So, this week I was at the LA Auto Show with Horatiu. We spent time at BMW’s release of the all new 2009 7-Series and a big surprise to go along with it… An all new Hybrid 750Li. The biggest news, at least to me, was the new 335d. Horatiu and I took one around Los Angeles to see if this car could help change the misconceptions about diesels here in the states.

BMW has been out of the American diesel market for around 20 years now. And to mark their triumphant return they are giving us the twin-sequential-turbocharged 3.0L diesel engine for the newly refreshed 335 and the new X5. The engine puts out a decent 265hp and an all too fun 425lb-ft of torque. They are only offering automatics with the new diesel. I was disappointed, but once the engineers explained it to me, I was kind of forced to respect and understand it.

The reason, you ask? Well, it makes a lot sense. First off, no BMW manual has to do with 425lb-ft of torque. And, if they had a manual that would work, it would be extremely heavy. Heavy enough to put the already hefty diesel over the 4000lb mark. It’s already about 3800lbs, or so. The weight reason just so happens to be the second reason. But, there is some cool news to report about the automatic. It’s smooth. It shifts smoothly and faster than any 3-Series automatic out there. Which brings me to the news, it’s an automatic from the upper 5 and 7-Series cars. Those are the only automatics in BMW’s stock that can handle the high amount of torque.

What were my overall impressions? Outside of almost crying when told that I couldn’t have my manly manual, I really liked it. I loved the sound the engine and exhaust made. It had thy noticable diesel hum and jitter, but nothing annoying. It was actually quite pleasant. One reason the new car is so heavy, besides the diesel engine and all its accessories, such as the urea system, is the amount of sound deadening that was added to make all those pesky Americans happy enough to not get annoyed with the diesel sound. But, if you’re like me, and you enjoy a good diesel sound, you will not be left unhappy. Keep the transmission in the lower gears and hear that diesel purr like no other in the world. Unfortunately, due to being in heavily populated and an always high police presence, I stuck to the speed limit and didn’t push the limits too hard. But, from what I could feel, the overall feel and abilities aren’t much hindered from the normal 335i. And, this diesel we drove didn’t even have the sport package.

What’s the final impression: if you are in the premium market, and you’re looking for something fun, sporty, luxurious, and, like me, don’t like hybrid Toyotas and Lexus’s, go ahead and give the 335d a shot. Your wallet will be a little less fat with the $44K MSRP, but your gas card will cool down. BMW says to expect a little over 580 miles to a tank of gas, but I say drive it right and you’ll hit 650-700. Maybe more. BMW did tell us that their test drivers have been able to achieve averages of around 40 mpg on the highway.

But, if you’ve already got a 335i, like Horatiu, keep it. You’ll miss the manual and possibly the 300hp.

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