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Test Drive: 2009 BMW 335d

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By Thom Blackett

BMW Shunned from most social situations due to loud behavior and a penchant for filling the room with foul second-hand smoke, not to mention an apparent disdain for cleanliness. No, we’re not talking about Cousin Eddie the Family Embarrassment, but rather diesel-powered vehicles. Sure, most everyone has heard about diesel’s superior fuel economy, yet that was prior to the introduction of hybrids like the Toyota Prius. Plus, getting a few extra miles to the gallon isn’t worth living with a noisy, pollutant-spewing diesel engine everyday. Well, it’s time to kiss that perspective good-bye, thanks to the arrival of new clean diesel models like the 2009 BMW 335d.


According to the EPA, the 335d should deliver 23 mpg city and 36 mpg highway; we averaged 29.7 mpg in mixed driving. To put that into perspective, similar figures are tied to the miserly Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, though with an as-tested price of $49,020, you could buy a Civic and a Corolla for less than the price of one BMW 335d. In exchange for that hefty sum of greenbacks, you’ll enjoy a slew of luxury features, top-notch materials, and generous head room. However, we were curious about the lack of a navigation system in this pricey sedan, and continue to lament the absence of proper cupholders and simple, clearly-labeled radio buttons.


Nevertheless, BMW has provided plenty to like about the 2009 335d, a nominee for Road & Travel’s 2009 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year Award. Many eco-conscious car shoppers may like the fact that instead of awkward styling and badges that scream GREEN CAR from every conceivable angle, the only telltale sign of this BMW’s treehugging tendencies lies in the 335”d” designation. Drivers will undoubtedly appreciate the effortless acceleration that makes merging, passing, and scooting through traffic an absolute joy, especially when fuel is being burned at a snail’s pace. On the other hand, folks who hop behind the wheel with the simple goal of getting to Point B will want to skip the optional Sport Package and its decidedly harsh ride.   



Test Vehicle: 2009 BMW 335d

Base Price: $43,900

Price as Tested: $49,020

Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder diesel

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

EPA Fuel Economy: 23 mpg city/36 mpg highway

Road & Travel’s Observed Fuel Economy: 29.7 mpg

NHTSA/IIHS Frontal Crash Ratings: 4 stars / Good

NHTSA/IIHS Side Impact Ratings: 5 stars / Good

Also Consider: Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec, Volkswagen Jetta TDI


For more information see Road & Travel’s BMW Buyer’s Guide or visit bmwusa.com. See for yourself how BMW does diesel.


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