by Frank S. Washington
DETROIT (NNPA)—I just wrapped up a one-week test drive of one of the slickest low profile sedans around—the BMW 335d.
Most important is that “d” stands for diesel. And despite the rather low grade U.S. reputation of oil burners as they are called in this country, my admiration for diesel engines grows every time I drive one.
|The 335d Sedan features BMW Advanced Diesel technology with BluePerformance for maximum output.
In the case of the BMW 335d, it adheres to the Munich-based automaker’s brand image of powerfully precise and responsive premium priced automobiles.
First the facts: The 335d was powered by an inline 3.0 liter six cylinder sequential twin turbocharged diesel engine that was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It made 265 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque at an impressively low 1750 rpms.
What that means is that the engine could power the 335d to 60 mph from a standing start in a very brisk six seconds flat. And because of the low initiation of maximum torque, that type of acceleration was on hand from just about any speed. That was important when I needed to step it up on Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway or the Motor City’s Lodge Freeway.
In city driving, I did feel the extra heft of the 335d whenever the suspension springs and shocks were forced to deeply compress. The 335d is from about 220 to 460 pounds heavier than other 3 Series models, depending on equipment, because of the engine weight. But the car in no way felt cumbersome and you really have to know your Bimmers to notice the extra pounds.
From my door to the door of my Windy City destination was 279 miles. The numbers said I burned half a tank of diesel fuel to get there. I topped off the tank once I arrived; diesel fuel was $2.99 per gallon in Indiana where fuel of any type is always cheaper than in Chicago. That cost me $32 and change.
I burned another half a tank of diesel fuel returning here. In other words, I drove about 590 miles on one tank of diesel fuel. That’s awfully acceptable to me. The 335d had an EPA fuel efficiency rating of 23 mpg in the city and 36 on the hwy.
Years ago, a guy told me that BMW makes the best seats in the industry. The set in the 335d was good, comfortable and adjustable. It makes a difference when on a long drive and the trip to Chicago took the better part of four hours. Yet, when I got out of the car I wasn’t stiff or tired partly due to the seats.
My test car did not have a navigation system, it didn’t have satellite radio and it didn’t have Bluetooth. Still, I didn’t feel a lack. What’s more, I really came to appreciate the horizontal layout of my BMW’s interior.
BMW’s 3 Series was a compact car yet my test vehicle felt spaciously wide. Width is, real or perceived, how designers convey a feeling of space and they’ve done an excellent job at BMW. My 335d felt like I was sitting in somebody’s living room.
Even more surprising was the amount of head and leg room in the back seat. A lot of the rear seats of compact sedans are a little cramped but that wasn’t the case with my test vehicle. There was plenty of rear seat room.
There were two large gauges in front of me. One was the speedometer with MPH and KPH with the fuel gauge at the bottom. The other pod held the RPM gauge with the MPG needle at the bottom.
The center stack was wide enough to convey width but not tall enough to convey height. And it was simple: audio controls were on top and climate controls were on the bottom. There was no iDrive (mouse to control the controls) and that was a good thing. Sometimes it is better to keep it simple.
A strip of burled walnut running the width of the dash again made the 3 Series seem wider. The interior was light beige which again gave an airy feeling. The car was a blazing red with low profile tires. The Bimmer looked good.
My test vehicle was based priced at $43,950. But there was $7,375 worth of options that included a cold weather package and a sport package. Thus, the total came to $51,325.
But diesel engines are just about indestructible. In other words, with proper maintenance, you’ll get rid of your BMW 335d when you choose.
(Frank S. Washington is managing partner/editor of AboutThatCar.com and AboutThatCarBlog.com.)