The article presents a numerical study of pre-injection strategy in order to reduce the rate of heat release and pressure rise in a modern direct injection diesel engine, developed for passenger car. A model of the engine was built in advanced simulation code AVL BOOST. In order to determine the injection rate a supplementary model of the solenoid injector was built in AVL HYDSIM. A study of rate of heat release and pressure rise into combustion chamber was conducted at single operating point. The engine effective power was taken into consideration as well. The results revealed that pre-injection strategy is a promising approach for reducing the rate of heat released and the engine noise at low speed and load. However, a precise control of pre-injected mass and injection timing has to be realised by engine control system.