PLAYING WITH THE BMW 335D
Italked about this last month and at the time I really didn’t think it would have happened so quickly, but I pulled the trigger and picked up a diesel Bimmer. After breaking a planetary in my 7.3L’s transmission, and with my other truck under the knife, I needed a car and fast. So the BMW dream became a reality. I’ve been shopping online for one off and on for the better part of a year and I found that there’s really not a ton of them out there. Go search for an ’06 Ram and you’ll find thousands for sale, but a 335d? Not so much. There’s really only a handful available at any given time and most require a plane ticket to check them out in person. So I had already prepared myself for the inevitable trip across the country to pick one up. But when the time came, the best one I could find after factoring in vehicle options and price was in Burbank, California, only a few miles away from me. That’s some amazing luck to say the least. I ended up finding a 2011 four-door Sport model in Space Grey Metallic, with only 50k miles, for much less than $20k. Thing is basically brand-new.
So far it’s been great. Gobs of torque (428 of them to be exact)—the traction control is getting a workout, as breaking the rear tires free is just too easy. It gets great mileage (28 in the city), looks good and is a blast to drive. But…
I’m a truck guy. I’ve owned 12 vehicles (only including the 4-wheeled variety) in my life and two were cars…well sorta. One was a Ranchero, so fine, one car and one car with a bed. After driving a car every day for the last few weeks while the 7.3 was getting a new tranny, driving my truck again was such a huge difference. I know, I know… we all know this happens, but it really was a trip how huge the difference was. I had gotten used to being low, tiny, fragile and insignificant, and had forgotten what it felt like to be able to see several cars ahead of me in traffic, to be larger than most vehicles on the road, and to be able to drive over almost anything without
worrying about significant damage (to my truck at least). Plus, the feeling of safety you have in a large truck is just non-existent in a small car.
Do I like driving my truck more? It’s not even a contest, yes all the way. But the diesel Bimmer is just something so completely different, and I’m finding that no matter the situation I’m grabbing the BMW keys much more often than the truck keys. Guess I’m a car guy now…
The first few mods for the new whip will be aesthetic while I get used to the car, learn the drivetrain, and find out what these cars do and don’t like modification wise. Not making any uninformed decisions with this one (famous last
words). I plan on only doing things once versus the way I’ve built so many trucks: several different turbos, several sets of different sized injectors, several different lift kits, yada, yada, yada. It looks like a good cleaning of the intake to remove Egr-related soot will be first, with the obligatory intake/tune/exhaust coming next. I’m going to see just how much power I can get out of the stock injectors before going big, hit it with a larger fuel system, intercooler and then modify the factory turbos. We’ll see where that gets me. Oh yeah, did I mention that these cars come from the factory with compounds? Never thought my first set of compounds would be in a car. They’re tiny—44mm on the atmospheric—but they light
instantly and actually put out around 28 psi with a stock tune. In the end the goal is going to be somewhere around 400 hp. It’s 280 hp at the crank now. From what I’ve seen this will be fairly easy to achieve, as all the mods required are really no different than with diesel trucks. It’s a common rail, so tuning should be cake, and drivability at twice the factory horsepower should be amazing. It’s going to be a fun year learning a new platform. Stay tuned.