New York Times: Behind the Wheel – 2009 BMW 335d and X5 xDrive 35d

BMW X5 | May 10th, 2009 by 0
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During one of the worst economic crises of our times, BMW North America has released two highly awaited diesel vehicles: BMW 335d and X5 xDrive …

During one of the worst economic crises of our times, BMW North America has released two highly awaited diesel vehicles: BMW 335d and X5 xDrive 35d. Over the course of the last few years, many BMW loyal fans have requested some popular European diesel models to be brought to the U.S. and everyone became excited when the first rumors of a late 2009 launch appeared.

Unfortunately, the timing issue might not have been in BMW’s advantage, especially when the gasoline prices dropped significantly at the end of last year, while the diesel gallon price was still high. Of course, these product launches follow a timeline and things are set in motion months ahead of the launch date, even years for certain vehicles, so we have to admit that it is difficult for any auto manufacturer to predict these situations.

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While no one has really argued the pros of a diesel engine, efficiency and clean technology, there were many consumers worried about the performance and higher upfront costs. In our BMW 335d test drive at the L.A car show, we stated that if you are in the premium market, and you’re looking for something fun, sporty, luxurious, and in the same don’t like hybrid Toyotas and Lexus’s, the 335d is worth a shot. BUT…we also said that if you already own a 335i and love driving manual transmissions, then take a rain check this time.

As far as the X5d goes, we haven’t had much experience behind its wheel, but this will change shortly when we will take it across the coast in a unique review, so stay tuned for more details in the upcoming weeks.

Now let’s see if New York Times agrees with us and hear their opinion on the BMW 335d and X5d.

BMW’s dual entries — the 335d sedan and the tongue-twisting X5 xDrive 35d sport utility — struck me as perhaps the most desirable specimens yet.

I want their performance, which stacks up against BMW’s enthusiast-endorsed gasoline versions. I need their fuel economy, especially the stellar 37 miles a gallon on the highway that I received in the 335d. But on the rare occasions when I stopped to refuel, my ballad-worthy love for the Bimmers was soured somewhat by the volatile price of diesel. At the pump, these BMWs — like their counterparts from Audi, Mercedes and Volkswagen — turn into nutty spouses on a credit-card binge.

Nutty has been the word for diesel prices. When I reviewed the VW Jetta TDI diesel on these pages last November, diesel fuel sold for $2.95 a gallon nationwide, compared with $2.05 for regular gas. That huge premium wiped out the Jetta diesel’s considerable mileage advantage. And since the diesel model costs $700 more than the gasoline version (accounting for its $1,300 alternative fuel tax credit), its money-saving argument seemed less compelling.

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