BMW began fitting Diesel Particulate Filters to their larger diesel engines in 2004 / 5, and their roll out started with any model which uses the popular 3.0 Diesel Engine. In addition 4×4 / SUV vehicles such as the X3 also had DPF systems fitted to the 2.0 diesel version earlier than the Saloon / Estate version which used the same 2.0 engine.
Year as to when DPF’s began appearing on BMW Cars
330D / 530D / X3 3.0 – From Early 2005
325D – All Models have a DPF Fitted
525D – From Early 2005
X3 2.0 – From Mid Year 2005
320D – From 2007 (early 163bhp versions did not have a DPF)
120D – From 2007 ( previous 163bhp version did not have a DPF)
118D / 318D – From 2007
123D – All Models have a DPF fitted
X1 Series – All Models have a DPF Fitted
If you are considering a BMW from the year in which the DPF was first introduced, then the easiest way of seeing whether the car has a particulate filter fitted, would be to check the exhaust. BMW’s with DPF system fitted have an exhaust which has a straight end, whilst non DPF cars have a “turned down” exhaust, which points downwards towards the road.
Any car which is fitted with a DPF would also have no soot just inside the exhaust pipe, so one further test would be to run a finger just inside the exhaust, if you see soot, there is no Diesel Particulate Filter fitted.
If you are considering buying a second hand BMW which has a DPF fitted then bear in mind that they are consumable items and will require replacing at a high mileage. BMW diesel particulate filters have a service life of around 100k miles, but may require replacing much sooner, depending on the driving style of the previous owner. Therefore if you are considering buying a second hand diesel BMW which has over 80k miles on the clock then you will need to budget £2000 for the cost of a replacement Particulate Filter at some point within the next few years. Obviously the higher the mileage, the more sooner the requirement to replace.