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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My dad got a 335d delivered last Tuesday... and promptly went out of the country two days later for a 3 week vacation. So I have his car with instructions to drive it out of the break-in period while he's gone. I've therefore gotten the chance for some seat time in the 335d. For reference, I drive a 2007 (9/06 build) E92 335i.

Dad's E90 335d: Blue Water/Beige Leather, Sport, Premium, Cold Weather, Step.
My E92 335i: Monaco Blue/Black Leather, Sport, Premium, Cold Weather, Sirius, 6MT. Also Logic 7, which was standard on '07 335i's.

The sport package summer tires are identical (Bridgestone Potenza RE050A RFT), although mine are very worn (33k!) and his are, obviously, brand new. I swapped to my winter tires last weekend (Bridgestone Blizzak LM-22 RFT, 225/45R17) so direct handling comparisons aren't possible now.

Engine sound: To me it is noticable you are driving a diesel when you start it up and when you're sitting at idle. Once you're moving the sound is not noticable. It is deeper and rumblier than the gas engine, but you can't hear any clattering inside the cockpit. If you're standing outside when the engine is started you know for sure its a diesel as there is some clatter, but it quickly fades away. The overall sound is lower and much more muted, and of course it doesn't rev as high so the diesel never really screams.

Transmission: I've only driven three BMWs with the Steptronic: my buddy's E90 330i, the 335d and a 535i service loaner I had a few months ago. The Step in these cars is very good; it is generally in the right gear, it will downshift quickly, and having paddle shifters in the 335d and 535i allows you to play. With that said, I am very used to driving a stick and so I find an automatic just... annoying. I understand BMW's reasoning on only offering a Step on the 335d though. Shifts are smooth and quick no matter what mode you're in.

Power delivery: Wow. Just wow. 425 ft/lbs of torque will get you moving awfully fast. It can be either deceptively smooth if you're not getting into the throttle that much, or just a huge rush all at once. Going from 70-95 took no time at all and I didn't even notice it until I checked the speedo. Just a little tip in on the gas pedal and you're there. But I mashed the accelerator from maybe 20 mph on a straight onramp (still in break-in so I'm avoiding full-throttle, and its not my car) and it throws you back in the seat and propels you to super-legal speeds in a blink of an eye; I hit 75 and had to back down to merge. I wouldn't call it a rush of sound and fury because the car is far too refined for that, but it lets you know that you just hit the "go" pedal hard.

Handling: Pretty much identical to my E92. The 335d is 250 lbs. heavier, but that has not really shown through in any of the driving I've done. I am not as confident in the traction of the rear tires especially due to the enourmous torque of the diesel, and I've always been in D (not DS or M) while taking corners somewhat quickly so I didn't want to risk a downshift which could break the rear end loose. Driving in M would fix that, but I think mostly I'm not used to the car. I have a much better idea of what I can and can't do in my E92.

Fuel economy: The diesel blows you away here. I made a 125-mile round trip the other day (80% freeway) and the average mileage started the day at 26.1... and ended at 29.0 (keep in mind there are less than 500 miles on the car, and at pickup the mileage read 4.8 and has been rising since). The first tank was 31.something mpg, with about 60% highway and 40% in town. My 335i gets maybe 26 mpg in a similar driving mix.

Styling: I really like the LCI E90 styling, and also that some of the E92s features made it onto the E90 like cornering lights and halos for DRLs. The LED turn signals are really bright. Having 4 doors can be really nice; sometimes I regret having a coupe, but most of the time I wouldn't use the rear doors anyway so its not a huge deal. The sedan is more practical though.

Other:
  • The heated steering wheel is really nice on cold mornings! Wish I had it on my E92.
  • My dad didn't get the Logic 7, and the difference in stereo quality is noticable to me. I'm aware the Logic 7 isn't the best car stereo out there, but the base stereo (the Hi-Fi stereo is no longer standard in 2010s) is no better than the one in my brother's '99 Toyota camry. If you don't listen to music you won't care.
  • BMW increased the stiffness of the turn signal and wiper stalks to the point where it has thrown me off trying to use them, especially the turn signals. My E92's stalks are much lighter and more flickable.
  • The center armrest storage box is spring-loaded (not sure what model year that changed) and so you can't run cables out of the armrest anymore without the armrest popping up. I have my iPhone charger and the Aux input cable running out of there quite a bit so not having the spring loaded armrest is nice.
  • The urea tank takes up the small under-floor storage area in the trunk.
  • I have mixed feelings about the paddle shifters. The paddles themselves are nice, although it took me a little bit to figure out which way to push/pull them for upshifts/downshifts (hint, its the same as on the gear selector, and hey BMW, can you PLEASE go to left down/right up? Thx). I like not having to go to the gear selector to manually shift. What throws me about the paddles in general though is that I can't place my hands on the steering wheel where I want to and how I do in my 6MT E92, because the gap between the paddle and the steering wheel isn't large enough to fit my hand. So I have to alter my hands position on the wheel. I'm sure I would get used to it, but its something else I noticed.
  • The 335d is fairly expensive; my dad wouldn't have bought his without the $4500 Eco Credit.
All in all it is an amazing car, and much better as a daily driver than a 335i due to the torque and fuel economy. The car handles like any other 3 series and the fact that its a diesel isn't even readily apparent. I highly recommend going for a test drive, this car will open your eyes.
 

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BendTheRules/RuleTheBends
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Thanks for the comprehensive comparison :thumbup:
 

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Finally...a "comprehensive" intellectual review. I enjoyed reading that, sounded like a very honest review. I have yet to test drive the d but I am looking forward to it.
 

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A very good write-up! :thumbup:

Sure beats the typical group date-night threads that seem to infest the Fest.
 

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Thanks for a great write-up, you've answered many questions that have been going round in my head since getting my 330D E92 earlier this year. I've often wished I could have the gas equivalent engine for a week to make a comparison.

Completely agree with you regarding power delivery from a big diesel - if you've never experienced it I'd urge you to try it, it's totally addictive!
 

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BMW d Driver
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I agree with your points. Good comparison of the two.

You still really have to drive both to get an idea of the differences. Paper specs just dont tell the whole story of the diesel since pretty much no one has driven a performance tuned diesel before. The power delivery and way you drive it is different than a gasser...

The torque still amazes me, it can push you back in your seat at any speed with barely upping the revs. I actually like the diesel sound too....sounds powerful to me even though it is a bit more muted. Its not like they sound like a truck or a bus or something. It is a lower growl all the time.

Then again, after owning an M3 the 335i is not exactly all that loud or growly to me either in its stock form.
 

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driving a D around RTP
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Good comparison.

About that growl. I'm really attached to the growl. The i does sound and feel great at very high revs. I rarely reach high rev's in daily driving. My d knows she is appreciated every time I take her out.
 

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Not a real doctor.
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Excellent write-up! Thanks.

Not being able to get the diesel in a coupe or an MT was a deal killer for me. But I sure did think about it hard.

I've altered my driving style a bit and am getting about 28 mpg with my 328 in mixed driving, but I'm sure I'd be doing 5 to 10 mpg better with the diesel. Around here, diesel and premium gas prices are roughly the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You still really have to drive both to get an idea of the differences. Paper specs just dont tell the whole story of the diesel since pretty much no one has driven a performance tuned diesel before. The power delivery and way you drive it is different than a gasser...
Yeah the specs don't even get you that close really. I know some people have tried to compare the torque to the N54, which is very torquey for a gas engine of that displacement and overall power, but its not a good comparison really. The d brings power much earlier and in a much more intensive rush.

Good comparison.

About that growl. I'm really attached to the growl. The i does sound and feel great at very high revs. I rarely reach high rev's in daily driving. My d knows she is appreciated every time I take her out.
That's the big thing about the d, you have massive power you can use a lot more often. The only time I really get to use my 335i's full power is in 2-lane road passing maneuvers, and even then I don't absolutely need to rev the engine up as much as I do. The d gives you the ability to do stuff like that much more often because of the way power is delivered. If the car wasn't still in the break-in period I'd have more fun with it.

I'm growing to like the sound more every day, it just sounds great.

Not being able to get the diesel in a coupe or an MT was a deal killer for me. But I sure did think about it hard.
After driving my dad's car I was lamenting the exact same thing! I think if I could just get an MT I'd be okay as I like the LCI sedan styling, much as I love my coupe.
Nice color combo :thumbup:
 

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Good comparison.

About that growl. I'm really attached to the growl. The i does sound and feel great at very high revs. I rarely reach high rev's in daily driving. My d knows she is appreciated every time I take her out.
and don't forget to mention that jet turbine sound that comes from the turbo spool. it's cool.
 

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Abuser of everything
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All in all it is an amazing car, and much better as a daily driver than a 335i due to the torque and fuel economy. The car handles like any other 3 series and the fact that its a diesel isn't even readily apparent.
I autocrossed 2x 335d and I totally disagree. The 335d is 220lbs heavier.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I autocrossed 2x 335d and I totally disagree. The 335d is 220lbs heavier.
Yes I know that. Since I wrote the original review I've had a chance to push the 335d a bit harder since it now has 1500 miles and isn't in the break in period. IF YOU ARE PUSHING HARD, the weight difference is noticeable. But I'm not talking about autocrossing or pushing hard, I'm talking about as a daily driver. 220lbs doesn't create a noticable difference in handling between the 335i and 335d if you're just driving around town going about your business. The engines are powerful enough and the driving characteristics similar enough that the difference is imperceptible.

If I had to choose one to have fun in, I would definitely take my E92 335i over a 335d.
 

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The sport package summer tires are identical (Bridgestone Potenza RE050A RFT), although mine are very worn (33k!).
Whoa, for a minute there, I thought you said you got 33K mi from your Bridgestone Potenza RFTs!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Whoa, for a minute there, I thought you said you got 33K mi from your Bridgestone Potenza RFTs!
I did say that! My car has 41k miles on it, and my OEM Bridgestones were on the car for roughly 33k of those miles. The last 8k miles were exclusively highway; I took a cross-country road trip. My rears are very close to the tread wear bars; the fronts are a little better. I have some uneven wear due to the sport package suspension setup and lack of rotation. All 4 tires have cupping. Basically they are completely shot now, so I will be getting new summer tires in the spring.
 

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Lava, I have two questions for you or whoever else can answer these. What are the yearly sales for the 335d? Also is the ecocredit given from BMW or is it from the US gov?
 

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and don't forget to mention that jet turbine sound that comes from the turbo spool. it's cool.
I wish I could hear the boost buildup in my D. Although maybe if I had it then I would get annoyed, my truck is pretty loud whine whenever getting into boost and can get old when in traffic.
 

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Lava, I have two questions for you or whoever else can answer these. What are the yearly sales for the 335d? Also is the ecocredit given from BMW or is it from the US gov?
The Eco Credit is given by BMW in the form of a discount applied against the selling price of the car. For example, if the car was going to sell at MSRP before the credit, then after application of the credit, the selling price would be MSRP less $4,500. There is an additional alternative fuel credit ($900?) that is a tax credit given by the U.S. government. The alternative fuel credit is not taken when the car is sold, but when your taxes are filed for the 2009 tax year.
 
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