NUTS & BOLTS
Specs on the 2011 BMW 335d
Bottom line: This is one of the best midsize sedans ever. It's pricey. And maybe it's a bit silly to lease one when there are so many worthy, less-expensive midsize sedans available, including a couple of diesel offerings from Volkswagen (the Jetta TDI sedan and Jetta TDI SportWagen, both with base prices under $30,000). But none of those has the driving feel of the BMW 335d. It may be okay to be a little bit silly for this one. Check your discretionary spending account.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride and handling are excellent. Acceleration literally moves from okay to superior. You have to drive it to believe it.
Head-turning quotient: The 335d looks like a 3-Series BMW, the world's most successful group of entry-level luxury cars, which means it speaks for itself.
Engine/transmission: The 335d driven for this column comes with a standard 3-liter, 24-valve, double-overhead cam, twin-turbocharged, in-line six-cylinder diesel engine (265 horsepower, 425 foot-pounds of torque). It has a six-speed transmission that can be operated automatically or manually.
Capacities: There are seats for five people. Maximum trunk capacity is 12 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 16.1 gallons of the required ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel. In the United States, ULSD refers to diesel with sulfur 15 parts per million, compared with traditional low-sulfur diesel (LSD) fuel with sulfur, a smog-causing element, of 500 parts per million.
Mileage: In mostly lightly loaded highway driving -- one passenger, no cargo -- I averaged 36 miles per gallon, in line with federal estimates.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, emergency braking assistance, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, side air bags, front and rear head air bags, driver and passenger active head-restraint whiplash-protection systems, fog and cornering lights, and tire-pressure monitoring.
Price: Base price is $43,950. Dealer's price for the base model is $40,435. Price as tested is $49,275, including $4,450 in options (onboard navigation, silver metallic exterior paint, power side and rear shades, keyless entry, electronic parking proximity warning system) and an $875 destination charge. Dealer's price as tested is $45,360. Rebates totaling $4,500 were available at this writing.