Buying a used Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Range or Porsche, should you choose diesel or petrol?
16 October 2019
Media coverage and legislative moves along with strategic decisions by many car manufacturers over the last few years have certainly communicated a fairly clear message that diesel won’t be part of most marques’ futures. Porsche, for example, dropped diesel last year after stating that the fuel has always played a secondary role in its sports cars and only accounts for 12% of worldwide sales, despite our own experience that the Macan Diesel S and Panamera Diesel S have performed relatively well in their markets on our doorstep in Cheshire and across the UK.
Porsche is admittedly a niche brand, though, whereas higher-volume BMW pragmatically sees internal combustion engines still playing a part in 80% of its vehicles by 2025, Klaus Froelich sensibly explaining to the media that they will focus on simplifying rather than eradicating their petrol and diesel powerplants in the realisation that not all new car-buyers and leasing customers will transition to plugin hybrid or all-electric models quite so soon. After all, they along with Jaguar Land Rover, Volkswagen Group and others have poured billions into making their diesel engines as efficient yet powerful than ever in recent years. Away from the luxury, prestige, sports and 4x4 car segments that Leama specialises in, Honda is another name that has more recently announced that it will delete diesel from its European model range by 2021.
The introduction of new WLTP car testing procedures along with the latest and cleanest Euro 6 diesel engines having become commonplace have helped to an extent, but independent results such as a Land Rover Discovery being found to emit 20 times less NOx pollution into the air than a Renault Clio despite each achieving Euro 6 certification have resulted in certain voices labelling both developments as flawed.
Still on the theme of new cars, JLR and Mercedes-Benz have actually been hitting back at the seemingly all-negative publicity that diesel has attracted since the so-called scandal broke in 2015, developing Step 2 Euro 6d-full RDE2-compliant engines for the new A-Class, new Evoque and Jaguar XE and XF, for example, that avoid the 4% company car tax surcharge and are hence proving popular among Leama’s prestige car leasing clientele.
Diesel clearly still has a role to play in this transition period, which could last decades, before the majority of or all new cars sold and leased have become electrified - but with headlines such as ‘Total ban on new petrol and diesel cars could be brought forward five years’ appearing this month, it’s admittedly a confusing time for many motorists in the UK and also in Germany and the Netherlands where diesel sales have surprisingly started rising again.
As a general rule, diesel is still the fuel recommended specifically for drivers covering over 12,000 miles per year, a figure used in advice published by automotive sources such as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and the RAC, along with other organisations including the Money Advice Service. The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) reckoned in early 2018 that diesel could still save the average household or driver £132 across all body types and between £300 and £400 when it comes to executive cars and SUVS – the kind that Leama of Knutsford in Cheshire are specialists in.
Fresh commentary from entities including Shoreham Vehicle Auctions (SVA) as found on various fleet publications’ websites points to an imminent resurgence in used prices and residual values (RV) for diesel cars, as a stream of Euro 6-compliant vehicles come to the end of their 2, 3 or 4-year business or personal lease contracts. While diesel iterations would have been priced slightly higher when they were retailed within the last half a dozen years, their CO2 emissions will typically be much lower than their petrol counterparts, meaning lower tax bandings and fuel expenditure.
Shoreham Vehicle Auctions’ managing director, Alex Wright, interestingly and rightly commented: “Despite the tipping point having arrived for electric vehicles, we will see the diesel market recover and, due to the reduction in new diesel sales, the pendulum will swing back to an increased demand in the second-hand market.”
Perhaps of note particularly to potential buyers of new or used SUVs and also plug-in hybrid or fully-electric vehicles, he added: “The new generation of petrol owners in an SUV will realise the extra running costs versus diesel, and when the green light is given by the government that these new generation diesels are actually helping the country reduce CO2 and NOx emissions, it will be accepted as a 'green' solution until electric vehicles fully establish themselves. We must remember that petrol powertrains generate CO2 and NOx emissions too and, arguably, have progressed less than diesels in recent Euro standard iterations.”
At Leama Specialist Cars we regularly stock a compelling range of luxury, prestige, sports and 4x4 SUV cars equipped with impressive diesel engines blending strong performance, fuel efficiency and refinement. Examples of models typically seen in our online showroom and available to view and test-drive by appointment include Mercedes-Benz’ C-Class in C220d guise, S-Class S350 CDI BlueTEC and the GLE 350d, Audi Q7 and Jaguar F-PACE diesel SUVs, Range Rover and Sport models with V6 SDV6 and V8 TDV8 diesel engines, and Porsche’s Macan Diesel S and Panamera Diesel S, on which Auto Express recently published a comprehensive used buying guide detailing service costs, mechanical and electrical items to look out for, and running costs.
While there will always be demand for used high-performance cars like the Audi RS6 and R8, BMW M5 and M6, Porsche 911 Turbo S and Mercedes’ 63 AMG models, we expect interest in diesel prestige and sports examples to remain equally strong. It’s fascinating that Audi has chosen to introduce diesel and mild-hybrid power to the new RS5, RS6, RS7, S5, S6 and S7 models on the way, which ones again shows that diesel still has a place and certainly isn’t a fuel of yesterday despite the arrival of cars like the electric Jaguar I-PACE and Mercedes-Benz EQC, each with battery ranges of just under 300 miles. See which prestige cars we have it stock today at Leama.