The 2011 BMW 335d is quite a machine. With gasoline-rivalling power and performance and gasoline-shaming economy, it seems to offer the best of both worlds.

That's only set to improve in the next generation based on the new 3-Series, but will U.S. buyers be getting the ActiveHybrid 3 instead of a new 335d?

That's the scenario implied by, which reports that BMW is dropping the diesel thanks to the new 3er's fuel-saving technologies, that significantly improve mileage on all the gasoline variants - by around 12 percent on the 335i.

Add the upcoming 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 to the mix, promising a 335-horsepower gasoline-electric drivetrain and an estimated 36 mpg, and the diesel model starts to look less relevant.

All is not lost for diesel fans, as if BMW decides to reintroduce a diesel 3-Series, it could be from the wide stable of four-cylinder units that sell in huge numbers in Europe.

That's not as depressing as it sounds, as the new BMW 320d produces 181 horsepower and on the European cycle (usually around 20-30 percent higher than the EPA cycle), it does 51.1 mpg combined.

BMW's hybrid sales haven't been that positive in the U.S, though the 3-Series is less niche-market than the now-discontinued ActiveHybrid 7 and ActiveHybrid X6, so along with the upcoming ActiveHybrid 5, it could be the model to really kick off BMW's hybrid program.


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