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Article Comments - 2009 BMW 335d Full Test

Karen@EdmundsKaren@Edmunds Posts: 5,024
A careful cost/benefit analysis of the diesel-powered 2009 BMW 335d sedan vs. the gasoline-powered BMW 335i is certain to yield...exactly nothing. There are many reasons for this:

1. The 335d burns less fuel than the 335i, no question. Yet diesel fuel also costs more than gasoline.
2. The 335d costs more than the 335i. Yet it also emits less CO2.
3. The 335d can easily exceed 500 miles on one tank of fuel. Yet the 335i is quicker, lighter and handles better.


2009 BMW 335d Full Test

Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

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Comments

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    A careful cost/benefit analysis of the diesel-powered 2009 BMW 335d sedan vs. the gasoline-powered BMW 328i is certain to yield...volumes.

    1. The 335d costs $10,000 more than the 328i.
    2. The difference in (combined cycle) fuel economy is only 6 MPG.
    3. Where do you buy urea (and how much does it cost) after you've driven 50,000 miles?
    4. The 328i offers virtually the same acceleration (with a livelier, more entertaining redline).
    5. The 328i handles better and turns in sharper (it weighs a whopping 500 lbs less).
    6. You can get a manual transmission on the 328i.


    Why would anyone choose this overpriced leviathan over a 328i?
  • Forget about 328i.. It's absolutely no match for the 335d. You talk before you drive nothing..

    One thing about the fuel consumption, EPA numbers tell you something, OK. But if you compare a diesel against a gas engine then the comparison over EPA measurements is not valid. If you buy a BMW, and if buy something like 335i or 335d you don't buy it to drive like the grandpa. In a harder real world driving that EPA difference in consumption will mean absolutely nothing. On a gasoline engine the spread to upwards in consumption is much larger than a diesel engine. On that 335d you can never get below, let's say, 20mpg whatever you do with the car. But on a 335i you can get maybe 10mpg easily with a hard, enjoyable driving.
    Therefore the neutralized consumption gains because of the fuel price difference would be most probably not true in a real world experience.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,016
    Boy, he sure told you... ;) :P ;)

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • dino6dino6 Posts: 7
    The article makes a point about fuel cost being about the same given today's diesel price disadvantage, an assumption which probably will not hold in the next five years since diesel has actually had a price advantage over regular gas for the majority of the last ten years. So the fuel cost over the life of the car, will probably favor the diesel given the other assumptions used in the calculations.

    As the article also calculates, after the gov't tax credit the diesel is at a price disadvantage of $1,575 MSRP. The dealers will probably hold out to a higher margin for the new diesels so let's say the price disadvantage versus the gasser is 2,000. That entire price disadvantage will most probably be recouped at resale. There are no used 335ds in the market yet but we can use a Volkswagen TDI as a proxy. Five year old TDIs have a KBB retail of 3,500 over an equivalent VW model. That relationship will probably hold true for the BMWs as well.

    fedlawman does have a point that the 328i might be a better choice IF you are looking at costs. So it all boils down to driving experience, which is really the main reason most people buy a BMW. If its simply all based on costs, we'd all be driving Kias right? Driving experience of 328i vs. 355d? For canyon carving, the 328i w/a manual. For daily driving with traffic and for long-distance journeys, the auto 335d is a much more relaxed driving experience. For some that also equates to a more luxurious driving experience. All the 3s are great cars and what the 335d offers is just one more option for those people who like to drive autos in a less frenetic manner and to use a bit less of the earth's resources while still enjoying the BMW 3 experience.
  • jmarounjmaroun Posts: 139
    3. ..Yet the 335i is quicker, lighter and handles better.

    Those three points seal my decision. As for fuel consumption.. Diesel costs more in the US effectively equalizing it with the 335i's fuel consumption costs.

    Car makers must improve fuel consumption without sacraficing the following
    - performance <- handling, 0-60, 1/4mi... no one will settle for worse performance
    - weight <-- everyone wants a lighter car
    - beauty <-- no one wants an ugly car (just look at the 135i and the GTR)
    - price <-- no one wants to pay too much more than the present best incarnation
    -------------------

    Other than having superior low end torque, the 335d fails to justify its existance over the 335i...at least in the US.

    Joseph
    San Diego
  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    I recently drove both with auto transmissions back to back. The driving experiences are just very, very different. The 335d is much torquier, faster in the real world. The engine just feels twice its actual size -- more like a big, bruising OHV V8. And you can hear it -- not unpleasant, but don't believe the NY Times, etc.: it sounds nothing like the gasoline engine. The 335i revs higher and has top end power, but low down the range it feels weak with the auto trans. I don't think it's about the cost savings so much as it's a matter of getting behind the wheel of each to decide which you prefer. I surprised myself my much preferring the 335d.

    If I was in the market for an auto trans car, then it would be a 335d with sports package, sat radio, heated seats. Even then, both the i and the d are expensive propositions.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "Boy, he sure told you... ;) :P ;) "

    Yeah, I guess so.

    Too bad - I thought driving a BMW was about revving a sewing-machine smooth I-6 to 7000 RPM and getting the best ride/handling compromise possible in a comfortable, practical package.

    I guess there's truly a 3-series for everyone now.
  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    Still love my '06 325i. But for me it's got to be a manual....
  • There's nothing wrong with the 335d, it's just that the diesel has different power characteristics, which not all are used to. Personally I like not having to wind the snot out of a motor to get the car to accelerate quickly. As far as ride & handling, the author said the 335d was as good or better on the skidpad than any 335i they'd tested and has 1 mph less top end (a useless stat IMO) and was .6 second slower 0-60. It's still a sub-6 second car which is faster than most comparable cars. Unless you're the type to drag race at stop lights, you'd probably never see any difference. For the same money I'd probably go with the MB E320 Bluetec with a bit more interior room. Diesel is a tough sell right now because of the price gap - this only occurred in the last year. I've owned a diesel for 10 years now and for 9 out of 10 years diesel cost the same or less than regular unleaded. New diesel refining capacity worldwide should have the price gap closing considerably in the next year or so, hopefully.
  • I also prefer the torque curve of the diesel to the gas, after driving the same day.

    Of course, I drove them during rush-hour in a major metro area. And that really explains why I think thats the best environment for the BMW diesel. Because of the instant and effortless acceleration, it is definitely faster in the real world.

    Without putting a premium on the economics of diesel, its still a better daily driver, IMO. And it retains 99% of the performance of the 335i automatic for the times when you do want to have fun.

    Plus its something unique to BMW. No other brand can compete with this diesel sedan.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I can see the appeal of the 335d and why people like it. I also think the M-B Bluetec seems a better fit for a diesel motor - more relaxed, torquier, great for covering vast amounts of freeway in supreme comfort.

    I'm not saying the 335d isn't a good car - I just don't think it's a good sports car.
  • I'm not saying the 335d isn't a good car - I just don't think it's a good sports car.

    Well I think calling the current 3-series a sports car is a bit of a stretch anyhow.

    The 335d seems to be more in line with where the 3-series is headed. Sacrificing sportiness for the sake of refinement.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Yup, it's been all downhill since the E36...
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,016
    Well, I have to say that I'd prefer a 330i ZHP to any E36 save an M3 with a real(Euro) ///M motor.
    And my Club Sport of course... ;)

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I prefer the E46 to the E36 too. Much better build quality and not much weight added.

    No, my post was referring to the E30 being the pinnacle of the 3-series line.

    E21<E90<E36<E46<E30
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,016
    Agreed.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • kyfdx@Edmundskyfdx@Edmunds Posts: 25,881
    Hmm... I liked the E21.. :surprise:

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,016
    A friend of mine had a gray market Alpina C1(323i) Baur Cabriolet that was pretty sweet:

    image

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Hey, Baur's don't count! This is what I'm talking about...

    image
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