The head of research and development at BMW says the Bavarian brand is committed to diesel engines despite various politicians in Europe "bashing" the oil-burner.

Speaking to GoAuto.com, Klaus Fröhlich, member of the BMW board responsible for development, suggested diesel would be around for some time to come.

“The diesel development from BMW perspective is quite dramatic. We have, I think, more or less the best diesels. All test show that we have the lowest emissions,” said Fröhlich.

“We have a spiral in Europe where every politician sees only one solution – diesel bashing. From a CO2 and customer perspective, a modern diesel is a very good solution. Especially for heavy, high-performing cars,” he added.

However, Fröhlich told the Australian publication the Munich-based automaker would likely reduce the number of diesel variants in its range.

“I will perhaps not have three different specs. At the moment we have 3,0-litre mono-turbocharger, twin-turbocharger and quad-turbocharger, so perhaps I will only have one solution with two performance levels or something.

“Yes, four and six cylinders will remain in the market. And I will have at least four power derivatives on the diesels. But I think the high-end diesels, for example M50d, it is a challenge to do anyway. It is a challenge to comply to ‘future future future’ emissions and the market is small.”

Fröhlich added despite the trend towards electric vehicles, certain markets would feature combustions engines “for a very long time”.

“I think the discussion about electro-mobility is a little bit irrational. But we are prepared. We already purchased … cobalt and lithium from 2025-35. We already have the second life in place for consumers or for grid stabilisation; we have built these battery farms. We are prepared to deliver.

“But the world – Russia, Australia, a large portion of the world – they will have combustion engines for a very long time.”

In South Africa, the new X5 will be offered in diesel guise only.