WCF Test Drive: BMW 335d

WCF Test Drive: BMW 335d

( Worldcarfans ) - Just a few years ago 'performance diesel' was a contradiction in terms, they were economical but about as exciting as E Coli poisoning. The diesel was the reserve of trucks, tractors and cheapskates; keen drivers would rather pull out their own toenails out than drive one. Cars like the BMW 335d will change all that.

The three-litre twin-turbo under the bonnet kicks out 282bhp, a respectable figure in itself, but then it's a veiled reference in this context, diesels live and die on torque - lots of it. The 335d comes with 428lb/ft, way more than the all-conquering M5 in a more compact and chuckable package. In fact this car has so much power that BMW couldn't fit a manual 'box, so the automatic is the only option. That and a limited rev range are the only downside of the car.

Even those that have absolutely no idea what torque is will appreciate just what it's doing for them with a prod of the right foot. This car can trundle along on tickover, and then a nudge on the loud pedal is all it takes to catapult it down the road. And that means in the real world, when we want to overtake, power away from a standstill, it's way better than the petrol-powered alternative.

It will hit 60mph in 6.1s and has to be limited to 155mph, as with all the high-power BMWs in accordance with the gentleman's agreement with Audi and Mercedes. But even that doesn't do justice to a car that will smoke its tyres from a standstill and pull like a train from anywhere. You need to wind a petrol engine up to the upper echelons of the rev counter to get the kind of performance that's available at tickover in this beast.

This car has a reservoir of pull just waiting to be tapped, with 95 per cent of the torque available from 1300 right through to 5000 revs, which took some clever technology to achieve. Almost every other twin-turbo has them side-by-side powering a selection of cylinders each: not this one.

In the three-litre BMW they're sequential, with a smaller turbo working at low revs and the bigger one kicking up further at the range. Towards the red line, a control valve vents some of the gas directly into the exhaust system. That means no lag whatsoever and as much power as you'll ever need from a car that returns 38mpg on the combined cycle and can cruise for hundreds of miles at a time.

And the real beauty of this, the most powerful six-pot diesel engine ever in a production car, is that none of this technical mumbo-jumbo will even cross your mind when behind the wheel. All the investment and innovation is there to convince you you're not driving a diesel at all. There's a slight rattle on start-up and the revs stay low, but there's none of the white smoke, juddering drive train and slug-like response that old-school diesel drivers will remember with a grimace.

The engine made its debut in the 5 Series and the diesel comfortably beat the 540i on track during an independent test thanks to its drag out of the bends. It's a deceptive kind of speed as there's no booming crescendo of revs that belong with the numbers on the clock, just a lazy 5000rpm on one counter, although the police would probably have been more interested in the triple digits on the other.

Left to its own devices the drivetrain shifts seamlessly up and down the six-speed box, but it comes with the steering-mounted shifter that genuinely works and feels just as strong as any semi-automatic on the market. It all adds up to a sporting feel that even today's diesels rarely manage, BMW has taken the fuel-sipping concept into a whole new arena and this is a car that will put a smile on the hardest driver's face.

The 3 Series is so intrinsically right when it comes to handling. It goes beyond the impeccable road-holding, it provides such a rich tapestry of its grip levels that the blind could follow the story. The suspension set-up squashes major ruts in the road and yet transmits every valuable nub of information, every change in the surface, with a gentle nudge on the wheel.

It's a confidence-inspiring machine that will have even average drivers pushing their personal limits and driving faster than they ever imagined they could or would.

Diesel blocks must be near unburstable, due to the extra pressure created by the more explosive fuel under the bonnet so the block is heavier. That means the 335i is slightly more nimble on the way into bends, but you'd have to be truly pushing the laws of Physics to feel that.

The BMW invited later and later braking and a healthy dose of power from the apex forward, and every exit of a junction was just another chance to blow a pound or two off the rear runflats' resale value as the Coupe followed an elegant arc, spitting stones at the scenery.

All it takes is a hefty dose of right foot, forcing the box to kick down, and audacious powerslides are there for the taking. The car mops up the excess enthusiasm and somehow comes through the bend at a ridiculous speed for a car with such a civil appearance. It's a sports car dressed as a minor executive's favoured transport.

The 3 Series is far and away Chris Bangle's most conservative creation, though, and it's almost as if the accountants stepped in with the volume seller, broke into his office at night and smoothed out a few of his famous edges. The flame-surface is still in full effect and the Coupe is certainly elegant enough, but it lacks a little visual impact and there should be a roaring trade in sports kits to butch it up a little. If you're swayed away from the borderline bland Audi and dreary C-Class, you should go the whole hog and tick the box for the M-Sport kit.

But the Coupe is certainly slicker and better looking than the saloon. Only the side indicator repeaters, rear badge and door handles were carried over on the exterior, everything else is new. It sits lower, looks ever so slightly meaner and much more streamlined. And the only downside is the loss of the middle seat in the rear, but two adults can fit comfortably in the back and most junior execs just don't have the time to make a big family these days.

So it's a hugely competent sports car wrapped up in a conservative body with an oil-burning powerplant under the bonnet. The days of the rattling diesel tractor are well and truly over.

Zarif: Iran at forefront of fighting terrorism
Zarif: Iran at forefront of fighting terrorism
Iran to follow FATF-related bills
Iran to follow FATF-related bills
Iran Parliament speaker obliges gov't to implement “People's Livelihood Protection Act” as soon as possible
Iran Parliament speaker obliges gov't to implement “People's Livelihood Protection Act” as soon as possible
Loading Bars
Iran boosts manufacturing of passenger cars
UAE cabinet approves new cybersecurity body, climate change envoy
Geostat reveals volume of ferroalloys exported by Georgia to Turkey
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Kazakhstan continues introduction of mobile diagnostic tools in railway sector
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan discuss possibilities of attracting investors to Azerbaijan territories liberated from occupation
Britain expects 'very significant' week for Brexit talks as clock ticks down
Iran declares cargo transportation from Sistan and Baluchestan Province
Death toll from COVID-19 tops 172,000 in Brazil
Chinese companies to process Uzbek garlic for further export to US and European countries
Turkey's export of grain, legumes to France declines
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 29
Details of Iran’s trade turnover announced
EU aims to support Georgia in its efforts to reform electricity market
Azerbaijan confirms 4,170 new COVID-19 cases, 1,985 recoveries
5.5-magnitude quake hits Vanuatu
Azersu LLC announces tender for purchase of equipment for laboratory
Kazakhstan's import of Turkish cement up
Azerbaijan shows footage of Aghdam's Shahbuldag village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Expenses on construction of enterprises in Iran’s Isfahan Province increases
Number of enterprises launched in Iran's Ilam Province shrinks
Turkmengas opens tender for maintenance of gas turbine generators
At least 30 police killed, over 20 wounded in suicide car bomb explosion in E. Afghanistan
Georgia reports 4 426 new coronavirus cases, 3 721 recoveries, 35 deaths
Over 5,500 patients recover from coronavirus in Moscow in the past day
Azerbaijan shows footage of liberated from occupation villages of Kalbajar region (PHOTO/VIDEO)
China increases import of Turkish cars
Employment in Iran's Alborz Province declines
The President of Turkmenistan receives representative of medical community of Germany
S. Korea reports 450 more COVID-19 cases, 33,824 in total
Azerbaijan's turnover on payment cards in 10M2020 up
Inter-Agency Coordination Council discusses enforcement of Covid restrictions
Azerbaijan has ample opportunities and potential for artificial intelligence dev't
Trump may announce plans for 2024 presidential race during Biden’s inauguration
826 more coronavirus cases recorded in Kazakhstan over 24 hours
France sees further fall in COVID-19 hospitalizations as lockdown exit starts
Turkey's Temsa makes 1st electric bus exports to Sweden
Iran registers monthly positive trade balance
Scottish dev’t agency eyes establishing co-op with companies in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan
Croatian PM in self-quarantine after wife contracts COVID-19
UK records another 15,871 coronavirus cases with 479 deaths
Some 46,000 people gather in Paris to protest against security bill
Kazakhstan to modify large energy saving projects on railways
Severe fire danger for Australia as temperatures smash records
Dozens of Boko Haram militants killed in Nigeria airstrikes
Pope installs new cardinals, including first African-American
WHO reports new daily record high of over 747,000 COVID-19 cases
UK police arrest 155 in anti-lockdown protests in London
Assistant to Azerbaijani president posts footage from Tartar, Aghdam cities
UK, France sign new deal to stop illegal migration across Channel
Iran discloses electricity generation at Iran's Bandar Abbas TPP
Turkey reports 6,714 new COVID-19 cases, 487,912 in total
Zarif: Iran at forefront of fighting terrorism
Georgia takes necessary steps to avoid increase in bread prices
Ethiopian military has taken 'full control' of Tigray capital, government says
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Kazakhstan raises import of grain, legumes from Turkey
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange revealed
AP publishes article covering Armenian missile attack on Azerbaijan’s Ganja on Oct.17 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
OIC adopts resolutions in connection with Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan
President, members of Board of European Muslim Forum send letter to President Aliyev
Aghdam district of Azerbaijan after 27 years of Armenian occupation (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan to bring waste processing level to average European level
UK appoints minister in charge of COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Number of blocked malware in AzStateNet network drops
Airport in Uzbekistan to buy auto parts via tender
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 29
Azerbaijani team takes third place in group exercises at 36th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships
At least 6 killed in Somali capital suicide bombing
Microsoft Azerbaijan to support all initiatives in liberated territories of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan shows footage of Kalbajar's Vang village (VIDEO)
Police fire tear gas at Paris protest against police violence
Electricity imports growing in Georgia
Cargo, passenger traffic via Turkish Sabiha Gokcen Airport slumps amid pandemic
Uzbek-Korean JSC Uz-Dong Won Co. announces tender for steel pipes supply
Cargo transportation at Turkish Antalya airport reduces
Austria records nearly 1,000 COVID-19 deaths over past 10 days
State Employment Agency of Azerbaijan opens tender on supporting start-up projects
Results of Azerbaijan's junior national team performance at 36th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships announced
Details of Iran’s exports to Iraq declared
Azerbaijan reports 4,212 new COVID-19 cases, 1,760 recoveries
Four citizens dead as result of mine exploding in Fuzuli - Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office
Kazakhstan's export volumes to China surge despite COVID-19
Assistant to Azerbaijan's president, diplomats, Garabagh FC representatives visit Aghdam Mosque (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan committed to promoting socio-economic development of Afghanistan
Georgian oil companies seek to avoid price increases
Tender for maintenance of elevators, escalators launched in Turkey
Azerbaijan's ten-month output of oil products declines
Turkey's export of grain and legumes to Turkmenistan up
Turkmenistan, Belarus discuss program of cooperation
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 28
Azerbaijani president's assistant, diplomatic corps reps arrive at liberated Aghdam city
Rural digitalization project successfully underway in Kazakhstan
Missile fired to Tartar by Armenia delivered to local museum - president's assistant (VIDEO)
Number of enterprises put into operation in Iran's Ardabil Province up
Water problems center to be created in Uzbekistan’s Khorezm region
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of lubricating oil
Azerbaijan’s Baku Telephone Communications opens tender
Georgia sees increase in COVID-19 cases
All news