BMW 335d Three-Month Test Report and Review

By Jonathan Spira on 11 April 2010
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Three months after picking up the Montego Blue BMW 335d at the BMW Welt delivery center in Munich, it continues to provide consistent Freude am Fahren.  Aside from one letter on the decklid badge, there is little in outward appearance that distinguishes the 335d from its petrol-powered counterpart, the 335i.  Yet driving a 335d does make a very clear statement to the world, one that says “I want incredible fuel economy without sacrificing performance.”  To put this more in BMW terms, “I want the ultimate fuel economy machine.”

The 335d does this by combining sports-car acceleration with exemplary fuel economy, and then adding in comfort and attention to detail.  Indeed, this very combination may be the forerunner of a new breed of luxury-performance sedans.

The 3er Series was first introduced in 1975 as the successor to the 2002, the car that first defined the sports sedan.  Since then, the BMW 3er Series has continued to define this genre and it is the car that other car makers try to emulate.

The 3er doesn’t attempt to pamper the driver and passengers; instead, it focuses on a driving experience that is unlike any other.  One can recognize a 3er Series driver: he’s the one who is grinning from ear to ear after every trip.  The 335d driver is grinning even more as he knows how much fuel he saving with every trip.

The 335d was launched in the U.S. in 2009 as a four-door sedan in conjunction with a mild redesign of that body style. As a result, the 3er Series sedan bears a much stronger familial resemblance to the new 5er and 7er Series sedans.  The front looks wider and sports new headlights and a bolder bumper/spoiler. More prominent longitudinal hood lines frame the hood’s power dome. New taillights and a more pronounced character line complete the look.

The 335d’s three-liter six-cylinder inline twin-turbo diesel engine with common-rail, high-pressure direct fuel injection with piezo injectors and two-stage turbo charging produces 265 hp and an incredible 425 pound-feet of torque. To put the car’s power into perspective, the M3 generates a mere 295 pound-feet of torque.  There’s so much torque that BMW had to use electronics to keep the rear tires from spinning out of control.

BMW designed the 335d’s turbocharger system to negate turbo lag by using one fast-and-small turbocharger for initial acceleration with a second, larger turbo that takes over as engine speed rises. As a result, there is no noticeable turbo lag.

The BMW 335d is also the most fuel-efficient cars BMW of North America has ever sold and can travel almost 40% farther on a tank of fuel than its gasoline-powered sibling.   I’ve gone several weeks without having to fill the tank and I could drive from New York to Washington, D.C. and back (round trip 750 km or 466 miles) without having to stop to refuel.

So after three months and several thousand kilometers (keep in mind that the car spent a month in transit getting from Munich to New York), how does it drive?  Suffice it to say that the 335d is the most sought-after car at The Diesel Driver and the driving experience combined with fuel economy is simply unparalleled. Click here to continue to page 2.

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