2011 BMW 335d sedanEnlarge Photo
BMW’s 3-Series has been at the top of any enthusiast’s shopping list of sporting sedans. With tidy aesthetics, fabulous chassis dynamics, enviable drivetrain choices and luxury cachet, the 3-Series is a world-beater year in and year out.
Last year BMW began bringing its turbodiesel option to the U.S. market, giving us the 335d model. This sedan features a 3.0-liter, 24-valve, DOHC in-line six-cylinder turbodiesel with common rail direct injection. Using an aluminum block, the 335d engine makes 265 horsepower at 4200 rpm and grunts out 425 lb-ft of torque from 1750 rpm – with a 5000-rpm engine redline.
This delectable and controllable engine – one that has a diesel-like hum at idle and a throaty roar from its dual pipes at full song – is paired to a six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission that allows shifting through the gearbox lever and paddles on the sport steering wheel that is part of the sport package. (No manual shifter is available for the turbodiesel, and that’s a shame because BMW’s manuals are amongst the best.)
Driving a diesel these days is all about being “green” – and driving this diesel around brings that to the fore. Diesel is an excellent way to keep the environment clean and with fuel mileage figures of 23/36-mpg from the 16.1-gallon tank, there is no reason in the world why driver and four passengers can’t travel from Long Beach to San Francisco, easily on a single tank, arriving in comfort and style.
The sportiness of the rear-wheel-drive BMW 335d turbodiesel sedan is unfettered – and it sure makes going “green” an exciting proposition. It’s not necessary to give up anything – other than more frequent trips to the fuel station – in order to drive a BMW.
Driving a diesel doesn’t mean one needs to give up any creature comforts and the fuel scent is not invasive through the cleanly cut panels of the 3-Series sedan. No need to give up BMW performance either with corporate stated 0-60 times of six seconds flat. Where the 335d really shines is in its overtaking capabilities – getting around slower traffic has never been easier. Or quicker.
Add to that the firm, but not jarring suspension of double pivot-type front and dual forged-aluminum rear with anti-roll bars, all-wheel ventilated anti-lock brakes with dynamic brake control, brake drying and standby features, brake fade compensation that goes along with dynamic stability control and this is a package that keeps any driver feeling like a competent soul.
With its Bridgestone Potenza 255/35R tires riding on twinned 7-spoke 18-inch alloy rims (also part of the sport package), the look is low but certainly not slow. The 335d feels nimble, weighing a relatively lithe 3825 pounds – and has the athletic prowess to back up the purposeful looks.
This is also a very safe machine, with the requisite front, side and head curtain (four) airbags that are necessary in this day and age, together with a tire pressure monitoring system. BMW rates four stars for frontal crash resistance, five stars in a side crash and four stars for rollover protection from the government. The solid construction of this BMW adds to its passive and active safety and consistent door seams are near jewel-like.