The 335d was a bit of an oddball on the American market. It was the highest performing diesel version of the E90 3 Series, and BMW sought to see how Americans would receive a top range diesel car. Diesels are huge in Europe, but have a much smaller market share here in the States. Considering that, along with the fact that the 335d was a higher-end model 3 Series, it comes as no surprise that they were not BMW’s biggest seller. That means that today, here in 2013, 335ds are rather uncommon on the used market. It also means that we have to change the way we look at the car now that it is only available pre owned.
Those people who did buy 335ds will absolutely swear by them. To most uneducated Americans the notion of diesel power evokes thoughts of black smoke and the loud rattle of a dump truck. Anyone with actual experience in a modern diesel car will tell an entirely different story. They will tell you about the solid performance, and incredible fuel economy, about a car that both runs clean, and is great fun to drive. Diesels like the 335d are sort of a insider secret in America, those who know, know, and those who don’t know waste their money on (mostly) gutless hybrid cars.
I had driven a 335d once before, but only very briefly. I decided to go out and try another one for two reasons: First, to see how it fairs in the context of the used market. Second, to compare it to the new F30 3 Series that I reviewed recently. Lets face it, BMWs are very overpriced brand new, with all kinds of options that nickel-and-dime you to death. A smart car buyer knows that BMWs should be purchased secondhand, with low mileage and some remainder on the factory warranty. By doing this, you save yourself the vast depreciation that comes from spending so much on all of those fancy options, as well as the BMW brand mark up. I will go into the specifics of this for the 335d later on All you need to know for now is that 335ds are currently right in the sweet spot of the secondhand BMW market.
BMW has always held a special place in my list of carmakers. After the end of WWII, they were in tatters, like the other German car companies. But, in the 1960s and 1970s, their commitment to making cars that could make the driver grin endlessly (for a price) gave them a reputation of being a bit of an upper middle class car guy’s hero, in that for the price of a Cadillac or a Mercedes sedan, you could get a car that was capable of brightening your melancholy day with just a squeeze of the gas pedal and a turn of the wheel. But that was nearly 40 years ago, and based on what I’m seeing in the news (and what I’ve driven in the past year or two), I’m skeptical of their old motto. Read the rest of this entry »
This video is extremely entertaining, and it is good to see a proper driver driving a proper Bimmer (E34 M5) like he’s just robbed a bank or something. This video is just plain epic, but it is surely one of those things that walks a very thin line between awesome and insanely stupid. We don’t recommend any of you go and try this for yourselves, this guy was reckless enough for all of us, I think. Enjoy the hoonage.
Two great BMW sports cars of the same lineage. The 507 came about in the mid 1950s, and its legendary status was achieved in hindsight, after its short production run had ended. The Z8, a halo sports car for the millenium, was a retro throwback to the 507, designed by Henrik Fisker. It is always interesting to see a classic design that has been modernized, and both of these cars are quite sexy. BMW had them displayed together at their factory museum, so visitors to compare for themselves. Enjoy the pics. Read the rest of this entry »
The 3 series is basically the standard of the world in terms of what defines the sport sedan segment. Over the years it has offered the simple package of a commuter car, but was also great fun to drive. Many competitors have tried to take on the 3 series at its own game, and currently there are a few that really do compete. There is, however, a reason why BMW’s ace in the hole has been so formidable over the years; it’s a tough nut to crack. I recently went and drove this 328i xDrive both as a direct comparison to the Cadillac’s new ATS, and to see how well the newest 3 series carries the torch of its revered lineage. Read the rest of this entry »
BMW has always been one to beat for sports sedans. They pretty much invented the segment back in the late 1970s when the first E21 3-Series rolled off the production line. Since then, the lineup has expanded to include more body styles, more engines (including diesels and now the first-ever hybrid model), and along with that, more features and a higher price. Competitors have stepped up their game, including Lexus, Infiniti, and Cadillac, all of whom tried to unseat the E46 and E90 series 3er’s, but never really succeeded. This year, the 3-series got a big makeover, and I decided this spring, not long after they hit the streets of NJ, to try one out for myself.
The BMW 6-Series can be a tough car to really pin down. Based on its market price and its layout, it is a direct competitor to cars like the Jaguar XJ and the Porsche 911. That said, its size is on the big side for a personal coupe, yet it wears its size well. I was at the Greenwich Concours and BMW had this and a 750i available for test drives, so I took the plunge and gave this rather expensive droptop a good shakedown. Then, I got a chance to drive a 750i, equipped with xDrive AWD, the long-wheelbase body, and the M-Sport trim (an interesting combination that should definitely go over well in the Northeast, where AWD is an important selling point). I took each out and asked myself a question: These two cars are based on pretty much the same platform in different lengths–which one does the job that it sets out to do in the better manner, and which one is actually better overall? I was surprised by the results. Read the rest of this entry »
Here is Day 2 of the Greenwich Concours, which was reserved for foreign cars. Day 2 was nearly a washout when a freak rainstorm put everyone under the tents, but by the time the rain ended, the awards ceremony started and all was well again. There were a few frankly gorgeous cars at the show that day, and the clouds made them stand out even more than usual. Enjoy the gallery–Best Of Show is also included, a stunning 1938 Horch. Read the rest of this entry »
We were in attendance for this year’s Concours d’ Elegance in Scarsdale, NY. This show is one of my favorites because the venue and time of year are just perfect for this sort of event. The Fall air is a bit crisp, the trees are turning all sorts of beautiful colors, the town is quite nice, and the cars are incredible. This is an overview gallery of the event, and certain cars will get their own features later on. Enjoy.
This is a big moment for American auto industry, one that can mark a turning point toward success or a continued trend of let downs in the luxury market. Obviously the big comparison is with the BMW 3 series, and I have been very unimpressed with the comparisons done by large publications so far (favoritism and bias run rampant over objectivism and sense). So, I went out and drove the ATS and BMW 3 series back to back to see what I thought from the driver seat. I’m not going to string you along, I liked the Cadillac better, and I will explain why in the paragraphs that follow. Read the rest of this entry »
Chris Harris once again getting paid to do something fun for Drive that most of us would all happily do for free (not to undermine him in any way). Enjoy.
This summer I was fortunate enough to see two of these 3.0 CSL “Batmobiles”. One was on display at the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany, and the other was actually racing at the Lime Rock Historic Festival. The one in Germany was the first of these “Batmobiles” I had ever seen, and I was nothing short of blown away. I spent around an hour and a half just taking the car in, and I was almost late for my factory tour because of it.
On the track this car sounds phenomenal, I could literally hear it all around the track from one location at Lime Rock. I was told the car that was racing had a 480hp, fully built naturally aspirated inline six, and a only weighed 2300lbs. It was absolutely flying around the track, passing the competition left and right.
Check out the sights and sounds from the track, and see more photos from the museum below. This is a truly stunning car, enjoy.