Top 10: Fast Diesel Cars

12th Sep 2023

By Kenny Longdon

Fast Cars

We all have our own idea of what makes a fast car. Almost all of them have sleek looks, high-power and characterful engines, and they seem to have somewhat of a thirst for the premium unleaded petrol.

Diesel cars are famed for their high fuel economy, and in recent times, manufacturers have started offering performance diesels for those who like fast car performance, but also like to travel further between fill-ups.

Below we take a look at our favourite top 10 fast diesel cars. With everything from quick little hatchbacks, luxury saloons and purposeful SUVs, fast diesel cars come in all shapes, sizes and specifications. Which one would you like the keys to?

BMW 3 Series


Think of a fast BMW, and you will probably envisage an iconic M car, such as the legendary M3.

However, M cars are not exactly cheap to buy or run, so BMW started creating M Performance versions of some of its models. These are cars that offer enhanced performance, style and specification, which are the next best thing to a bona fide M car, whilst being considerably less-expensive too.

One of our favourites in the M Performance range is the M340d xDrive. With a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder engine producing 335bhp, as well as all-wheel drive, 0 to 62mph takes just 4.6 seconds, with a 155mph top speed. This makes this particular 3 Series saloon one of the fastest diesel cars available.

It may not be as fast, nor as special as an M3, but if you require a quick, economical 3 Series then the M340d fits the bill nicely. It will also return 45mpg, which you would not get in an M3.

A more practical Touring version is also available, taking 4.8 seconds to get from 0 to 62mph.

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Mercedes-Benz E-Class

E-Class AMG Line

Mercedes-Benz and BMW are natural rivals in the car world. BMW have M, whereas Mercedes-Benz have Mercedes-AMG. Having already mentioned BMW, we thought we would alert you to what their rivals have in their fast diesel car collection too.

Mercedes-Benz AMG Line models offer some similarities to their full-bodied AMG siblings, with some versions even having performance that is rather similar too, such as the Mercedes-Benz E 400 d AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus. Sure, this is not a Mercedes-AMG product, but with a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder diesel engine with 325bhp on tap, this large, luxurious Mercedes-Benz coupé can hit 62mph from a standstill in just 5.3 seconds. It will also do 155mph.

This sleek E-Class also has 4MATIC all-wheel drive for enhanced all-weather grip and fast diesel car performance. With the possibility of almost 40mpg too, this is one luxury car that can get a move on when it needs too.

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Audi S4

S4 Avant

We have talked about BMW and Mercedes-Benz, so it is only natural to talk about Audi too.

Audi S models are serious performance versions, that are the final step before you get to the even more serious Audi RS range-topping models. Usually petrol powered, Audi went a little controversial in 2018 when it fitted a diesel engine for the first time to its S4 - the performance version of the popular Audi A4.

Using a potent 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine means the S4 Saloon has the foundation to perform, and with 344bhp at its disposal, it does just that with 0 to 62mph happening in just 4.8 seconds. It will also do 155mph just like the aforementioned BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

A more handsome Avant model is also available, taking just two tenths slower to complete the 0 to 62mph dash, offering enhanced practicality in the process.

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Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera 4S

Having already mentioned three of the most popular German manufacturers, we thought we may as well mention another. After all, when we think of fast cars, the Porsche 911 is hard not to think of.

Of course, the greatest sports car ever is not offered with a diesel engine, it just would not be right, but what about a larger, more practical Porsche. A diesel engine would work well, would it not?

The Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel works well alright, thanks to it being equipped with a rather forceful 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel engine, producing 416bhp. Therefore, this executive Porsche can complete 0 to 62mph in just 4.3 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 177mph, making it the fastest diesel in terms of of acceleration and top speed in our list.

Despite this monumental performance, this particular Panamera will return 42mpg, meaning fuel station visits will be less frequent than a petrol Panamera.

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BMW 5 Series


Another M Performance model from BMW, this time in the form of a rather powerful 5 Series. When we say hot, we mean red hot. As this particular BMW has a particular trait in common with the incredible Bugatti Veyron - once the world's fastest car. Amazingly, both the Bugatti and this diesel BMW feature quad turbochargers, making them both rather fast, to say the least, and also rare.

The BMW turbochargers are smaller, but the car can still propel itself and its occupants from 0 to 62mph in just 4.4 seconds, or 4.6 seconds for the Touring version. Not as fast at the Bugatti's 2.5 seconds, which is also petrol-powered, but still a hugely fast diesel nonetheless.

Despite being one of the fastest diesel cars on our list, the BMW M550d will still return 47mpg, whereas the Bugatti will get about 11mpg, if you are lucky.

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Land Rover Range Rover

Range Rover Sport

Car or SUV, whatever the classification, we simply could not ignore this British icon. Especially as the SUV continues to be a popular choice of car and the Range Rover is arguably one of, if not the best SUV available.

And let us not forget that the Range Rover Sport weighs over two tonnes, yet despite its size, this SUV can launch from 0 to 62mph in just 6.8 seconds, thanks to a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel engine.

When you take into account the Range Rover Sport's weight, refinement and luxury: the fact it can also return up to 37mpg is rather impressive to say the least. Sure, other diesels in our list may offer better mpg, but none of them will be able to match this off-road icon when conditions get tricky, that is for sure. The Range Rover Sport will be fast off-road too.

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Volkswagen Golf


The VW Golf has developed an excellent reputation for itself over the years. This is due to the overall package it offers, combining German quality with fantastic levels of performance, economy, technology and class.

The Golf GTI engineered itself a classless image, a car in which you could park outside The Ritz or outside a Tesco and it would not look out of place. The Golf GTD is essentially a more subtle Golf GTI, with the 242bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine being replaced by a 197bhp 2.0-litre diesel unit.

Taking just 7.1 seconds to hit 62mph from a standstill, as opposed to the GTI's 6.3 seconds, it is still fast enough and will also return 54mpg, as opposed to the GTI's 38mpg.

In the real world, if you are doing a lot of mileage and want a car that still feels fast whilst returning great economy, a Golf GTD is a great option.

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X5 M50d

Another BMW in our list, but when the Munich manufacturer knows how to make a fast diesel car, they are hard to ignore. This is the second SUV in our list, but we could not have the Range Rover Sport taking all the praise, so we thought we would even the SUV playing field.

The BMW X5 M50d features yet another epic diesel engine, and one that features quad turbochargers. Therefore it also features similarities with the hypercar elite, most notably with the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron.

The 3.0-litre diesel unit is a purposeful 6-cylinder producing a meaty 395bhp. This means this two-tonne SUV can hit 62mph from standstill in just 5.2 seconds.

Despite its heavy weight, which is very similar to the Range Rover Sport mentioned previous, the colossal BMW X5 M50d can return a rather impressive 41mpg.

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MINI Cooper

MINI Cooper SD

In a similar style to the VW Golf GTD mentioned previously, the MINI Cooper SD is essentially a diesel version of the petrol-powered MINI Cooper S.

Still, the MINI Cooper SD gets the iconic go-kart handling for a car that is sure to put a smile on your face, as well as looking after your bank balance since the Cooper SD will require less trips to the pumps.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine produces 168bhp, as opposed to the Cooper S' 189bhp. The MINI Cooper SD can still complete 0 to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds, meaning it is not far behind the Cooper S' 6.7 seconds.

However, the SD can return a hefty 68mpg, whilst the petrol S can only return circa 42mpg. If you still fancy fun handling, but have to cover a lot more miles, then the Cooper SD could be the answer.

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Maserati Ghibli

Ghibli Diesel

Finishing off our list in style, with a classy Italian saloon. And an interesting one at that, as the Maserati Ghibli is the first ever Maserati to be offered with a diesel engine.

This meant Maserati could tempt new customers to the brand, and it is thought around three quarters of Ghibli buyers opt for a diesel version. With most saloon cars these days being from many German manufacturers, such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, it is nice to see an Italian on our list too.

Especially one that offers a strong diesel engine too, being a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6, good for offering 271bhp via an eight-speed automatic transmission and driver-focused rear-wheel drive.

This ensures the Maserati can launch from 0 to 62mph in just 6.3 seconds, whilst still being able to achieve almost 50mpg. It may not be as popular as the Germans, but you cannot ignore the cool factor of a Maserati.

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Fancy your very own fast diesel car?

We hope we have given you an idea of just how many impressive fast diesel cars are available with our comprehensive list.

It seems German manufacturers, especially BMW, who have a lot of fast diesel cars available, which is good new for those who want fast car pace, whilst also reaping the rewards of high mpg.

At Stratstone we currently have a number of fast diesel cars, both new and used. Click on the relevant link in the blog to take a look at our various examples, or why not search our new car range, or used car stock and find your next car today with Stratstone.