Come on down here to Atlanta sometime and try merging onto the highway. Acceleration is a life-or-death matter, and 80mph is typical highway speed outside of rush hour. Performance is very much a real-world consideration.


A 4-cyl Honda Civic (and many similar high quality smaller cars) will do all that and some at close to 40 mpg.

You do not need a 5000 lbs V-12 gas guzzler monster to merge and follow that type of traffic.

If you feel you need all that hardware, the Intercity/suburban trains and buses do a very good job.



That is just the point. If ULSD required 15% more oil to produce, don't you think it would be easy to corroborate that fact? I mean, that is a fairly significant factor. Every comparison I find, even the ones that list the disadvantages of ULSD, do not even remotely allude to that. I would think that would be a fairly significant one.

Your exact quote was, "The best I can recall is I read the figure 15% on GCC." I hope you can understand my skepticism with your source.

I know it doesn't translate perfectly, but does it seem likely to you that removing something that represents 500 parts per million, or .05% of traditional diesel requires 15% more feedstock (oil)?

You have me curious about this - I am only looking for the truth. Can anyone shed some light on this????


I just came back from Atlanta a month ago. I rented an automatic Ford Focus (pathetically slow car but more responsive handling than a Toyota Corolla I rented in Missouri) and had no problems with the highways there. Drove on nearly every single one of those highways as well...until I found out about the train system they have [after which my rental languished in the parking lot quite unused].

I did see people driving 80mph...not a safe speed to maintain nor is it conducive to saving gas and at any time you can be ticketed since it looked like the speed limit was 60mph anywhere within Atlanta and only 65 (or 70?) once you are about 30+ miles outside of Atlanta.


The value is between 1 and 15%. And, you are right it is significant. If you find a different number, please let me know and in the meantime I will see if I can find my reference for you.

Here are a few links on clean diesel; removing SO2 is an interesting problem:



I don’t have data about the amount of additional feed stock you need to get ULSD, but 15% seems an exaggerated number. Even if that number is real, it could be compensated by the facts: that diesel is easier to produce than gasoline, requiring less oil and energy; diesel has higher energy content per volume than gasoline, coincidently 15%.


Lad, et al,

According to a paper published by UC Davis, ("LIFECYCLE EMISSIONS FROM TRANSPORTATION FUELS, MOTOR VEHICLES, TRANSPORTATION MODES, ELECTRICITY USE, HEATING AND COOKING FUELS, AND MATERIALS", Mark A. Delucchi, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, CA), ULSD requires ~40% more energy to refine than "conventional diesel" (defined as 5000 ppm sulfur). It appears that would be roughly 15% higher than low sulfur diesel (350 ppm) in energy requirements. Is that what you're thinking of, Lad?

You have to remember that even 5000 ppm is a fraction of a percent (0.005%), so the increase in actual feedstock is minuscule.


One most remember that gasoline is also Ultra Low Sulfer now, so does the 15% not apply to gasoline? I would be amazed if the process to remove sulfer from diesel is substantially different from gasoline.

Rafael Seidl

@Lad -

I've seen refining cost estimates of $0.04 - $0.09 per gallon of ULSD, over and above regular diesel (excl. depreciation cost of the additional equipment). However, that was back in 2003. The higher number referred to sour crude grades, which are substantially cheaper than sweet ones. The global benchmark crudes WTI and Brent are both sweet.

By Apr 07, the premium on ULSD over the old LSD had shrunk to just ~$0.02 per gallon or ~1% for sales to end users.

Ergo, it might be true that switching to ULSD increases the energy overhead of refining by 15%. However, in terms of the total energy security/GHG footprint of a gallon of finished fuel, removing the sulfur doesn't amount to much of a hill of beans. It is certainly dwarfed by the total fuel savings of switching a fraction of the LDV fleet from gasoline to ULSD fuel (and engines, obviously).

joe blow

I've been buying and running ULSD for years. When it wasnt everywhere, I compared pricing to non-ULSD. The prices weren't really any different - slightly more perhaps. I guess it's all part of the big oil company conspiracy to get us on ULSD, right??? Sheesh, I'm amazed at the amount of nonsense I see posted around here.

Any time a high performance yet economical diesel engine comes out of Europe, there's never a wanting for folks around here to criticize it. Unbelievable.

And 80+mph is absolutely norm and typical all over So Cal, where I'm at. And show me a Civic that has great power (i.e. 200hp) AND gets 40mpg AT 80+mph. It doesnt exist.

This 123d will likely get something like 45mpg@80mph, and still blow away pretty much any Civic for acceleration in any condition.


I'd be happy with the 120d. My current car will do 0-60 in about 7.2-7.6 (dont know exact numbers) and gets 18-23. I'd be pleased with a 0-60 of 7.6 that gets 49mpg and handles like a BMW. It's probably smaller than my Camry so its easy to park which makes it nearly the perfect car.

The comments to this entry are closed.