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    CHRIS GRAHAM F30 335d xDRIVE #Shadow-Edition

    CAR: #BMW-F30 335d #xDrive
    YEAR: 2018
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 4,863
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 1,073
    MPG THIS MONTH: 49.4
    COST THIS MONTH: Nil

    / #BMW-F30 / #BMW-335d-xDrive-F30 / #BMW-335d-xDrive-Shadow-Edition / #2018-BMW-335d-xDrive-Shadow-Edition / #2018-BMW-335d-xDrive-Shadow-Edition-F30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F30 / #BMW / #2018 / #BMW-335d-F30 / #BMW-335d / #2018-BMW-335d /

    This month I’ve mostly been revelling in the results of Mark Farrell’s excellent new car detail, carried out on my 335d a few weeks ago. The way his expert attentions enhanced the clarity and depth of the superb Sunset Orange metallic paint finish, is a wonder to behold! Sadly, there simply wasn’t room to do the results he achieved justice in the article. Ideally, I’d have used the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs much larger in last month’s Valeting bay feature, but there was just so much technical information to be included that we ran out of page space.

    Mark recommends washing the car every two weeks once it’s been treated with a ceramic coating, to maximise the life of that finish. So, it was with some trepidation that I tackled this recently. It was the first time that I’d had any direct, physical contact with the bodywork, having confined my cleaning activities to snow foam and jet wash up until then.

    I was careful to give the whole car a thorough rinse with the jet wash before starting, then apply a thick layer of snow foam before using a soft cotton wash pad to agitate and lift away any dirt. I also had two buckets (one with a grit guard) for rinsing and re-wetting the wash pad as I worked. Finally, the vehicle was jet-washed again before being patted dry using a large, soft microfibre towel.

    I’ve also been doing a little research into AdBlue, which is something that had more or less passed me by until getting this car. To be honest, I didn’t even realise the #BMW-335d-F30 was fitted with the system until I opened the fuel filler flap for the first time. AdBlue, which is a diesel exhaust fluid – not a fuel additive – is injected into the engine’s exhaust stream in small quantities, and triggers a chemical reaction that converts harmful nitrogen oxide into nitrogen and water.

    The fluid, which is a nontoxic solution made from very pure, synthesised urea (not pigs’ urine, as is popularly believed!) and de-ionised water, is gradually consumed as the engine runs. The level of the remaining fluid can be checked via iDrive, which will display the car’s range given what’s left in the tank, plus the amount of AdBlue needed to top-up the tank. In my case, the range is still showing >4,500 miles, and that there’s a 0.0-litre top-up requirement. The level is something worth keeping an eye on, though, as allowing it to run out will bump the engine into a limited power mode, and prevent it from being re-started when it’s next switched off. There are, of course, obvious dashboard warnings issued as AdBlue levels start to fall too low for comfort so, in practice, there’s no excuse for actually running out of the stuff.

    According to the owner’s handbook, when the #AdBlue reserve indicator on the dashboard first shows, the tank should be replenished with at least five litres (1.3 gallons), which is likely to cost about £5. The handbook also points out that it’s important to use Adblue that meets the ISO 22241-1 standard.

    Right: Sad though it may be, I’m still getting a great deal of pleasure from the depth and richness of the Sunset Orange metallic paint on my car.

    AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid is now part of my life, for the first time.
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    Josh and #Oli-Pittis #BMW-E93 / #BMW-330i-M-Sport / #BMW-330i-M-Sport-E93 / #BMW-330i-E93 / #BMW-330i / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E93 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E93 / #BMW / and #BMW-E90 / #BMW-330d-M-Sport / #BMW-330d-M-Sport-E90 / #BMW-330d-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #BMW-330d-M-Sport-Saloon-E90 /

    Is this a case of brotherly love or sibling rivalry? We’re not sure but we do know that brothers Josh and Oli have built a pair of very nice E9x Threes between them. Josh was the one who got in touch so it’s only fair that he goes first with his E93 330i, which he’s owned for over two years. This black beauty has been enhanced with, among other things, M3 mirrors, a smoothed front bumper with an Arkym carbon splitter, gloss black kidneys, allblack BMW roundels, an LCI rear light upgrade and a carbon high kick rear spoiler with a set of X5 wheels to finish things off. Inside, he’s carried out a red interior swap, which looks fantastic, and a carbon gear selector, white M3-style speedo and a 10” Alpine Type R sub completes the ensemble.

    Younger brother Oli has chosen diesel propulsion and his monochrome creation is the yin to Josh’s yang. The outside has been slathered in carbon, with a carbon bonnet, CSL boot, 335 aero diffuser, front splitter and door mirror covers, while the car has been dropped on coilovers over a set of black Rotiforms. Inside, there’s a full M3 interior swap with a full white LED lighting conversion plus a paddle shift conversion. This being a diesel, Oli’s not been able to resist getting more power out of it – he’s carried out a DPF and EGR delete and has added a hybrid turbo, a Wagner front mount intercooler and a straight-through exhaust with #BMW-335d -style twin pipes. A mighty fine pair.
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    M3-STYLED F31 335d
    Touring gets M makeover. Some may think that the inherent boxiness of estate cars is fundamentally unsporty, but #PITSTOP Performance has other ideas, as this #BMW-M3-styled 335d Touring proves… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek.

    TOURING DE FORCE F31 335d with #M3-conversion

    Estate cars, it’s fair to say, come with a certain amount of baggage. And not just the junk in the trunk, but the whole history of their being, the fundamental point of their existence: take a sensible family car, realise there isn’t enough space in there, and graft on a few extra square feet of glass and steel at the rear. Then you’re well served for carting refuse to the dump, cramming in luggage for family holidays, feeling smug in the Ikea car park while those around you try to squeeze wardrobes into hatchbacks, and everything else that goes with station wagon ownership. You buy them because you need to, not because you want to.

    At least that used to be true. Then the 1990s happened, and things started to get silly: Audi began hiding Porsches inside its Avants, Volvo dropped massive Touring Car motors into its turbobricks, and before we knew what was happening the idea of having an estate car was edging away from ‘do I have to?’ and toward ‘I really want to’.

    It’s for this reason that the base car for the project you see before you isn’t as embarrassing as it might once have been. Sure, when you note down the layout on a stark and unforgiving set of bullet points, it should be the sort of thing that’d satisfy your grandad rather than your boy-racer cousin: a boxy wagon with a diesel engine and an automatic gearbox. Hardly the stuff of schoolyard dreams is it?

    Oh, but it is. For this is an #F31-generation 335d – a car that came from the factory boasting 313hp from a 3.0-litre common-rail diesel straight-six with a pair of turbos strapped menacingly to the side. It’s got piezo-electric injectors and aluminium construction and variable turbo geometry… this is quite a long way removed from the rattly oil-burners of yore.

    The only real hurdle here, then, is its boxiness. It’s an estate car, and there’s no escaping the utilitarian vibe of that. But as any of the best tuners will tell you, hurdles are really just upstart opportunities, and Blend Maroof, owner of Sweden’s PITSTOP Performance as well as of this F31, is eager to springboard off that bland reputation and transmute it into something awesome.

    The first thing you’ll probably have spotted is that this 3 Series Touring has received a full M3 body conversion. This is a fiery move, as the fabled M badge has a tempestuous relationship with estate cars. The idea of an M3 Touring is one that consistently gets BMW fans whipped up into an excitable lather, the internet bristles with pages upon pages of forum posts and blog entries along the lines of ‘it’s the best car that BMW never built’. It does, after all, seem unfair that the wagons were left off the product planning chart, particularly given the proven global enthusiasm for hot estates; the RS4 and RS6 have paid for more than a few posh dinners in the steakhouse next to the Audi factory. And the E60- generation M5 was offered as a capacious load-lugger – V10 up front, Labrador in the back – so why not the M3? Well, it’s all down to maths, probably. Or physics. But that hasn’t stopped the aftermarket bolting together what #BMW never dared…

    “My first car was a 316ti, and from that point on I was firmly in the BMW groove,” laughs Blend. “That car was RWD, red, and a BMW, which was all I wanted at the time.

    Since then I’ve owned and modified an E61 535d, an E60 535d, an E60 M5, an E39 M5, an E91 M3, and many others.” It helps that his hobby is also his job, of course, as that provides a handy excuse to constantly be tweaking, refining, and generally getting up to a whole mess of Bavarian mischief.

    It’s worth pointing out at this point that this isn’t actually Blend’s first crack at building an M3-alike Touring; regular readers may remember his E91 335i Touring that appeared in these pages some time back, sporting genuine E92 bodywork and a menacing attitude (the eagle-eyed will have spotted his mention of the technically non- existent E91 M3 in the preceding paragraph!). “I sold that car to an amateur, who destroyed it,” he sighs, “so I told myself I needed to build another one. We have to have at least one M3 Touring in Sweden! So I started searching for a good base, and decided on this well-optioned F31 335d xDrive.”

    The car was sourced from a German dealer in mint condition, but naturally this didn’t make Blend pause as he was single- minded in his mission; indeed, he went one step further than having a plan in mind – he already had most of the parts for the project before he even took delivery of the car.

    “The rear bumper’s probably my favourite modification on the car, as I’m the first one in the world to do that,” he grins. “I also swapped the front carrier, the bonnet, wings, lights, front bumper, mirrors, side skirts, rear panel and rear doors, and then it was all painted in original Sapphire black.” A pretty comprehensive conversion – and you’ll note that he’s cheekily left the M3 badge on the grille too; something we wouldn’t normally condone on a non-M car, but given the effort that’s gone into crafting this machine we reckon he’s earned it.

    “The car’s static, running KW coilovers,” Blend explains, “because of the quality of the brand, and the fact that I’ve used them before. Also at the time there weren’t many manufacturers that had coilovers for the 335d xDrive! The wheels came at this point too, and I knew I wanted something deep concave with nice wide rears – I found the ‘right’ wheels a few weeks before the project was finished, they’re Japan Racing JR21s.”

    The rears measure a whopping 11x19”, which certainly makes the most of Blend’s newfound hip girth (not his, the car’s), and their smoky finish really works with the overall aggression of the build.

    The engine was the next item on the list, and while it may have already been packing a serious horsepower figure backed up by the trademark stump-troubling torque of the modern diesel, Blend had a few ideas to spice things up further. So now you’ll find it running a PITSTOP remap along with the company’s own custom 3” downpipe and exhaust system, along with #K&N induction and a big intercooler. Any of you who are still questioning the impressiveness of a diesel estate car as an M3 tribute will hopefully be gratified to learn that Blend’s creation will now run from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds. And that, fittingly, would match an Audi RS6. “The engine work all took about a week,” he explains, with the nonchalant air of someone who truly knows his stuff. “It runs real good, I haven’t had any problems!”

    From start to finish, the transformation took around three months, which is really quite hair-raising. Blend’s proud to say that he planned and executed all of the work himself too, with the exception of the installation of the rear panel, which was done by the paint shop while it was spraying it. And it’s impressive to note that when we ask him what more he might have done to the car if money were no object, his response is a humble “Nothing, I’ve done everything I wanted.” Although, when we press him further, he does admit that he’ll be sprucing up the interior to matching M3 spec in the coming year.

    This, then, is the product of a man unafraid to build the cars that BMW didn’t; a singularity of vision that dismisses the notion of the estate car’s perceived lack of coolness with nary a second thought. And before we have time to catch breath, he’ll be starting down the path to creating an M2 hatchback. The fella clearly has an axe to grind with BMW’s product planners, and he just cannot be stopped.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-F31 / #BMW-335d-Touring / #BMW-335d-Touring-F31 / #BMW-335d / #BMW-335d-F31 / #BMW / #Wagner / #Akrapovič / #Akrapovic / #BMW-M3-styled / #BMW-335d-Touring-M3-Styled / / #BMW-335d-Touring-M3-Styled-F31 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F31 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-F31 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo diesel #N57D30T1 / #N57 / #BMW-N57 / #N57D30 / , 3” downpipe, #DPF and #EGR delete, 3” #PITSTOP custom exhaust system with #Akrapovič tails, #Wagner-Evo intercooler, K&N induction, PITSTOP custom remap, eight-speed #ZF-BMW-Sport-automatic transmission ( #ZF8HP / #ZF )

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” ET22 (front) and 11x19” ET25 (rear) #Japan-Racing-JR21 wheels with 255/35 (f) and 295/30 (r) tyres, #KW-V2 coilovers, MSport brakes

    EXTERIOR Sapphire black, full M3 body conversion including custom rear bumper
    INTERIOR Stock

    THANKS Thanks to my wonderful wife, PITSTOP and Schmiedmann – without them the project wouldn’t have been possible, Streetwheels for the fast job on the wheels, and to all of you out there who stood by my side from the start and helped me with everything

    “The rear bumper’s my favourite modification, as I’m the first one in the world to do it”
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    Real World Performer. We try out. Birds’ divine #BMW-335d-xDrive-F30 with an engine upgrade, thoroughly revised suspension and a big brake kit. The M Cars might grab all the headlines but Birds’ tweaked 335d offers a stunning blend of performance and control to give it an unbeatable edge when the going gets tough. Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith. #2016 / #BMW-335d-xDrive-Birds-F30 / #BMW-335d-Birds / #BMW-335d-F30 / #BMW-335d / #BMW-F30 / #BMW / #BMW-F30-Birds

    If you’re experiencing a mild case of déjà vu you needn’t worry as this Alpine white F30 saloon has indeed appeared with these pages relatively recently and while it was in its early stages of development last time we drove it this is now the finished article. Those with good memories will remember that it’s a 335d xDrive and that it’s been fettled by Birds. What you won’t know, though, is that this is, without a doubt, the best diesel BMW I’ve ever driven. I was going to leave the word diesel out of that last sentence which should give you an idea of quite how good it is…

    As luck would have it, on the day we’ve reserved for our photoshoot the weather forecast is for a typically British summer’s day – rain in Biblical quantities is expected – and I’m tempted to call it off until we have a better day in prospect. It does dawn on me, though, that as this is the 335d it has the benefit of four-wheel drive so it wouldn’t actually be a bad idea to sample it in the sort of conditions where a big power rear-wheel drive machine will inevitably suffer. Armed with enough wet weather gear to clothe a battalion, snapper Smithy and I elect to head north west from Birds’ Iver HQ as the rain is coming in from the south east and there’s a vague possibility we might not get completely soaked to the skin if we get a move on.


    Negotiating the back roads towards the M40 we’re both struck by the car’s ride – it’s definitely on the firm side of the spectrum. Having said that it doesn’t crash its way over potholes or feel particularly unpleasant, it’s just significantly stiffer than the VW Passat we’ve arrived in. Once onto the motorway, though, and moving at higher speeds the low speed firmness feels like its been dialled out and we get on with the business of munching miles quickly and serenely – one of the 335d’s fortes. Economy on the run up towards Birmingham hovers around the 45mpg mark, although on the slower trip back south that edges ever-closer to 50mpg, which is seriously impressive given the F30’s performance potential.

    Smithy’s eager to know what’s been done to the car so that he can compose a mental short list of what he needs to snapped before the rain inevitably arrives, so I run him through what we’re sitting in. First up is the performance boost, which is the only upgrade the car had when we drove it a few months back. In a nutshell this offers 380hp and 575lb ft of torque – hugely impressive gains of 67hp and 110lb ft. To this Birds, and its tuning partner Quantum Tuning, have added a larger intercooler to ensure that these gains can be replicated in all temperatures and conditions, and you can just spot this through the central front air intake in the lower front bumper, but it’s subtle stuff.

    Kevin Bird is a strong believer in properly fettling a car and in many cases he’d definitely recommend that other areas of the car be upgraded before you start looking for more power and he’s particularly keen on fettling suspension, expending a huge amount of energy in finding the optimum setup. In recent years he’s become increasingly disillusioned with off-the-shelf components, often finding that a one-size-fit-all solution just doesn’t reap the sort of dividends he’s looking for. In the end he realised that there was nothing available in the aftermarket that would fully satisfy his needs so he now develops a bespoke suspension setup for each new model range if there’s a demand from customers. Working in conjunction with spring and damper manufacturers and suspension guru Rhoddy Harvey-Bailey, Kevin’s setups have impressed us every time we’ve driven a car that’s been upgraded, so we’re keen to discover if this is the case with the 335d.

    Interestingly, even though we drove #Birds 435i quite some time ago Kevin was somewhat troubled to find that what necessarily worked on the 4 Series didn’t translate to the 335d and it quickly became apparent that the four-wheel drive machine’s setup was actually quite different to that of the rear-drive Coupé. We won’t delve too far into it here (partially as Kevin doesn’t want to give away all his secrets!) but there’s lots of talk about how what used to be called bump stops are now acting as secondary dampers and that the anti-roll bar setup that works perfectly on the 435i seemed to unsettle the 335d. The bottom line is that this car now wears bespoke springs and dampers to Kevin and Rhoddy’s specification but its anti-roll bar setup is currently as per the standard machine. Lastly on the suspension front are a set of non-run-flat tyres – this upgrade would be the first thing Kevin would recommend to anyone not happy with their car’s setup.

    The exhaust on the car is a twin outlet item that’s been modified from a 435i and it does give a better look than the standard 335d’s pair of pipes that emerge from the rear valance next to each other on the left-hand side of the car. Quite why BMW has changed the design from the E9x generation of 335d is unknown – there certainly doesn’t seem to be any technical reason as far as we can tell. Kevin was originally going to design a new exhaust, but in the final analysis he reckons that as every customer is looking for something slightly different the development cost simply wasn’t justified and he thinks that BMW’s own M Performance items are probably the best way to go as he couldn’t design a better setup for the same sort of outlay.

    The last item on the upgrade list is a set of serious stoppers. This is something that will no doubt be needed if you’re planning to use the car’s improved performance. For this application Kevin has optioned a set of Alcon discs and callipers, with the discs measuring a meaty 365x32mm, which certainly look the part nestling behind the 19-inch M Sport alloys. For cars equipped with 18-inch wheels there’s a slightly smaller 343x32mm kit, while for those customers who really want the ultimate in stopping power there’s also an optional 343x28mm setup for the rear.

    While we’ve delved briefly into the performance on the run up towards the Midlands neither Smithy or I are desperately keen on getting a thorough soaking so we peel off the motorway and head to our intended photo location. I get busy with the cleaning gear while the cameras are set up and by the time we’ve shot the statics and the detail images there’s a very faint dusting of drizzle starting, which is fine by me as I’ll be able to sit in a nice warm interior for the rest of the shoot. Smithy looks less pleased as he’ll be standing in a field taking action shots as I fly past. And it’s perhaps for this reason that he deems a short stretch of road with corn fields in the foreground and background as being suitable for some moving sideon shots. He then proceeds to tell me I need to be going as fast as possible so it looks dramatic which will be tricky given it’s a short piece of road…

    Fortunately we’re in the middle of nowhere and there’s no one else on the road to witness the bonkers acceleration this 335d is capable of. It’s an absurdly simple process: turn the car round, plant size 10 on throttle, leave it welded to the bulkhead while the tyres find traction on the now slick Tarmac and hold onto the steering wheel for dear life for the fear that were it not for the driver’s seat backrest you’d now be sitting in the rear seat. Kevin’s timed this thing at 4.1 seconds from rest to 60mph, and if anything that seems conservative from where I’m sitting. The absurdly rapid acceleration does bring into focus the hope that those Alcon stoppers are up to the job as at the end of the short straight is a tight 90-degree left hander but I shouldn’t have worried as time after time they wash off the excess speed without breaking into a sweat and this is backed up by a very reassuring pedal feel, too.


    Once Smithy’s happy he’s got some suitable panning shots in the bag we move onto the cornering and while the rain has eased a little and the roads are just a little damp, the way the 335d xDrive goes about its business is deeply impressive and very entertaining, too. You need to do a little bit of recalibration work within your brain to get the best out of the car because if you approach the corner in a typical rear-wheel drive manner you’re simply not allowing the chassis and drivetrain to shine. Flooring the throttle in a rear-wheel drive machine too early in the cornering phase will lead to either a dollop of understeer or a tendency for the car to want to swap ends, especially in the wet, but with the four-wheel drive chassis in the 335d you need to feed the power in early and the front axle digs in and pulls you round the corner. Once you’ve got the hang of the correct technique the 335d makes ridiculously short work of corners and the way it’s happy to change its course through a series of right-left-right direction changes is even more impressive than the way it handles individual corners. Perhaps the icing on the cake is that it’s not an entirely sterile experience as you still get a decent amount of feedback through the seat of your pants about what the chassis is doing and there’s enough of a rear-drive bias to get a modicum of movement from the tail as you exit corners. The fact it can do all this in increasingly inclement conditions must mean that this has to be one of the fastest ways of crossing the countryside once the weather’s closed in. And the very damp Smithy, who I pick up after the last run for the camera, shows that the weather has now really caught up with us.

    With no more prospects for photography other than an in-car driving shot we head back to Iver and consider Birds conversion for the 335d. The complete kit as we’ve tested here will cost a smidgen over £8500 (including parts, labour and VAT), and while that’s a sizeable chunk of cash it does elevate the 335d xDrive from being a very good car into a truly exceptional one. If you’re in the market for an upgraded 3 Series we’d urge you to try this car as we reckon that once you’ve sampled its delights you’ll be as smitten as we were.

    CONTACT: Birds Tel: 01753 657444 Web: www.birdsauto.com / #Birdsauto

    The 335d makes ridiculously short work of corners.

    TECH DATA #Birds-B3-3.5x / #Birds-B3-F30
    ENGINE: Straight-six, turbodiesel / #N57
    MAX POWER: 380hp
    MAX TORQUE: 575lb ft
    COMPLETE CONVERSION: £8515
    INDIVIDUAL COMPONENTS
    ENGINE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE 380HP: £2496
    B3X SPORT SUSPENSION: £1682
    ALCON AE BRAKE KIT FRONT, 365X32: £3380
    19-INCH TYRE SET, CONTI SPORT CONTACT 5: £1460
    OPTIONAL EXTRAS
    ALCON AE BRAKE KIT REAR, 343X28: £2810
    ALCON AE BRAKE KIT FRONT, 343X32 (FOR CARS WITH 18” WHEELS: £3110)
    B3X ANTI-ROLL BAR KIT: £1037
    EXCHANGE QUAIFE BMW FINAL DRIVE: £2016 (All prices include parts labour and VAT)

    Reworked 335d xDrive offers stunning ability in the corners with astonishing grip and plenty of poise; ride is firm, but not unduly so; twin exhausts look much better than the production version.

    The way the 335d xDrive goes about its business is deeply impressive and very entertaining too.

    Right: Q Sport intercooler can be seen nestling behind front air intake Below: engine looks entirely standard; Alcon brakes sit behind standard 19-inch M Sport alloys equipped with non-run-flat tyres.
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