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2009 BMW 335d - Poster Child

Long-Term Update

Les Bidrawn
Apr 8, 2010
Photographer: Henry Z. De Kuyper

At a Glance

Plus +
Awesome sport seats, superb manners, way too fast

Minus -
Way too fast

Epcp_1005_03_o+2009_bmw_335d+rear_passenger_side Photo 2/5   |   2009 BMW 335d - Poster Child

Total mileage:

Fuel Ecomnomy:

I'd trade the last of my pocket change for a few gallons of diesel. But today I've literally got two cents to my name, cheerfully jingling in my pocket. What the hell can you buy for a penny anyway? A whole lot of nothing, that's what. Disgusted, I throw them in the street. Maybe some kid will find them and it'll brighten his day.

This two gallons of diesel will need to last a while. If I'm careful, I can wrest 39 mpg from the 335d. To do that I will need to time stoplights, accelerate smoothly and stay off boost. Driving this way isn't very exciting but it is better than walking, especially in wet SoCal weather.

The 335d is working with me. It knows all my cash is spoken for so it's going to make each drop of fuel count. I love this car for being so understanding. It knows it's capable of much greater things but now is not the time for play. Now is time to buckle down and simply get the job done. We've got two gallons of diesel, man; let's make every drop count.

We've railed on the virtues of diesel for years now. The BMW's 335d could be the poster child of new diesel technology. Here is a car that asks you to give up nothing and yet returns butt-kicking performance, efficiency and comfort. This is an oil-burner capable of charming even the staunchest petrolhead

While the staff is smitten with the 335d, a few have had difficulty locating a diesel-serving station. Some have had to drive a whole half-mile to find fuel even. That's pretty much the extent of the gripe log. The rest of it is punctuated with terms like "monster torque"; "god-like twist"; and "hugely quick." Hard to believe such words would describe a diesel.

Epcp_1005_01_o+2009_bmw_335d+side Photo 3/5   |   2009 BMW 335d - Poster Child

We've been especially happy with the sport seats, part of the Sport Package ($2,150). They provide great lateral support with adjustable side wings and "wrap around" the driver. A few of our plus-size friends have mentioned getting prodded by the seat side wings. Larger people might want to avoid these seats as they provide only so much lateral spread.

The 335d illuminates its door grabs for fumble-free night departures. This became especially handy when our parking garage lost power. You can't appreciate true darkness until you're three stories underground. Moreover, the keyless ignition means no more frantic pocket diving for lost keys. Simply touch the door and the car unlocks and is ready to go with an illuminated starter button and interior. Perhaps the only problem with keyless activation is the possibility of leaving the car running. And with a car as quiet as the 335d, that's easier than you'd think.

The iDrive-activated navigation system ($2,100) is a breeze to operate. I even taught my Luddite father-in-law how to use it. I find this interesting, as the first generation of BMW iDrive scared him off the 7 Series. He wound up getting a Mercedes S-Class; why, I still know not. Its COMAND system is more byzantine than BMW's. I suppose it doesn't matter, because he prefers his Dodge work truck anyway.

We've had a few warning messages from the 335d. Both the tire pressure and oil level sensors told us to check levels. Turns out they were correct. We used to simply ignore such things as they were mostly false alarms. Not anymore.

Epcp_1005_04_o+2009_bmw_335d+seats Photo 4/5   |   2009 BMW 335d - Poster Child

During a recent 500-mile trip, I tapped out in the passenger seat and let the wife drive. In full recline, I nodded off while tunes from the satellite radio drifted over the stereo.

At speed, the twin-turbodiesel engine produces faint, low-frequency vibrations, a kind of trance-inducing white noise. I slept like a baby. I woke to a flashlight in the face and the unmistakable phrase "license and registration please." Lisa was getting a ticket. I pretended to be asleep while the officer did his thing. She was doing 93 mph in a 70-mph zone. A few bats of the eyelashes and her big, white smile reduced it to 79 in a 70 zone. As the cop pulled away, Lisa unleashed a string of profanity that's still resonating through Paso Robles. Apparently, it was the BMW's fault. It's too fast and too quiet and breaches the speed limit way too easy.

Epcp_1005_05_o+2009_bmw_335d+controls Photo 5/5   |   2009 BMW 335d - Poster Child

"This damn car wants to go 120 mph all the time," she fumed. "It's not my fault... it's the car."

Not exactly a glowing review, but we've heard worse.

By Les Bidrawn
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