BMW 335d 18-Month Report and Review

By Paul Riegler on 1 June 2011
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Year two with the BMW 335d is well underway.  It’s hard to imagine that it’s been 18 months since our Montegoblau metallic 335d was delivered at the BMW Welt in Munich but the car has not only ventured to multiple countries and continents but it has endeared itself to its many drivers and passengers not to mention thousands of readers of The Diesel Driver.

While the unusually snowy winter in New York resulted in the cancellation of several longer driving trips, the 335d did quite well in the snow, thanks in part to the Pirelli Winter 210 Sottozero winter performance tires.  In a 12-month period, the 335d drove to Lindau, Berchtesgaden, Roßfeld, and Graz before being shipped to the U.S.  More recenty, it’s been to Philadelphia, the Poconos, and New England. It even made it to Lime Rock Park’s track.

Few if any passengers have guessed it’s a diesel although many have commented on the car’s power.  The 425 pound-feet of torque is not only fun but has come in handy many times over.

What’s more significant is the car’s fuel economy.   On highway trips, we continued to see excellent results.  Across all such trips, the car achieved 6.5 l/100 km (36.18 mpg).  In more local driving, which is all the 335d has done since the onset of winter, the figures were 9.0 l/100 km (26.13 mpg).  (The EPA rating is 23 mpg city/36 mpg highway and the equivalent petrol model, the BMW 335i, is rated at 17 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. This means that the 335d uses 5 l/100 km LESS in city driving, which translates to 35% better fuel economy.  The 335d also uses 1.9 l /100 km less in highway driving, which is 22% better than the 335i.)

The best sustained fuel economy we’ve recorded was 40 mpg (5.9 l/100 km), although we’ve seen as high as 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) for brief periods of time.  On a drive from Philadelphia to New York, the 335d used 6.0 l/100 km (39.2 mpg) with an average speed of 65 mph (105 km/h).

In the 18 months since taking delivery, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, oil prices have climbed from roughly $69 per barrel on the spot market to as much as $115 in April of this year.  The price is currently $99 per barrel.

Gasoline prices have been over four dollars in many parts of the U.S. for months now.   The price per gallon of gasoline remained under three dollars for almost all last year and only started climbing slightly above the three dollar mark in December.

In lockstep, the price per gallon of diesel fuel has gone from $2.77 (December 2009) to a current average of $4.06

Diesel still costs more in many areas: we paid $4.53/gallon 10 days ago and premium was ten cents per gallon less although gasbuddy.com is reporting at least one filling station nearby where diesel costs two cents less than premium.

Earlier this year, readers of The Diesel Driver named the BMW 335d the 2011 Diesel Car of the Year.  In presenting the award to BMW at the 2011 New York Auto Show, editor Jonathan Spira commented that “The BMW 335d combines exemplary fuel economy, sports car handling, and passenger comfort in a single package.”   Everyone who has driven the 335d finds it extremely entertaining to drive – and the fuel economy that comes without impacting performance is a distinct bonus.

In 2010, sales of the 335d started off with 131 units in January and closed with a strong 425 units in December.  The comparable model take rate for the year was very high as well: almost half of new car buyers (46.5% to be exact) chose a 335d over the equivalent petrol-engine 335i.   We think they made the right choice.