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.
Mercedes-Benz isn’t all what it seems. While some may mock it for expanding the E-Class range to a coupe and a convertible, and some may question it for offering AWD on the AMG products, no one will see me on that side of the line. In fact, I’m the one doing the slow clap. Mercedes is taking a lesson from its rivals, Audi and BMW, and using the best of what it’s learning. The German luxury market is changing, and Mercedes is keeping up with it in an exemplary way–but the new E63 is proof that they’ve got their ears to the streets and listening to the good word. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
This is my Mom’s Volvo S80, and it seems very boring. It is beige, one of a few selectable shades of beige, and it looks just like every other Volvo on the road. Volvos are known for very solid build quality as well as their huge emphasis on safety; they are great cars but they generally aren’t synonymous with the term “exciting”. Looking at this S80 you can see the design is very conservative, and while it does have clean lines it is still basically the same exact car Volvo has been making for years. It would seem then that this S80 is just a continuation of mundane motoring from Volvo, and hardly worth a second look. However, after 9 years with this car, I can tell you that is definitely worth a second look because this beige Volvo has some extra tricks up its sleeve. Read the rest of this entry »
BMW has made its fortune on being a performance brand, and the 135i is the cheapest way to get the N55B30 engine in BMW’s lineup. The 1-Series has been around since 2008 in America, and has been reasonably successful in the USA. Since I felt like seeing what the turbocharged inline six felt like in BMW’s lightest 4-place car, the 1-Series was a natural fit. I was not disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »
I have never really been the Rolls Royce type as far as my outlook on both cars and life are concerned. I don’t like snooty, I’m better than you attitudes, and I don’t like relying on other people for getting around. Traditionally, Rolls Royces were the absolute embodiment stuck up, high society who were above having to drive themselves places. Maybe that is why I never really liked the Phantom, especially after I drove it. It is built more for the person riding in the back than for the person at the wheel, and to me that is all wrong. With the Rolls Ghost though, BMW has had more influence in the design, so the result is a car that is both knocked for sharing parts with lesser machines, but is also much better to drive. Read the rest of this entry »
A solid video showing the build and the car in action. The thing is seriously fast. Enjoy.
Back in August, Nick and I were at the Pebble Beach Concours, as most of you know. The day we arrived, we got hosed by Air Traffic Control, and missed the debut of the Cadillac Ciel concept car. When we both saw it in the flesh the next morning, I was smitten. While GM is calling it a strict concept, I think that it really does represent a lot about the future of the Cadillac brand in two or three different realms. Read the rest of this entry »
There are many an oxymoron in the automotive market. Some of them include the “car-based pickup” (Honda Ridgeline, Subaru Baja), “sports-activity vehicle” (BMW’s SUVs), and the strangest one of all, the so-called “four-door coupe.” Mercedes-Benz virtually invented the latter back in 2004 with the new CLS model, a four-door sedan designed to moonlight as an exclusive, stylish personal coupe. It was a hit with buyers, and Mercedes saw fit to redesign the car for the 2011 model year. Mercedes-Benz had the top-dog, $100K CLS63 AMG for test drives at Pebble Beach this year, and I was only happy to oblige. Read the rest of this entry »
This car is linked heavily with the Bugatti EB-110 covered previously. B. Engineering, an Italian firm made up of many ex-Bugatti engineers, designed a chassis based on the design of the EB-110 in order to make an extremely exclusive supercar that would commemorate the turn of the 21st century. They called their car the Edonis, and while it did share its chassis design with the EB-110, major changes occurred everywhere else. Read the rest of this entry »
The purpose of a car is to serve as a form of transportation that can take people and their things hundreds of miles with ease. As a basic rule, the average person needs such transportation to be practical, affordable, and useful in all of their daily personal functions. So what happens when a car is none of these things? What happens when a car becomes more than a bunch of nuts and bolts and is liberated from the chains of mundane reality by the vision of a single man whose passion knows no boundaries? The answer is that the car itself becomes the focus rather than the destination of travel. When not governed by real world concerns a car is free to become a living, breathing work of art, more something to be experienced than a tool to be used. It ventures into the realm of the extraordinary in a world so held down by the lame nature of the masses. Read the rest of this entry »