2010 BMW 335d Review – Clean and efficient MPG in the ultimate driving package

Friday June 25th, 2010 at 1:66 PM
Posted by: anson

Performance
The all aluminum 3.0 liter DOHC inline 6 is fed by two Borg Warner turbochargers supplying the air and a high pressure common rail shooting diesel fuel through piezoelectric injectors directly into each cylinder. BMW injects a urea solution to reduce NOx emissions allowing this engine to be 50 state legal. The first turbo is a smaller unit which allows faster spool up, essential under low rpm conditions when there is not much air flowing through the exhaust. The larger second turbo is fed directly from the first and further increases the boost. By precisely injecting the fuel into the cylinder, the engine is able to more completely burn the mixture improving emissions while generating an astounding level of torque. This is the state of the art diesel technology at work.

An onboard tank stores the urea solution to reduce the harmful NOx emissions to acceptable levels. The urea solution must be replenished every other oil change or else the car will automatically stop working to help save the planet. It’s a decent idea, but hopefully no one gets caught by surprise.  Apparently this engine meets the qualifications for a $900 federal motor vehicle tax credit for its advanced lean burn technology.

2010 BMW 335d sedan

This engine produces 265 HP and 425 pound-feet of torque with ease. However, when installed in this 3825 pound sedan, it still takes 5.8 seconds to go from 0-60 and 14.2 seconds for the quarter mile. These numbers are actually not very impressive given such a huge amount of torque available, a V6 Honda Accord is nearly as fast.

There is absolutely no doubt that the 335d is a fast vehicle, but vehicles with far less torque can lay down these numbers. The engine simply doesn’t produce enough horsepower to maintain the pace of acceleration above 30 MPH like the 335i or other gasoline powered vehicles. Having driven a variety of European diesels before, I do agree that the 335d is the only diesel engine out there that can put out a worthy performance yet maintain fuel economy in the 30′s.

Throttle response on tip in is not what I expected from BMW, I have to attribute this to boost lag from the sequential turbos or BMW meddling with the calibration to preserve either the drivetrain or emissions quality. The bottom line is that there does not seem to be 425 pound-feet of torque working to propel the vehicle forward. The engine is not as smooth as you what you may expect from the gasoline powered inline 6; there is a bit of coarseness in the lower RPMs.

BMW 3-series 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission

The 335d is only available with the 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with Adaptive Transmission Control. The clutch setup required to handle that much torque was probably not worth the engineering work required for such low volumes. Shift quality is superb, upshifts and downshifts are virtually imperceptible.

Metal shift paddles mounted to the sides of the steering wheel were a separate $100 option that allows manual shifting of the transmission in addition to tapping the console mounted shifter. When manually commanding the shifts, there was some delay in executing the shifts. A further letdown was not being able to hold the car in a particular gear so not much engine braking is possible. The car performs an automatic shift which really deters spirited and aggressive driving. This level of transmission calibration might be expected in other competitive vehicles, but this behavior does not befit BMW’s description of the ultimate driving machine, especially one equipped with an optional sport package.

2010 BMW 335d sedan

Handling
The BMW 3-series is perhaps the best handling sedan on the market. I would best describe the handling as agile and firmly planted, but never bulky or overweight. Steering effort is well weighted and perfectly communicates to the driver what is going on with the front wheels at all times. The brakes are solid and have a linear feel that inspires confidence.

The solid chassis and firm suspension provide terrific feedback in all driving conditions. This vehicle was equipped with the optional Sport package with firmer shocks and lower profile tires, so the ride is a bit more on the firm side. Most bumps and road imperfections are soaked up by the suspension. However, while I was driving down a concrete stretch of Interstate 280, I did feel quite a bit of secondary vibration from the expansion joints in the road. I’ve driven dozens of different cars on this stretch of road and the tuning of the 335d didn’t quite isolate me from those road inputs. Overall, few manufactures have been able to match BMW in balancing sporty handling and comfortable ride. This car is perfectly home on the tight twisty mountain roads and you quickly remember why this is the ultimate driving machine.

2010 BMW 335d sedan

Value
The base level 335i starts at $40,600 and the diesel engine essentially turns that into a 335d, which starts at $43,950. This tester were also came equipped with the $2,150 Sport package which adds 18” wheels and performance tires, sport steering wheel, suspension tuning, sport seats, and shadowline exterior trim. Park distance control added $750, and the comfort access keyless entry added $500. The total sticker for this particular 335d came out to a hefty $51,875, which further makes me question whether or not some of the options are overpriced.

The 335d is not a high performance upgrade over the 335i nor an overall value play. Considering the $3,350 price premium for this diesel engine and that diesel fuel sometimes costs more than regular gasoline, you may never recoup the additional costs over the standard engine. However, it can still get you from point A to point B quicker since it is much more fuel efficient. One also has to consider the environmental effects that clean diesel brings, but few Americans may have that vision when it comes to shelling out this much for a diesel powered luxury sports sedan.

BMW 335d instrument cluster

Who should buy it?

The 335d is really for someone who was going to buy a 3-series or one of its competitors anyways and decided that diesel might be a good alternative for them. I don’t see anyone choosing this for its non-existent performance benefits. Similarly the economic benefits are not there either–other vehicles offer better fuel economy like a VW Jetta TDI or a variety of hybrids. The person buying this will seek out the fact that this handles like a true BMW, offers good performance, and delivers more efficiency than a conventional 3-series.

Conclusion
BMW’s 3.0 diesel inline six is really a world class engine and certainly advances diesel technology. However, I’m not fully convinced that I would choose this particular engine, especially since the gasoline powered 335i is such a great vehicle in every regard and it’s cheaper. There’s a lot of hype out there regarding the performance of the 335d, but this is no M3 (or 335i for that matter). Just because the 335d makes more torque than a Camaro SS or Challenger SRT8, you will be embarrassed if you try to take on either of them as they will blow your doors off.

BUILD INTERIOR PERFORMANCE HANDLING STYLING VALUE OVERALL
RATING 4.5 4.8 4.0 5.0 4.5 3.5 4.0/B


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6 Responses to 2010 BMW 335d Review – Clean and efficient MPG in the ultimate driving package

  1. 335D says:

    I’ve had my 335d for a year. The freeway mileage is incredible. I drove from LA to Las Vegas and got 75.5 mpg. Have pictures to prove it.

  2. Tim says:

    I leased a 2010 335d about 6 weeks ago and have been in love ever since. The 2010 replaces a 2007 328xi coupe and there really is no comparison. We visited my son at Fort Knox and drove the car 1,000+ miles – mainly highway and some city and averaged 34.8 mpg overall. It will only get better. This one is a keeper.

  3. Flyingman says:

    I am curious if the author has any other diesel engine experience. Detroit would not be considered a great place to get it from.

    People who consider and eventually purchase a 335d have generally done their homework in this regard, and usually have an extensive history with diesel engines, so understand the advancements made by BMW engineers with the 335d.

    Suggest any reader giving serious consideration for a diesel engine car, research all of the reviews and comments out there.

  4. Karl says:

    reviewer cant figure out how to manually shift the veh– put it in DS mode with the joy stick and then use the paddle shifters and the veh is then in M mode and will hold gears just as designed to do.

    as to fuel costs, comparing the 335d diesel costs to regular grade gas is misleading, the 335i requires premium and diesel usually runs less per gallon than premium gas so you get the double savings of less per gallon combined with more miles per gallon Roughly 30% more miles per gallon in real world driving.

    the veh isnt an M it isnt supposed to be, its supposed to be and is one of the finest real world daily drving vehs you can own. please name another veh on the planet with as good of performance and as good of economy combined with emmisisons that make it one of the cleanest cars on the road, and this all wrapped up in the class leading 3 series body for handling and interior comfort.

    as other more complete reviews have stated the 335d is down (slightly) on straight line performance to its gas powered sibling (335i) but that 425lb ft of tq makes itsself known on the track where its grunt powering out of corners garnered it a faster (slightly) lap time. Take the 335d down a tight twisty road and it will put a huge smile on your face rocketing from curve to curve.

  5. Steve says:

    For some reason the writer mentions the $900 tax credit but does not mention the $4500 eco-credit that has been offered by BMW for over a year, and which makes the 335d less expensive than a gasoline 335i. I’m also not sure why he compares the cost of diesel fuel to regular unleaded gasoline (diesel is quite a bit cheaper than 91 octane). I do wonder how much time the writer was actually able to spend driving the car. Some of the concerns about horsepower, 0-60 splits, and manually shifting the automatic transmission look like issues on paper but don’t play out when you drive the car. I engine brake down a steep hill every day just fine. I’ve only driven my car 2000 miles (including 680 miles in Germany), and am convinced the 335d is one of the best all-around vehicles ever produced (fuel economy, performance, comfort, and value). If I wanted to track a car I might buy something else.

  6. Peter Anastopulos says:

    Love this car hate the price which is so over the top.Audi and Mercedes prices there Diesel cars at or under there Petrol versions.So what gives?





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