I have read on many websites that the steering is heavy, have you found this to be true or is it OK?
Have just seen your comments and hope this note will be helpful. The mpg is astounding for a car of this performance... if I stick rigidly to the speed limits mixing town and countryside I can get between 37 and 39 mpg. Drive really hard and it will dip into the top 20s.
The steering. No I don't notice it in fact it has more feel than average, but if you are used to speed sensitive power steering it will feel a little on the heavy side, but not a problem. I recall you could have a speed sensitive system if you wanted it by my salesman advised against it. I tried one with that system and the 'feel' was lost.
So impressed am ordering an M3 provided I can get a semi auto option... and Audi RS4 where's your auto box??
I totally agree with the comments made here... at the moment the 3 series with this engine has to be the pinnacle of high performance diesels.
Whilst I have yet to drive one, my dad has recently taken delivery of a 335d M Sport Coupe (replacing a 2005 M3 Coupe). Each time I have been a passenger in the car I have been blown away at the performance of the car, no lag, great noise (but very quiet) and power all the way through the rev range. The engine alone is truly an engineering masterpiece.
When you consider that the car has an autobox, is capable of cracking 60 in 5.9 seconds (62 in 6.1 for the sticklers among you) and is limited to 155mph, it is realistic to see (even under relatively enthusiastic driving) 40mpg, that in my mind is more than just impressive. Comparatively my own 2007 Astra 1.8 petrol only manages 28mpg.
The way in which it gathers crazy speed in such a hushed manner is actually frightening (certainly for those wanting to keep a clean licences) and the auto-box is so good (fast, smooth, well judged changes, with an excellent manual mode) that it's just as well that BMW don't have a manual that can cope with the 427lb/ft worth of torque as you wouldn't want it.
Not once have I heard any words of dis-satisfaction or remorse in trading the M3 in against this car. On the road it's performance is so strong and exploitable I would imagine there is not a great deal to choose between the cars for outright pace... all this from a car that has family car fuel economy and a 500+ mile range :-)
Re: comment on 320d fuel economy - I get 48pmg on a long run and average about 37mpg. Don't know how you were managing 23mpg!
I agree. Even when doing continuous 0-60 runs, you should still get about 23mpg, so in normal driving you should get far more.
Re 320D MPG, I get just over 50 on a long run and just above 40 about town with an E46 Sport manual.
Now thinking of a new car, but I want a manual gear box, so it looks like the 330D; pity the 335D isn't available with a manual gearbox.
Finally, I wish BMW would do a metallic red in the sports models.
My '08 320d is averaging 44 mpg so far with a mix of town and motorway use, although it still only has 2,000 miles on the clock and should improve as things loosen up.
I find it very hard to believe that the 335d with twice the power, an extra 1,000cc, another turbo and an automatic geabox averages 37 mpg. I don't doubt it can do it, but an average? Really? How do you drive it?
I own a 335D with 10000 miles on the clock. I drive probably 60/40 split in town and motorway, and currently average 30mpg. I must admit that I don't drive to conserve fuel as the torque eggs me on.
I chopped in an RS4 for for the BMW. I miss the V8 rumble and the huge thrust in 6th gear which the RS4 had. I don't miss 18mpg though, and a snatchy clutch and manual box.
I suppose the disparity in fuel costs balances the true cost of fuel somewhat, so actually it's not all that different is it?
I agree that the steering is heavy around town. I'm not convinced about the immediacy of the small turbo spinning up either. I still think that at junctions you need to allow an extra second to get things revving, or you do end up making cars on your right brake and swear.