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BMW, 335d, 2010: The Weekly Driver Car Review

BMW, 335d, 2010: The Weekly Driver Car Review 1Diesel vehicles continue to be a hard sell in the United States. But if there’s one car that could and should catapult sales, it’s the 2010 BMW 335d.

The 2009 version I drove six months ago attracted a lot of attention. Some onlookers didn’t know a BMW diesel was available in the United States. Other car enthusiasts wondered what the odd exterior promotional decals were all about.

Little has changed with the 2010 model, the second year of car in this country. Officially, there’s only one change. The 2010 model has HD radio. But the promotional decals are long gone, replaced by a BMW strong point, exterior paint colors and a well-coordinated interior.

BMW, 335d, 2010: The Weekly Driver Car Review 2
Beyond its still-unique status as a diesel sports sedan (it’s the first 50-state-legal diesel), the 2010 BMW 335d attracted its share of attention not as a diesel. Rather, it was because of its handsome exterior color (Tasman Green Metallic) perfectly matched with its leather interior (Saddle Brown).

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Most of the major car publications have selected the vehicle on best-of-the-year lists, and what’s to argue? Is there another high performance, luxury sports sedan on the market that’s rated at 36 mph and has a base sticker price just under $44,000?

BMW, 335d, 2010: The Weekly Driver Car Review 3
The BMW is even more impressive considering its vitals: Rear-wheel drive, 3.0-liter, twin turbo, inline six-cylinder, 265 horsepower, six-speed automatic transmission,  0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds.

Standard safety features: six airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with adaptive brakelights, bi-xenon headlights, active head restraints, electronic traction and stability control, run-flat tires.

The Weekly Driver’s Ratings

First Impressions: Look at the car. Is there a more handsome sedan on the market? The lines are precise (It’s German, right?), and it just looks like a high performance sedan should look.

Acceleration (7)
What’s four-tenths of a second? That’s the difference between the traditional gas and slightly slower diesel editions. And 6.0 seconds for the diesel model is hardly pedestrian. Maybe drivers with uber-keen hearing can hear the diesel engine “ping”during acceleration, but I couldn’t. The 335d doesn’t seem like it moves quickly, but it does.

Braking/Steering/Handling (7)
They’re all fortes of the manufacturer. Tight (adjustable) steering requires an adjustment after adventures not-too-dissimilar from  upper-body stretching workouts. Cornering is smooth and confident, braking is firm.

Cargo Room (5)
The 335d’s cargo area measures 12 cubic feet, which reflects the sedan’s compact dimensions. The trunk opening is large considering the overall car dimensions, and luggage and groceries are easily handled. Storage bins and cupholders are adequate.

Controls (6)
Straight-forward letters, nicely illuminated during night. The iDrive system has been improved. Controls and functionality of coordinating climate, audio, etc., are much better. A lay person can now understand the system.

Details (6)
Restyled hood, headlights and front bumper give the BMW a cleaner, streamlined look. The state-of-the-art  particulate filter and exhaust after-treatment system sprays AdBlue (urea) into the exhaust, making ammonia. The ammonia acts as a neutralizing agent, changing harmful nitric oxides into water and nitrogen that meets the diesel standards throughout the country.

Front Seats (6)
Typical of BMW, the seats ride a little low and they’re not the easiest to enter or exit. But they are comfortable and help soften the manufacturer’s reputation for a stiff ride.

Fuel Economy (9)
A twin-turbo, 3.0L straight-six delivers 265 horsepower with 0-60 mph speed in 6.0 seconds and with 23 mpg (city) and 36 mpg (hwy) averages. Remember, it’s a diesel. That’s impressive.

Quietness (7)
Can’t help but defer to the MotorTrend reviewer who wrote an epic line: “The 335d’s twin-turbo diesel growls like Tom Waits gargling Irish Cream.” Perfect.

Rear Seats (4)
Hard and nowhere near as comfortable as the front seats. Like other midsized sedans, the front seats get extra attention, the rear seats get shunned. The standard rear seat is fixed, with a 60/40 split rear-seat an additional $475 or as part of a $1,500 cold-weather package.

Ride Quality (7)
Typical BMW. Firm, commanding, confident. Long, open roads are where BMWs always shines. It’s like a sports sedan morphs into a luxury sedan.

Total (64 out of 100)

Class — Diesel sports sedan.

Primary competition —  Mercedes Benz ML320 Bluetech, Acura TSX, Volkswagen Jetta Blue TDi.

For more standard equipment/option package information, visit: www.bmwusa.com.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price — $43,950.00

Price As Driven — $51,875.00

Mileage Estimates — 23 mpg (city), 36 mpg (hwy).

Warranty —  Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Drivetrain, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 12 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/unlimited miles.

What Others Say:

“The 335d is the eco-friendly machine that doesn’t just bolster your environmentalist cred, it flatters your intellect as well. Or it would, if other people could tell you’re driving one. That little “d” on the trunk lid, though, is pretty hard to spot.” —- Automobile.com

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words

Spend time driving in Europe and diesel cars are the norm. The emissions regulations are less stringent than in the U.S and diesel fuel costs substantially less. But with the 335d’s introduction, U.S. buyers no longer have to be hesitant when the word diesel is mentioned. It’s the real deal, even though it’s about $2,500 more than the gas 335i edition.”

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