The BMW 335d is a diesel-burning luxury mid-size sedan. Originally released in 2009, this car has garnered breathless reviews. It’s apparently a lot of fun to drive. Unfortunately, 2011 will be the last production year for this car, as BMW makes way for its next generation of the 3-series. Apart from a new Sport package and better stereo equipment, the car has remained the same since 2009. All the reviews mentioned are for 2009, except for Automobile’s, which covers 2010.
MotorTrend is practically panting when its review starts: “Prepare to have your prejudices shattered and your perceptions altered. Prepare to relearn everything you thought you knew about performance cars. Prepare to drive the 2009 BMW 335d.”
What drives every red-blooded reviewer crazy is the 335d’s engine, which MotorTrend describes as “a twin-turbo, 3.0L straight-six that delivers 265 hp… and a thumping 425 lb-ft of torque between 1750 and 2250 rpm.” It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, going from 0 to 60 mph in six seconds. And, because it’s a diesel, fuel efficiency is 23 mpg city and 36 mpg on the highway.
MotorTrend says that the 335d is “a totally different kind of drive” than its gas-burning stablemates in the 3 series:
“Forget the silken rush of power and the marvelous top-end bite you’ve always gotten from a BMW inline-six — the 335d’s twin-turbo diesel growls like Tom Waits gargling Irish Cream and produces a tidal wave of torque from just over 1000 rpm. Squeeze the pedal, and the 335d makes an elastic lunge for the horizon, the transmission shifting early to surf the torque. It doesn’t sound like you’re going fast. But you are.”
To meet US emissions standards, MotorTrend says that the 335d comes with an “advanced exhaust gas recirculation system and a urea injection system that works with a special catalyst to neutralize NOx emissions.” Urea change comes standard with regular service on your car.
MotorTrend’s assessment is that “the BMW 335d is going to surprise a lot of people.” As we’ll see, MotorTrend and its pack of power enthusiasts won’t be the only ones singing the 335d’s praises.
Car and Driver starts out discussing the price of the 335d, compared to the 335i (gasoline version). The base for the 335d is around $44,000 and even after tax breaks its around $1500 more expensive than the 335i. And while the 335d gets better gas mileage, they say diesel fuel is more expensive than premium gasoline (however as of August 2011, national diesel and premium prices are just about even).
They conclude that the most compelling reason to buy the 335d is torque, saying “the 335d generates enough to affect the rotation of the earth… Touch the throttle, and that tidal wave of torque thrusts the 335d forward like a barrel going over Niagara.”
C&D praises the 335d’s standard 3-series traits like “precise steering, eager responses, supple ride,” but is much more interested in heaping praise in this car’s off-the-line-punch. They go so far as to compare it to classic muscle cars.
C&D does note some downsides, saying “For one, this car isn’t as quiet as its gasoline counterparts, particularly when cold. For another, there’s the urea injection deal.” C&D calls refilling the urea “a hassle and a minor expense.” On the other hand, they can’t get away from this car’s power. Their conclusion? “Torque will set you free.”
Mentioning performance and fuel economy, Automobile says that “in the 335d, perhaps more so than any other car on the road, you get both.”
The 3-series cars, Automobile explains “display an athleticism that has seduced one test driver after another… The diesel is no different – steering, brakes, suspension, all the BMW good stuff is here.”
They call the automatic transmission “a perfectly suited partner” to the engine. “It’s not like you have to keep the revs up to get the most out of this engine,” Automobile says. “Unlike some diesels, the BMW six continues to pull impressively all the way up the rev range.”
Automobile mentions a few options not available with the diesel version of the 335, including manual transmission, all-wheel drive, and a 2-door coupe body style. But the 335d “spanks” the competition on fuel economy, which is a big plus.
Autoblog notes that with the price of diesel trending right along with gasoline, that maybe fuel savings aren’t what makes this car a great buy. It sides with all the other reviewers in underscoring performance.
They call the 335d “torquetastic.” It “harbors the stones of a muscle car – or a full-size pickup.”
Autoblog also notes that the he 335d “feels more at home piling up miles on the interstate than its octaned-up stablemates, where it can lope along effortlessly, its gargantuan passing power just a throttle-tickle away.” The smoothness of the ride, they say, makes the speed that you can achieve “nearly impossible to appreciate.” At speed, the engine noise is nearly “non-existent.”
The range of 525+ miles possible in this car, with its generous fuel economy, Autoblog rates as “Kegel muscle-straining.” Autoblog also loved the “rock-solid chassis, progressive, drama-free brakes and tight, linear rack-and-pinion steering.”
Autoblog doesn’t care for the interior. “This sedan’s cabin is getting on a bit,” they say. “Color and trim choices are restrained and rather somber, there’s too much hard (if well-grained) plastic, and the pop-out cupholders are about as accommodating as the warden at Sing Sing. In fact, the whole interior generally feels style-free.” They like the iDrive control on the center-stack, which resembles a mouse that navigates the car’s display.
They call the 335d “a substantial improvement in fuel economy and a motoring style all its own… It paves its own way to driving excitement.”