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2009 BMW 335d - Back To The Future

2009 BMW 335d

Les Bidrawn
Jan 7, 2010
Photographer: Henry Z. De Kuyper

At a Glance Plus + Excellent seats, great ride comfort, mind-blowing acceleration, thrifty fuel bill

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Minus - Smallish trunk

Total mileage: 11,383

And at the end of the day, that's what the BMW 335d is. It's a hotrod oil-burner, a diety among diesels. Although we expound on its fuel economy, the car will kick serious ass at the drop of a hat. Show me another vehicle that can do that, and do it with the grace and style of a BMW.

Fuel Ecomnomy: 32 mpg

We had a goth kid working here a while back. Festooned in black jeans and t-shirts, he spent the better part of every morning crying. I guess that's part of the goth mystique. It's romantic or something.

In truth, I don't think this dude knew why he did what he did. For some unexplainable reason, he thought it was cool.

I see the same thing happening with hybrid cars. Currently the darling of the "two-minute media," hybrids have become something of a fashion accessory. Pulling up in a Toyota Prius at your movie premiere is a great way to tell everyone how much you care about the Earth. Forget about the pesky batteries going to seed... you'll cross that expensive bridge when you get there.

It's enough to make an engineer wince.

BMW has been quietly developing its diesel technology for decades. The company has essentially re-written the diesel rules, developing cars both clean and efficient that could replace hybrids and electric cars. Moreover, a BMW diesel will run circles around the best hybrid, and the driver will have more fun while doing so.

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Our BMW 335d is a genuine sport sedan. I can say that without the least hesitation, as its 425 lb-ft of torque will snap head with the slightest provocation. The looks from startled passengers is typically punctuated with: "This thing is a diesel? Really?" Yes, it's really a diesel, part of the new breed that's fighting hard to overcome the American public's conception of the old oil-burner.

Troy, our former head of IT, recently purchased a BMW 135i. I helped him spec it out and even threw in a set of Nitto NT05 tires. It's been a great car for him, both exceeding quick and a fantastic handler.

I let Troy drive the 335d for a day. Like most IT dudes, he's addicted to his BlackBerry and messages constantly. I figured I'd be getting a stoplight-to-stoplight description of his entire day, from burnouts to shift points.

I got a single text eight hours later... :)

That single, stupid smiley face spoke volumes.

"If I had been offered a diesel option, I would have taken it instantly," he told me later. "I never realized turbodiesels were this much fun."

Perhaps the most impressive part of the BMW 335d is how perfectly it replaces its gas-powered counterparts. There's not one ounce of compromise in this car. Its acceleration, braking and handling are exceptional. That it runs on cheaper fuel makes it that much more incredible.

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I had to ferry my daughter 450 miles north for her first semester of college. Like most women, she had more gear than my three boys combined. We needed something big like Mom's Suburban. Equipped with four-wheel drive, 21-inch wheels and three rows of rear seats, the Suburban could have done the job, but at a sizable price. It costs more than a hundred bucks to fill the tank and it typically goes through a gallon of gas every 14 miles. We would need at least 2.5 tanks. Ouchie

The alternative was taking two cars: the VW Jetta TDI and BMW 335d. After doing the math we came out ahead nearly $90; moreover, I could duck out before the wife started weeping about "her baby girl." I figured she'd need about four extra hours before she let go.

Sure, I misted up. And then it was over. The kid is going to have a great time and I'm gonna be broke for the next four years. Time to go home.

With the cruise control set at 78 mph, the 335d averaged 32 mpg. Just before heading up the I-5 Grapevine, I pulled out a wad of crumpled bills (ones mostly) and bought five gallons of low-sulphur diesel. I found myself doing the math: 5 x 32 = 160. I could make it home with 40 miles to spare. Not bad for a high-performance BMW.

By Les Bidrawn
242 Articles



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