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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|2010 BMW 335d Review
By Anson Tse
“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. “
|Jlevi Steetwerks BMW 335i project car – Enter the dragon
By Derek Mau
“It’s a joy to drive, we love the volume, the bumpiness isn’t bad at all with the current suspension settings, and there are ZERO error codes.”
|2008 BMW 335i Sedan Review
By Twain Mein
“Carving mountain passes demonstrated the lack of body roll and tremendous power of the engine. The car truly dances through the curves…”
|The official BMW of North America website – www.bmwusa.com|
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