BMW 335d Six-Month Test Report and Review

By Jonathan Spira on 15 August 2010
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The roughly 400 km (249 mile) drive from New York City to Washington D.C. and back (another 400 km) used most – but not all – of the Montego Blue BMW 335d’s fuel, reported Paul Riegler, our contributing editor.  In terms of fuel economy, the 335d used 6.0 l/100 km (39 mpg) on the traffic free trip, with speeds ranging from 80 km/h (50 mph) to 130 km/h (80 mph).

“No need to stop for refueling,” Paul’s notes read.

How many other cars with 425 pound-feet of torque can you say that about?

Contrast this with the same drive taken with a BMW 335i sedan at the same time, similarly equipped with automatic transmission.  That car used 9 l/100 km (26 mpg) for a total of 72 l (19 gallons).  One refueling stop was required.  The 335d only used 48 l (12.6 gallons), delivering over 33% better fuel economy.

Since picking up the BMW 335d at the BMW Welt a little over six months ago, I continue to be amazed at how quiet the car can be, even at very high speeds.  Driving the car at 220 km/h (137 mph) for extended periods of time simply reinforced this observation.

Despite the 86 kg (191 pound) weight penalty compared to the 335i sedan, BMW maintained a front-to-rear weight distribution of 51-49.  Turn-in is excellent and the handling and control don’t seem to suffer at all from the additional weight.

The unique combination of sports-car acceleration with exemplary fuel economy was something we noted in our Three-Month Review and this sets the BMW 335d apart from the other diesel-powered autos available in the U.S. We expect, however, that the 335d will have some company within the next eight to ten months.  BMW of North America will soon import a 5er Series diesel and, if it’s the 535d, as many suspect, it will join the 335d in providing this unique type of Freude am Fahren.

Indeed, the 535d goes from 0-100 km (0-62 mph) in just 5.7 seconds (faster than the 335d, which travels the same distance in six seconds) and uses just 6.1 l/100 km (38.5 mpg) in the European combined test cycle (less fuel than the 335d, which uses 6.7 l/100 km (35 mpg) in the same test).

Comparing for a moment the two 335 3er Series, the 335i is definitely a bit quicker off the line: 0-60 mph is 5.6 seconds, while the 335d takes 6.0 seconds to travel the same distance.  The 335d, however, produces 425 pound-feet of torque between 1750 and 2250 rpm compared to the 335i’s 300 pound-feet between 1400 and 5000.  The 335d’s massive amount of torque is available for overtaking on demand and can propel the car to from 80 km/h (50 mph) to 130 km/h (80 mph) in what feels like a split second.  Click here to continue to Page 2.

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