• (4.7) 31 reviews
  • Inventory Prices: $7,845–$19,553
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 29
  • Engine: 265-hp, 3.0-liter I-6 (diesel)
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
2009 BMW 335

Our Take on the Latest Model 2009 BMW 335

What We Don't Like

  • Small cabin
  • Folding backseat not standard
  • Manual transmission shifter is too tall
  • Top-down chassis shudder on rough roads (convertible)
  • Polarized sunglasses make audio display's readouts disappear

Notable Features

  • New diesel-powered 335d
  • Restyled exterior
  • Revised iDrive system
  • Various body styles
  • RWD or AWD

2009 BMW 335 Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

A few years ago, I drove a European-spec diesel BMW 5 Series. I walked away impressed with its power and refinement, thinking it was the kind of diesel-powered sedan an American luxury-car buyer could appreciate. We'll find out soon enough, because BMW is launching a diesel-powered luxury sedan in the U.S. for the 2009 model year, the 335d. It's not based on the 5 Series, but on the compact 3 Series platform.

Like the 5 Series I drove, the 335d sedan offers performance that will entice U.S. luxury-car buyers, along with all the driving fun you'd expect from a sport sedan like the 3 Series. What's more, it gets an EPA-estimated 23/36 mpg city/highway.

Sounds pretty good, right? It is — until the inevitable question comes up: How much? With a base price of $43,900, the 335d is about $2,000 more than a twin-turbo gas 335i, which is a fun car to drive in its own right. That premium is offset somewhat by a $900 federal tax credit, but when you factor in the reality that diesel costs more than gas these days — and is often harder to find — more than a few buyers might not think it's worth the effort to own a diesel car.

A New Look for 2009
The 3 Series received a number of styling changes for 2009. The 335d benefits from the changes, which included a restyled hood, headlights and front bumper that make for a more streamlined appearance.

There are changes to the sedan's rear styling, too, including new taillights that incorporate LEDs, and revised bumper and trunklid styling. Even though the changes may sound minor, they result in a car that's more aesthetically pleasing — and interesting — than before (see a side-by-side comparison with the 335i).

One Torquey Beast
Many U.S. drivers spend a lot of time mired in stop-and-go traffic, and that's the driving situation where diesels shine. That's thanks to their prodigious amounts of torque at low engine rpm when compared to similarly sized gas engines, which helps diesel cars feel quick from a standing start. For example, the 335i's twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder produces 300 pounds-feet of torque at 1,400 rpm. That's pretty good low-end power, but the 335d, which also uses a twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder, generates 425 pounds-feet of torque at a slightly higher 1,750 rpm.

What does this mean in everyday driving? Well, it means you feel like you have one of BMW's V-8 gas engines under the hood when accelerating from a stop or powering past another car — the diesel engine drives the rear wheels that strongly. BMW cites a zero-to-60-mph time of 6 seconds for the 335d, which is about a half-second slower than a 335i with its optional automatic transmission (the 335d only comes with an automatic, which could be a deal-breaker for some BMW enthusiasts).

There are other differences between the two cars in terms of the driving experience. In the 335d, you can hear the characteristic diesel hum in the cabin and feel a mild vibration whenever the engine is running. Neither of those things is obtrusive or excessive, but they remind the driver what kind of engine is under the hood.

If you're familiar with diesel engines, you know that in the past you sometimes had to wait to start while the car's glow plugs warmed up. That's a non-issue in the 335d, as the diesel engine fires immediately when you press the start button on the dash. The air temperature dipped into the teens during my test of the 335d, and even at those low temperatures it started like any gas car would.

Old diesel cars could be easily identified by the sooty, smelly exhaust spewing from their tailpipes, but with modern diesels, that's a thing of the past, too. Sure, we've all seen tractor-trailers and buses that look like they're burning coal based on what's coming out of their exhaust pipes, but a lot of technology has gone into cleaning up diesel exhaust. That's been done through the use of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, particulate filters and exhaust after-treatment systems.

The 335d features a particulate filter and exhaust after-treatment system that sprays AdBlue (you might know it as urea) into the exhaust, making ammonia. The ammonia acts as a neutralizing agent, changing harmful nitric oxides into water and nitrogen. With this technology, the 335d meets diesel emissions standards in all 50 states.

The AdBlue tank needs to be refilled, but there's enough of the solution onboard that BMW says it can be done at oil-change intervals (13,000 miles) in most cases. Increasingly insistent warning messages will appear when the solution is nearly depleted, and BMW says that if the car is turned off after the AdBlue tank is completely emptied it won't restart. AdBlue refills are included in BMW's maintenance program, which covers routine service and certain wear items for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Unlike other variations of the 3 Series, the 335d comes standard with an automatic transmission (others have a standard manual transmission). It's a good automatic; shifts are smooth, and they happen when you expect them to. The transmission includes a Sport mode that changes the shift pattern, letting the diesel rev higher before upshifting. As the diesel makes most of its power low in its rev range, however, I tended to leave the gear selector in Drive. Steering-wheel paddle shifters that perform the same function as the gear selector's clutchless-manual mode are optional.

A Handling Champ
Even though BMW put a different type of engine in the 335d, it's retained the high level of driver involvement that made the 3 Series a respected performance car — one that's used as a measuring stick when rating the capabilities of other sport sedans.

Key to the 3 Series' engaging personality is communicative steering that provides the driver with a good deal of feedback, along with a weighty feel to the steering wheel. The 335d's rear-wheel-drive chassis empowers its sporty intentions by offering good front-to-rear weight distribution.

Another important component of the 3 Series' handling abilities is its suspension tuning, which is definitely on the firm side when equipped with the optional Sport package. This package features a sport suspension, sport seats, special exterior trim and 18-inch wheels shod with performance tires.

BMW does a good job tuning the suspension so it offers enough damping to prevent the ride from getting harsh while still allowing drivers to feel the road. If the roads you regularly drive are in good shape, the Sport package should be fine.

The Inside
There's little on the inside of the 335d that separates it from a regular 3 Series. The fuel gauge has "Diesel" script in the middle of it, and the tachometer redlines at a comparatively low 5,000 rpm, but otherwise you'll find BMW's characteristic use of good materials; my test car had real aluminum trim on the dash, doors and center console. Fit and finish are also befitting a car that comes with a luxury price tag.

The 3 Series isn't a big car, and its interior feels smaller than competitors like the Infiniti G37 sedan. I'm 6-foot-1 and could feel the cabin's close confines around me, but I was able to get settled. The backseat, likewise, is on the small side.

The biggest improvement by far in the 3 Series' cabin is the new iDrive multifunction control system, which is included with the optional navigation system. The system's primary interface is still a large knob on the center console, but BMW has significantly revised the menus on the dash-top screen, making it easier to move around various systems, like the stereo, and make selections. It's more intuitive overall.

Cargo
The 335d's cargo area measures 12 cubic feet, which reflects the sedan's compact dimensions. The opening to the trunk is pretty large, which should make it easier to load luggage. A fixed backseat is standard, but a 60/40-split folding backseat with a pass-thru is a $475 option.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has designated the 2009 3 Series a Top Safety Pick, as it received Good overall ratings — the highest score possible — in its frontal-offset, side-impact and rear crash tests.

The 335d comes standard with antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags, an electronic stability system and active head restraints for the front seats.

335d in the Market
Diesels have a bad rap in the U.S. That's something the 335d is going to have to overcome to find success here, even though the car puts to rest the outdated perceptions people have had about diesels.

Diesels aren't the only alternative-fuel powertrains in luxury cars. Lexus, for one, is taking a different route by adding hybrids to its lineup with the likes of the GS 450h sport sedan. Like the 335d, the GS 450h exacts a price premium over a conventional gas model — it's about $3,000 more than the V-8-powered GS 460, which offers similar power — and delivers gas mileage that's 15 percent better. The 335d, meanwhile, gets 38 percent better fuel economy than the 335i, though some of the cost savings are diminished by the higher price of diesel; if you drive 15,000 miles per year you'd save a little over $200 per year in fuel based on current national averages for diesel fuel ($2.39 a gallon) and premium gas ($2.02), the latter of which is what the 335i burns.

The 335d is only offered as a sedan right now, but the 3 Series lineup as a whole is BMW's most wide-ranging — it's offered in sedan, coupe, wagon and convertible forms — as well as its best-selling. The new 335d gives the brand another way to attract customers, but even though I like its performance — both in terms of its efficiency and its power — I'm skeptical that it will attract more than a small following.

Send Mike an email 


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Consumer Reviews

(4.7)

Average based on 31 reviews

Write a Review

Most excellent road handling and power for class

by davejp from fort worth, tx on December 7, 2017

Great power, very underrated by BMW. This car is a rocket. Handling is amazing. Looks great, always gets stares in traffic.

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1 Trim Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2009 BMW 335 trim comparison will help you decide.
 

BMW 335 Articles

2009 BMW 335 Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on BMW 335 Base

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on BMW 335 Base

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Other

Head Restraint
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
A
Driver Torso
A
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
A
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on BMW 335 Base

Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on BMW 335 Base

Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 9 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,100 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

48mo/50,000mi

Powertrain

48mo/50,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

48mo/unlimited

Free Scheduled Maintenance

48mo/50,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years