This morning, I took up an offer at BMW of Arlington (soon to be BMW of Alexandria) to test drive a 2011 BMW 335d.
The model we took out was a black four-door saloon, with the sports and cold weather packages. Shod in pretty nice 18’s with low profile run-flat PZeros (I think).
For about $52k, this isn’t a cheap motor, especially considering this wasn’t even optioned out to the limit, but it is a nice ride.
After pressing the start/stop button and starting it up without a wait for glowplugs, I half expected a pretty loud noise until it warmed up. It was quiet, just about as quiet as my funfer is in the morning. That was impressive.
Venturing onto the roads, we took it on the secondary roads before having a pretty good run on I395 and I495. I let the car shift itself until we hit the on-ramp for the highway (only autos are available – for shame BMW-USA), then put it into sport-shift mode. The car has paddles on the steering wheel, and given the sport-size wheel, everything was in reach and really comfortable. I kept catching myself going for the clutch and gear stick, but that was inevitable.
Putting your foot down, even in the sixth at moderate speed, the torque is quite impressive, almost pulling like a 540i. Considering this is a normal automatic gearbox, not an SMG or DCT, the shifts are remarkably responsive. You quickly forget you are driving an oil burner, and it corners well (some Dinan parts would spice it up) – that’s more a testament to the large shoes as opposed to the (blech) run-flats I suppose. Turning the nanny switch off, I imagine this is a car that could spend a lot of time going sideways on a track day.
I found the visibility not as good as the 5 series – but that’s inevitable given the car’s smaller size. A diesel coupe would be a definite win too. It seems that they really restrict the range of diesel (and small in general) models for the US market. Hopefully this tide is shifting as people want small, fun, economical cars.
Bottom line, if this car had a more appealing interior (this one had saddle brown leather and wood trim), this is one I could definietly see myself in. There are tons of incentives too, so this could be a pretty reasonable car to purchase in late-December if one is so-inclined to take advantage of the tax perks.
Still, I say that now, but I cannot wait for the new 1 Series M Coupe to come out, hopefully in Q1 2011. That will be a car for a test-drive and euro-delivery.