In the place of a Hybrid or EV from BMW, the German automaker offers up an EPA-approved diesel for the U.S. in 2009; the new 335d. Maybe saying “in place of” is not the right phrase. The 335d’s fuel mileage doesn’t approach 40 mpg and using a diesel burning engine could perhaps only be marginally called environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, BMW has taken steps to ensure the car is at least cleaner than typical diesels, while still being more efficient and more powerful.
Although the 265 horses that the 335d’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-6 generates is sufficient if not stunning for a BMW. What is impressive is the torque output of 425 pound-feet at just 1,750 rpm. It is that figure that propels the 335d from zero to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. When it comes down to it, isn’t torque the more important number? While the use of diesel helps the performance it also manages to produce reasonable fuel economy of 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Real world driving numbers are purportedly even higher at 36 mpg highway. To conform to the emissions requirements, particularly in California, the 335d features a sophisticated three-piece emissions system which consists of an oxidation catalyst, a diesel particulate filter and a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) catalyst. It’s the injection of what BMW calls AdBlue (ammonia) within the SCR catalyst that makes this engine cleaner than your average diesel. There is a certain amount of driver attentiveness to this system’s fluid level after the initial standard maintenance program ends at 50,000 miles. Basically, if the level drops below a minimum level, a driver only has a predetermined number of startups to get it to the dealer for a refill before the engine will not start. That seems reasonable. People can simply have the level checked when they take it for oil changes.
This same engine and technology is also being introduced in BMW’s X5 crossover, where it is said to provide 0–62 mph acceleration of 7.2 sec. and 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway. That model will be called the X5 xDrive35d. Other than the difference in powerplant, which BMW hopes no one even notices, the 335d is right in line with the other 3-series models in terms of styling and design. The interior of the 335d has all of the usual gadgets, including the often still-confusing iDrive system interface. Pricing for starts at around $44,000, adding about 4 grand to the price of a comparably equipped 2009 BMW 335i.