BMW is celebrating their 30th anniversary of offering diesel engines.
While diesels are pretty common today, especially in Europe, many people regarded them as loud and dirty back in the 80's. BMW sought to change this, in part because of the lasting sting of the 1970's oil crisis.
When it came to developing the engine, BMW decided it had to combine fuel efficiency and durability as well as "high performance, spontaneous power delivery and optimum smoothness." As a result, engineers created a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that produced 115 HP (85 kW) and 210 Nm (155 lb-ft) of torque.
The engine was fitted to the 1983 524 tD which instantly became the fastest diesel model in the world as it could accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 12.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). More importantly, the model averaged 7.1 L/100km (33.1 mpg US / 39.7 mpg UK).
The rest, as they say, is history as BMW continued to develop their diesel engines into the tri-turbo beasts the power the M550d today.