The BMW 335d sedan offers the best of two worlds: dynamic acceleration and penny-pinching fuel economy. During a recent test drive of an Alpine White 2011 335d from BMW of Chattanooga, I was floored (pardon the pun) by the low end torque of the inline sixcylinder, 265-horsepower engine. To think this much power could flow from a powerplant that returns 36 mpg on the highway is nothing short of amazing.
DRIVING IMPRESSIONS: Like all 3-series BMWs, the 335d is a willing accomplice for any driver who likes to carve up a freeway. Our 335d tester charged through I-75 traffic late one afternoon last week. The torque never fades through the middle of the power band, and the leap from 40 mph to 60 mph happens in a flash. Steering is sharp, and the 335d's handling response is precise. The cockpit is meant to enhance the driving experience, so don't expect overpadded seats or sensory-killing road isolation.
STYLING: Aside from a tail badge and different mechanicals, the 335d is virtually indistinguishable from a plain-vanilla, gasoline-powered 3-series. But that's not bad. The athletic sheet-metal of the current 3-series has become instantly recognizable on American highways. Our tester came with a host of options, including Beige Dakota leather seats, a Steptronic transmission, heated steering wheel, moonroof, power seats, navigation system and Xenon headlights.
BOTTOM LINE: The BMW 335d is a near perfect car for serious drivers who want a green machine that returns subcompact-like fuel efficiency.
TEST MODEL: 2011 BMW 335d.
ENGINE: 3.0 liter turbo-diesel.
FUEL ECONOMY: 36 mpg highway, 23 mpg city.
BASE PRICE: $43,950.
PRICE AS TESTED: $52,350.