2009 BMW 335d
2009 BMW 335d. Click image to enlarge

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First Drive: 2009 BMW 335d
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2009 BMW 3 Series

Oshawa, Ontario – Long a staple in Europe, diesel engines are slowly trying to make their appearance in the mainstream North American market. North American and Japanese automakers offer diesel-powered cars in overseas markets, but here, it’s strictly Teutonic right now: the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTec, and my tester this time around, the BMW 335d sedan.

There’s a bit more selection in the SUV market, and of course among heavy-duty trucks, but that’s it for now when it comes to cars, at least until the new VW Golf is released. In Europe, there’s a wide range of small-displacement diesel engines, in some very small-footprint vehicles, but the Canadian strategy is currently toward larger and more upscale ones, including the 335d’s 3.0-litre turbodiesel.

2009 BMW 335d
2009 BMW 335d. Click image to enlarge

The 335d is based on BMW’s lightly restyled 3 Series, all of which carry inline six-cylinder engines: the 2.5-litre 323i, 3.0-litre 328i, and twin-turbo gasoline 3.0-litre 335i. While the 328i and 335i can also be ordered with all-wheel drive, the 335d is strictly rear-wheel. The premium for the diesel is $800: the 335i starts at $48,900, while the 335d’s tag begins at $49,700. Those two models are similarly equipped, especially since the six-speed automatic that’s the only choice in the 335d can be added as a no-charge option to the 335i right now (BMW says it’s a $1,600 value). The only differences are in some trim items: the 335i has real leather upholstery, while the 335d has “leatherette” chairs, and the 335i has standard Bluetooth and BMW Assist as standard features. All three can be added to the 335d at extra charge.

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