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      03-30-2010, 12:29 PM   #1
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2011 E90 LCI 335d M-Sport Full Review

Featured review on Bimmerpost Homepage.

M is for monster, more specifically, in this case, the Diesel fed Torque kind that dwells in the Bavarian countryside.

For years Europeans have been able to dress up their oil burners with the much sought after M Sport kit. This year BMW has finally given Americans that same privilege and not a moment too soon. The BMW 335d really is a freak of nature by U.S. standards; after all, on paper it will put down more torque than the 6.1L Hemi V8, get more highway miles per tank than a Toyota Prius, all the while returning better consumption than a four cylinder Camry.

Like many Americans the first thing that came across my mind was: “Can anything that doesn’t burn the proper fuel, let alone rev above 5,000rpm, even be fun to drive?” Despite my initial doubts I knew there had to be something to this supposed wonderful diesel engine the press raves about; so I took a chance and placed my order never having test driven one. To my surprise and much to the dismay of a lot of my coworkers, who still have yet to come over to the dark side, I was instantly converted from the moment I mashed my right foot and felt that earth shattering kick in the ass.

So how exactly does the U.S. 2011 BMW 335d M-Sport stack up? Let’s take a look.




Part I: What’s New

For 2011 the inclusion of the M Sport Package (a $3,750 option) allows for some sharp looking kit which if purchased separately would run the bill well above the package price. From the M aerodynamic body kit, Shadowline exterior trim, and style 193M wheels on the outside to the anthracite headliner inside, the M Sport Package is nothing short of an aesthetic masterpiece when combined with the right colors.
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Functionally, the M Sport provides what the automatic variant 3 series had been lacking for many years, a proper set of shift paddles. Gone are the annoying multi-function, oversized, push-pull silver shift paddles of yore. These have been replaced with a set of single function, left to downshift and right to up shift, smaller pull only paddles in black with silver trim.
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While the jury is still out regarding component changes made for the 2011 suspension setup on the U.S. M Sport, there is one thing that stands out from day one; comfort. Gone is the run flat tire induced harsh ride of previous models. This year the run flats and the suspension finally play nice. Even on the cobblestone streets of Germany I found the ride to be immensely better than previous sport packaged 3 series I had driven. This should save some owners from having to invest in new tread right away.

New this year is a change, if in name only, to the upgraded sound system. Option 688 Harman Kardon Surround System is a departure from the previous Logic 7 naming convention of the past. I suspect much of this may be cost cutting and brand recognition as drivers will now find a Harman Kardon label on the front left and right speakers as well as only an on or off option for Logic 7. Gone are the multiple Logic 7 surround modes of the previous system. The options for treble & bass, balance & fader, as well as the seven band customizable equalizer do carry over to the HK system however. Much like the former Logic 7 system, with a properly tuned equalizer, the HK system makes for a great listening experience.
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This rounds out the major changes for 2011, sorry folks no LED halos, as all the other options, along with the much improved (read awesome) latest gen iDrive are a carry over from 2010.



Part II: Performance

From March 27th through March 29th 2010 my wife and I embarked on a journey that would take us a total of 1,300 miles from the Bavarian farmlands to the beaches of Normandy and back. Two things became readily apparent throughout this trip. The 335d was built for the open road, and torque is your friend.
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The 3.0-liter, TwinPower Turbocharged 6-cylinder engine really is something special. Upon initial start up the engine presents a rather quiet and noticeably Diesel tone; don’t let this fool you as this engine is anything but meek. Putting down more torque than its 335i/is and M3 brethren, 425ft-lb @ 1,750rpm, the 335d throws you in the seat and devours pavement like no other. While it’s gearing and lower rev limit will not win any 0-60 matches, you will be hard pressed to catch this car from a rolling start.
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The 335d is scary fast on the highway. Even in 6th gear the massive torque output allows the speedo to seamlessly rip through the numbers on its way to triple digits. Good luck adhering to the break-in recommended top speed of 93mph. Throughout our trip both my wife and I were continuously bouncing off our set 90mph speed limit chime with even small applications of right pedal in passing situations.

The six-speed automatic transmission does an excellent job of keeping the driver in the meat of the torque curve under all driving conditions with quick and smooth shifts when needed. The M Sport paddle shifters are a more solid design and produce a much heavier clicking sound when activated, than the paddles they replace, along with good response time.

The suspension setup presents solid, quick, and direct response all the while retaining a good level of comfort. The 335d was more than up to the task of dodging items falling off of trailers and oblivious kamikaze drivers at highway speed. The M Aerodynamic kit keeps the car well planted and fully under control under Autobahn excursions well north of 100mph.

Fuel mileage is one area in which the 335d leaves the “i” variants in the dust. Throughout our trip we encountered conditions not conducive to good fuel consumption. From climbing numerous hills throughout the French countryside and being stuck in stop and go Paris driving to high speed Autobahn runs, our overall consumption average for the trip was still an amazing 30mpg. I fully expect this car to return even better mileage as the, now post break-in, miles build.

The overall build quality is first rate everything feels solid and well put together. The doors and trunk close with a heavy solid thud and minimal effort. Wind noise is well managed even at high speed.

Having come from a 2008 model I was excited to finally get my hands on the new (new to me) iDrive. The newest generation is a major step forward albeit with a few small omissions. First up what I loved about the iDrive. The updated iDrive performs very well. One key benefit is its much more expansive POI database compared to the previous system. While the navigation voice is more robotic in nature it has the ability to speak complex sentences, thus providing more detailed instruction.

The high definition maps, which also show terrain relief complete with 3D buildings and landmarks, provide for much easier navigation.
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The much improved arrow display now has the capability to show complex map shapes as well as tell the driver exactly which lane(s) on the highway to use. I must admit while cool, the highway exit view at first seemed like a graphical novelty when I first saw it. I have however found it to be extremely useful. On complex highway exits the kind which are found all over the German Autobahn system, the exit view will not only show you an arrow depicting which exit to follow but will also drive the view inward as you approach each part of the exit.
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I would be remiss in making a proper review if I did not list my gripes about the iDrive/335d. The first is the 2011 U.S. system does not provide traffic updates in Germany. The older system worked just fine on the German TMC network. Also the lack of BMW assist, as the US system does not work on the German network, is a let down especially with the cool new features being released in the U.S. for BMW Assist. Next, gone is the oil measurement display. In its place is a color indication for the oil status. While the previous measurement sensor had at times been known to malfunction it was nice to have some indication of oil being burnt off as a reminder to pick up a quart the next time I am at the store. Hopefully BWM will fix that for the F30 3 Series.



Summary

All in all the 335 truly represents Diesel done right and perhaps the ultimate highway-driving machine. In a sleek sexy package you get an absolute fuel sipping torque monster that is comfortable yet incredibly agile. I can honestly say I have absolutely no regrets what so ever having given up my 335i for a 335d. If this is the future of Diesel consider me sold.

Last edited by Kamando; 03-31-2010 at 01:48 PM.
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      03-30-2010, 12:36 PM   #2
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nice review and choice thumbs up
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      03-30-2010, 12:39 PM   #3
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Thanks for taking your time to right this review!
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      03-30-2010, 12:52 PM   #4
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e90 LCI M-sport.... Is one of the best BMW's out right now
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      03-30-2010, 02:27 PM   #5
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Nice write up, and congrats on the car. The paddles on my '09 are one of my few beefs: I'd prefer a one-up, one for down, and I feel they should be moved opposite to how they are set up (back for upshift, fwd for downshift).

The ability of this car to seamlessly flow and surge forward on the highway is incredible....WIN for the D, and win for you for an M-sport D!
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      03-30-2010, 03:54 PM   #6
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Jealous! Jealous! of your car lol. I was chagrined to know that if I waited 3 months longer, I could've had a M-sport 335d with proper shift paddles. Tried to use mine the other day and never used them again due to irritation. Agree on the Idrive, I still can't believe that stupid magazine rags are still bad-mouthing it. I find it superior to any Garmin I've used in the past as it's much more intuitive than trying to punch in QWERTY keys on a 5" lcd. Congratz!
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      03-30-2010, 04:31 PM   #7
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Damnit, every time I see this car I want to buy a diesel, but I just can't wait that long for the prices to come down. Not to mention, your car is freakin optioned out, even with the badass m-sport package. Every diesel I can find on autotrader doesn't even have the regular sport package.

Quote:
Originally Posted by magbarn View Post
Jealous! Jealous! of your car lol. I was chagrined to know that if I waited 3 months longer, I could've had a M-sport 335d with proper shift paddles. Tried to use mine the other day and never used them again due to irritation.
There is a quick and easy mod to change your push/pull paddles to single use in the DIY section.
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      03-30-2010, 05:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcorn View Post
...Every diesel I can find on autotrader doesn't even have the regular sport package.
That because those of us with them (with ZSP) won't give them up!
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      03-30-2010, 05:34 PM   #9
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Great writeup, and beautiful car!
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      03-31-2010, 12:47 AM   #10
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Diggin that color combo, the contrast on everything is great.
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      03-31-2010, 01:05 AM   #11
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nice review!!
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      04-02-2010, 12:49 PM   #12
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Nice writeup. Thanks for taking the time to share.
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      04-02-2010, 01:44 PM   #13
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This is one well written piece Sounds like something off the pages of a magazine. Thanks for sharing.

Congrats on the new ride, I'm all for diesel power
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      04-02-2010, 01:53 PM   #14
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I think it's about time I buy one now ... thanks for the writeup!
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      04-02-2010, 02:20 PM   #15
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Nice review..
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      04-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #16
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The report is a real pleasure to read, thanks.
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      04-02-2010, 03:55 PM   #17
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Nice! Welcome to the diesel side of things.
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      04-02-2010, 05:13 PM   #18
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i've never thought the day will come that we will enjoy driving a diesel. Nice write up. thanks for sharing
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      04-02-2010, 05:20 PM   #19
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Your car SUCKS!!!!....but only because I'm jealous. You've optioned it just as I would...you lucky guy.
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      04-02-2010, 06:19 PM   #20
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Good review. Thanks for taking the time to do it.
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      04-02-2010, 10:29 PM   #21
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Thanks for the review.


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      04-02-2010, 11:28 PM   #22
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Nice review; thanks for taking the time to write it.
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