10 fastest diesel cars you can buy

January 12, 2024 by

Diesel cars are no longer the slow, noisy and strictly economical option – there are some seriously quick models on the market that are happy to give plenty of petrol-powered sports cars a run for their money.

What’s more, they deliver lots of torque from low revs – handy when you need a bit of extra grunt to overtake slow-moving traffic.  As an added bonus, these diesel-powered cars often return better fuel economy than their petrol-powered counterparts.

Here are the 10 fastest diesel cars on the market:

  1. BMW M340d: 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds
  2. Mercedes E450d: 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds
  3. BMW X4 M40d: 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds
  4. Mercedes CLS 400D: 0-60mph in 5.0 seconds
  5. Audi S6: 0-60mph in 5.0 seconds
  6. Audi S7: 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds
  7. BMW X5 xDrive 40d: 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds
  8. Mercedes GLE 450D: 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds
  9. Audi A8 50 TDI: 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds
  10. Audi Q8 50 TDI: 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds

BMW M340d

  • 0-60mph: 4.6 seconds
  • Power: 335hp
  • Torque: 700Nm
  • Starting price: £51,515
  • Wowscore: 9/10

First on the list is the BMW M340d. The 3 Series has been synonymous with executive saloons for decades now and it’s easy to see why. It’s very well made, very comfortable and fun to drive.

The M340d has a 3.0 litre straight-six diesel engine that can push it from 0-60mph in just 4.6 seconds and on to 155mph. It’s just a shame that it’s pricier than some alternatives and the options can be expensive.

Mercedes E-Class E450d

  • 0-60mph: 4.8 seconds
  • Power: 367hp
  • Torque: 750Nm
  • Starting price: £80,640
  • Wowscore: 9/10

The all-new Mercedes E-Class is a properly posh executive saloon with a lot of the latest tech, and it’s one of the few which is still available with a potent diesel engine.

The E450d uses a 3.0-litre six-cylinder with 367hp, and it can manage 0-60mph in just 4,8 seconds. The E-Class may be a bit pricey, however it’s one of the most comfortable cruisers on the market today.

BMW X4 M40d

  • 0-60mph: 4.9 seconds
  • Power: 322hp
  • Torque: 680Nm
  • Starting price: £62,655
  • Wowscore: 7/10

The BMW X4 M40d is a coupe SUV that packs a powerful 3.0-litre straight-six diesel engine. Despite being a bulky SUV, it can still get from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds and go on to 155mph.

It’s quite agile for a big SUV, and it’s comfortable to drive as well. The interior is very well made, but the sloping roofline means it’s not as practical as something like a BMW X3. The styling is quite divisive, but at least it’ll stand out in your company carpark…

Mercedes CLS 400D

  • 0-60mph: 5.0 seconds
  • Power: 335hp
  • Torque: 680Nm
  • Starting price: £68,535
  • Wowscore: 6/10

If the Mercedes S-Class isn’t quite slinky enough for you, then the Mercedes CLS may be worth a look. It’s a coupe version of Mercedes’ flagship luxury saloon, and as such it has much of the same advanced technology on offer.

The CLS 400D is powered by a 3.0-litre diesel engine and has all-wheel-drive to maximise grip in slippery conditions. Some alternatives do have more luggage space, but is that at the forefront of your mind when buying a car like this?

Audi S6

  • 0-60mph: 5.0 seconds
  • Power: 349hp
  • Torque: 700Nm
  • Starting price: £62,465
  • Wowscore: 7/10

The Audi S6 is a performance-oriented version of the A6 luxury saloon. It has a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine which can launch it from 0-60mph in five seconds, and it will go on to a limited top speed of 155mph.

The S6 is conservatively styled, which may be the main appeal for some if you like your performance saloon to slip under the radar. As you’d expect from Audi, the interior is very well built as well. It’s not as fun to drive as some alternatives, but it is very comfy on long-distance drives.

Audi S7

  • 0-60mph: 5.1
  • Power: 344hp
  • Torque: 700Nm
  • Starting price: £77,315
  • Wowscore: 8/10

The Audi A7 is one of the best-looking four-door cars out there, and the S7 adds a dash of sportiness into the mix. Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine putting out 344hp, and 0-60mph is dealt with in 5.1 seconds.

It may not be the most fun car to drive in this segment, and things can start to get expensive if you get carried away with the options, but it makes up for this with a lovely interior and a smooth, comfortable ride.

BMW X5 xDrive 40d

  • 0-60mph: 5.5 seconds
  • Power: 340hp
  • Torque: 700Nm
  • Starting price: £67,535
  • Wowscore: 9/10

SUVs are all the rage at the moment as family buyers seek to get something with plenty of space for the kids and higher driving position. If you want your family bus to have a bit of poke as well, the BMW X5 xDrive 40d is worth considering.

Power comes from a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine with 340hp. This means an impressive 0-60mph sprint time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 152mph. It can hold its own on a twisty road, just beware of the large alloy wheels as these can make the ride firmer than it should be.

Mercedes GLE 450D

  • 0-60mph: 5.6 seconds
  • Power: 367hp
  • Torque: 750Nm
  • Starting price: 86,360
  • Wowscore: 7/10

If it’s a seven-seater SUV with a bit of poke you want, the Mercedes GLE 450d is a great shout. Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre oil-burner with 367hp, and it’ll do 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds.

It’s a bit tight in the third row, and some of the touch-sensitive interior controls can be annoying, but the GLE has a lovely cabin design and it’s properly comfortable.

Audi A8 50 TDI

  • 0-60mph: 5.9 seconds
  • Power: 286hp
  • Torque: 600Nm
  • Starting price: £80,820
  • Wowscore: 8/10

The Audi A8 is one of the few luxury limousines you can still get with a big diesel engine. You get a 3.0-litre V6 up front with 286hp, and it can waft you from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds.

It may not be the most exciting thing to look at, and the optional extras can get expensive, but the A8 has a lovely and spacious interior, and it’s one of the most comfortable cars out there.

Audi Q8 50 TDI

  • 0-60mph: 6.1 seconds
  • Power: 286hp
  • Torque: 600Nm
  • Starting price: £75,615
  • Wowscore: 8/10

To finish, we’ve got the Audi Q8 50 TDI. It uses the same 3.0-litre V6 diesel as the A8 saloon, however the added mass increases the 0-60mph time to 6.1 seconds.

It may not be the most practical SUV considering its size, and it’s pretty expensive as well. However you might look past this for the sleek styling and relaxing driving experience.

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