May 11, 2009

BMW 335d - An Owners Review

Posted at May 11, 2009 02:28 PM in Cars .

I had been considering the BMW 335d even prior to it's U.S. debut (see this entry). Once the car's actual specs were released (exceeding the pre-release estimates in almost every area), I was seriously interested. After much thought and a couple of great test drives, I decided to get one. Now after 5,000 miles of driving I thought I'd post some pros and cons from the perspective of someone who actually owns the car, and plans to keep it, long-term.


- The car is fast. BMW claims a 0-60 mph time of 6.0 seconds, and it seems even faster. The massive torque makes passing at any speed effortless.

- The fuel economy is amazing, especially on the highway. I got 40.5 mpg on a 250 mile, uninterrupted drive while averaging 80 mph! Even in mixed driving I have not seen less than 30 mpg.

- Because of the excellent mileage, the car has a range of over 500 miles. Fewer visits to the gas station!

- As of right now, in my area, diesel is running anywhere from 5-15 cents cheaper than premium gasoline. This is likely to change, but I'm enjoying it right now.

- The clean diesel moniker is accurate. No black smoke, except from the tires when peeling away from a light with the traction control off!

- The handling is up to BMW standard. Which is to say awesome :)

- The interior is nicely appointed, again up to BMW's usual standards.

- The new iDrive is pretty good. Apparently the previous generation model was a pain, but this time they've separated out climate control and added hard buttons, making the current setup quite usable.

- The music options are plentiful (iPod, satellite radio, HD radio), and worth it, especially if you're a music nut like me.

- The navigation system is solid and the Bluetooth integration works smoothly and provides decent voice quality even with ambient road noise.


- The car requires very high grade diesel, which is hard to find in the U.S., especially since the law doesn't require labeling of pumps like gasoline. In practice this means you will usually have to use a cetane boosting additive (which ends up costing about $1 or so extra per fill up).

- From the outside, at idle, and especially on cold start, the car is noisier than a gasoline powered car. From the inside, at highway speeds, the noise levels are the same or possibly even less.

- It's expensive. But if you're considering a high end BMW, what's an additional couple grand, right?

In sum, the car is a brilliant blend of performance and economy provided you are willing to deal with the inconvenience of tracking down good quality diesel fuel and/or using cetane boost additives. I, for one, find it a worthy trade off.


What has been your mileage around town vs. hwy? Are you depending on the computer read out or are you estimating on fill ups with actual miles driver and gallons used? What happens if you put in lower fuel requirements??
Thinking of buying one this week.

Thanks for you help.

Posted by steve at August 2, 2009 08:39 PM

I did estimate based on fill ups the first couple of tanks, but I found the trip computer was pretty accurate, so I've been relying on it since then. If you use lower grade fuel, the car idles a bit rougher, and mileage drops by 1-2 mpg.

In town, the mileage drops well into the 20s. It's definitely at its most efficient on the highway.

Posted by ak at September 15, 2009 01:29 AM
Posting of new comments has been disabled for this post.