BMW 335d Six-Month Test Report and Review

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THE 335D DRIVING EXPERIENCE

We continue to marvel over the driving experience of the 335d.  At the heart of this experience is what BMW calls Sequential Twin Turbo Technology, more commonly referred to as twin turbos.  The small turbocharger is optimized for quick throttle response at low engine speeds, where it develops boost and extra power, responding to even the slightest movement of the accelerator.  As the engine speed increases, the second, larger turbocharger comes online as well and both turbos work together.  At higher engine speeds, boost comes exclusively from the larger turbo, which is where the maximum torque of 425 pound-feet at 1750 rpm comes from.

Despite its power, the 335d is cleaner, exhaust-wise, than most cars on the road.  BMW utilizes urea (AdBlue in BMW speak) injection in the exhaust to reduce nitrous-oxide emissions.  This system works in conjunction with a diesel particulate filter that allowed the 335d to meet emissions requirements in all 50 states.   In terms of carbon dioxide, the 335d emits 174 g/km versus the 335i’s 202 g/km.  BMW includes urea refills in the BMW Ultimate Service program that provides free maintenance for the first four years of ownership or 50,000 miles.   It’s important to note that the 335d has sacrificed very little in terms of storage space despite the additional diesel and emissions technology.

Speaking of diesel fuel, unlike in Austria and Germany, not every filling station in the U.S. has it (the percentage varies by region but my experience tells me that about 60% of stations I’ve seen have it).  This hasn’t proven to be a problem, however, as BMW Online will not only identify nearby stations with diesel but provide current pricing and turn-by-turn directions.

Ownership for the first six months has been trouble free.  The only time the car had to visit the BMW workshop was when we mounted winter tires and wheels this past January.  The 2010 flat tire monitor sensors (we found out) are incompatible with earlier sensors, so this resulted in an error message that was quickly diagnosed.  We opted to run with the older sensors and ignore the error message for a few months since the winter tires had already been mounted and balanced on the wheels.

Other than that, the only other maintenance was to swap tires. The Pirelli Winter 210 Sottozero winter performance tires came off the car in April and on came the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires that the car was delivered with.  The PS2s were almost brand new as we ran the car on Goodyear Ultra Grip winter tires in Germany and immediately fitted the Pirellis upon the car’s arrival in the States.

Car enthusiasts are noticing the BMW 335d and sales are up appreciably.  In the first six months of 2010, 41% of buyers chose the 335d versus the 335i with sales of 1544 units.  In April and again in June 2010, the BMW 335d outsold the 335i by a ratio of 6 to 5 and 7 to 5 respectively.

Driving the 335d has been a very satisfying and entertaining exercise over the past six months.  Despite the vast number of incredible cars I have driven since getting the 335d (an average of one per week, ranging from the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid and the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 to the Audi A3 TDI to the Honda Fit), nothing puts a smile on my face the way this one does.

Correction: 16 August 2010
An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that the BMW 335d delivered “over 50% better fuel economy.”  The BMW 335d actually delivered over 33% better fuel economy.

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