By on September 11, 2006

front-again.jpg Chris Bangle’s designs are still a shock to the system. I still cringe whenever one of the BMW's “flame surfaced” 7 Series hoves into view. I still shake my head when I catch a glimpse of a 5 Series’ mascara headlights. I still avert my eyes when any of his models drive past, for fear of glimpsing the rightfully reviled “Bangle butt.” So I was flabbergasted when I encountered the new 335i coupe in the metal. From its balanced proportions to its elegantly cut creases and demure posterior, it’s a stylishly conservative yet sporty design. Was Mr. Bangle on vacation when The Board of Directors approved this machine?

There’s another pleasant surprise when you open the 335i’s door: no iDrive. As BMW is currently upgrading its navigation system to include real time traffic reports, early coupes are blissfully free from the dreaded electronic verruca vulgaris and the binnacle bulge needed to contain its screen of impenetrable wonders. Wow, I can control every system in the car just by pushing a clearly marked button placed handily on the dash before me. What a concept! There’s even a cute cubby where the iDrive might otherwise have been.

0733_02.jpgAnd that’s it for warm fuzzies. The rest of the 335i’s interior is best described as workmanlike. The well-tailored leather, for example, is about as sensually satisfying as a business class airline seat. There’s also an unwelcome lack of attention to detail. The window controls are set too far forward on the doors. There’s a large blank plastic spacer covering the space for rear window switches. On the positive side, the 335i boasts the best stereo of any 3-Series BMW ever. Outward visibility is also outstanding; the 335i’s greenhouse reminds me of the old 2002.

The 335i holsters the world’s first direct injected twin turbo inline six. The 3.0-liter engine’s 300hp output slots between the 330i sedan (255hp) and the as-yet-unpriced and unavailable next gen M3 (400hp). So, for an extra $4k above the 330i's sticker, you lose a couple of doors and gain… torque. LOTS of torque: three hundred foot pounds of the stuff.

Fire-up the 335i and there’s no indication you’re in for a WWF-style body slam. The powerplant is quiet and still, in the great BMW tradition. Give it some, and the 335i starts as it means to finish: assaulting your neck and body with shove, shove and more shove. The great bugbear of turbocharged motors– a lag between low rev thrust and high rev insanity– has been slain, skinned and made into an attractive throw rug. The Bimmer’s blown engine accelerates from any speed to any speed with unrelenting urgency, without the slightest hesitation whatsoever. There’s little turbo whistle either– just a mellifluous resonance that morphs into an unearthly mechanical howl.

side1.jpg Everybody is going to love this engine. The 335i ambles about town with mindless ease, goes like Hell, and delivers unimpeachable fuel economy. (I measured 28 mpg over 50 miles on a green engine.) Before driving the 335i, I leaned towards smaller engined BMW’s, just to listen to those wonderful straight sixes wind out. So much for that, This motor altered my paradigm in a major way. The 335i's six-speed automatic gearbox is also a revelation. The aluminum paddle shifters may look like they were designed by HR Giger of Alien fame, but the transmission upshifts flawlessly and blips the throttle for perfectly timed downshifts (note to BMW: add SMG to the list of technology I can live without).

As you’d expect, the 335i’s dynamics are pretty much flawless. The brakes are a tad too taut for stop-and-go traffic, but they achieve perfection when the pace quickens. Likewise, the steering is too firm at low speeds but just right in every other situation. With less than 3600 pounds to toss around, carving corners in the 335i is as smooth as writing on copier paper with a fine pen. Despite run flat tires, BMW has cracked the code for simultaneous plushness and road feel. In fact, the 335i drives like a sort of gentleman’s M3: relaxed and serene when you want to kick back, maniacal and focused when Mr. Hyde rears his ugly head.

rear.jpgThe 335i is the best driving BMW I've ever driven, and among the top three automobiles, I’ve experienced this millennium. It's a killer app that simply spanks the competition. In case I haven’t been clear, the BMW 335i Coupe is the best way to spend $40K – $50k on an automobile and feel like you got a bargain. It’s more fun to drive than cars twice its price (650 anyone? Nope.). The 335i is fast, comfortable, economical and good looking. And if you forego satellite navigation, there's nothing to remind you of those “other” BMW’s.

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97 Comments on “BMW 335i Review...”


  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Now if I could only afford one. That engine is going to be sweet although I’d give it a couple of years to let BMW work out the kinks. Also not everyone hates the Bangle designs. Some who would not have considered a BMW before would consider one now due to them. Of course other BMW faithful may be in the other camp. The 3, 5, and 6 series look great to me. It wil be nice to see the 335i sedan come out. Too bad the 328 is the only one to get AWD.

  • avatar
    KWRussell

    This isn’t the first twin-turbo inline 6. I’m not sure who was first, but Nissan started running a 2.6l twin-turbo I6 in the Skyline GT-R sometime in the late ’80s.

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    didnt the last gen supra come with a 3.0l I6 TT?

  • avatar

    Well, someone should tell BMW. This from their website:

    “It features the world’s first inline six-cylinder engine with high precision injection and twin turbo chargers.”

  • avatar
    Hutton

    The distance from the door cut to the tail is ackwardly long, they need to chop that trunk a few. I think this design would work much better as a hatchback.

  • avatar
    bripab007

    Well, it is the first twin-turbocharged inline-six with direct fuel injection…just not the first twin-turbocharged inline six.

  • avatar
    lwells

    As others have pointed out, Jay has obviously misread BMW’s spiel. First twin-turbo i6 with direct injection… the qualifier is important.

    I measured 28 mpg over 50 miles on a green engine.

    50 miles, or 500 miles? 50 miles isn’t much of a test.

  • avatar
    Rakinyo1

    Nice write up Jay

    I was teary eyed after reading it the second time. I wish BMW could get the repair cost down. My only hesitation in ownership is how costly it is to maintain this “ultimate driving machine. Still a blast to own Im sure.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    I am traditionally a normally-aspirated engine sort of person, but I am interested in this engine – if they put it in the 3-series wagon. I could then order a 335i wagon, sport package, no iDrive and European Delivery, please. Other than that, I’m not sure I will be selling my E46 330 sedan anytime soon.

  • avatar
    Doogs

    I wasn’t a big fan of the coupe’s look when the pictures were released. Something from the doors back just didn’t do it for me.

    But this weekend I saw one in the flesh for the first time and…wow. The pictures do not do this car justice whatsoever. In person the proportions are absolutely pitch perfect. If I could afford one…I’d be seriously tempted.

  • avatar
    lth

    I like the look of the car, but I’m still curious as to what the new M3 will be like. I’m a sucker for strong v-8, rear wheel drive, and 6-speed manual in a sedan.

    On another note, the interior picture is for an E46 3-series and not the new 3-series.

  • avatar
    ChartreuseGoose

    Man, that’s the most positive review I’ve ever seen on TTAC.

    Makes me wonder what they could do with a 1-series 2-liter four with the same two small turbos….

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    Am I delusional from lack of caffiene this morning or is that the interior photo from the last 3 series. I thought they redesigned the interior?

  • avatar
    Tiger Commanche

    Lexus and Infiniti are getting more horsepower out of their naturally aspirated 3.5 liter sixes, and that was probably the reason Automobile Magazine promptly took their 335i to the dyno to test the stated 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. As many of you have probably seen by now, the car dyno’d at 350 hp and 360 lb-ft.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    My only hesitation in ownership is how costly it is to maintain this “ultimate driving machine

    I disagree with the cost of ownership being high. Compared to most other vehicles, the cost is comparable to other makes. Also, remember BMW gives free maintenance for 4 years or 50,000 miles for everything except tires and brakes.

    I owned a used 2001 325i. As two examples, I paid $100 for the 45,000 mile service (oil, filter, and inspections) and $360 for the 60,000 mile service (new oil, filter, cabin microfilter, spark plugs, air cleaner, and inspect almost everything on the car).

    I also had a 2006 Toyota Avalon. The recommended services included $60 5,000 mile service (oil, filter, inpsection), and $260 30,000 mile service (not sure of content) and more expensive 60,000 and 90,000 mile service.

    So, for the first 60,000 miles on a new car, the BMW would cost $360 (the first 50,000 miles are free. The Toyota would cost over $1,500 for the first 60,000 miles, and it gets worst from there. My Ford F150 costs as much or more than either car. Of course, all this assumes you follow the recommended maintenance for your car.

    I think what usually happens is that BMW, Mercedes, and other luxury car owners tend to follow the recommended maintenance schedule and other car owners SOMETIMES do not. Therefore, there is a perceived cost associated with luxury car lines that really doesn’t exist. Most people I know DO NOT follow the recommended maintenance schedule for their vehicle. They change the oil and filter and that is it.

  • avatar
    usa1

    Yep. Wrong interior picture in the article. Too bad the new 3 series interior is actually worse looking that the previous one. Straight from the 1970′s of forgotten (for a reason) interior styling. It may look good in a $15K car, but it’s inexcusably cheap looking in a $35K car.

    Mark

  • avatar
    TheOne

    That interior looks basically idential to my ’02 325i sport. I have to say that I have not warmed up to the look of the new 3 series yet. The coupe does look nice but the 328i with the usual option with tax is just over 46k. The 335i with the usual options and sales tax runs around 49k. Even for bmw that seems a bit high.

  • avatar

    Text amended (first fuel injected twin turbo I6) and photo fixed (Bimmer doesn’t have a pic of a wart-less 335i).

    Tough room.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Looks like the G35 still can’t match the Gold Standard of small luxury-sport coupes. Nice writeup, Jay.

  • avatar
    passive

    Not too expose my Nissan-fanboi roots too much, Sajeev, but have you, or Jay, driven the new G35 coupe? My understanding is it doesn’t exist yet, so while it sounds like it will have a long climb to unseat this monster, I’ll wait to hear how well it compares, especially considering the probable price difference.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Well ya got me there.

    But unless the new G35 has a boosted-V6 (or the M45′s V8) with a powerband as fat as the Bimmers, its gonna be real tough. Sure its got the chassis, but the G35 has a “peaky” by nature powerplant. I’ll go ahead and say it: its gonna be impossible.

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    I am eager to drive the 2008 Infiniti G35 Coupe. I have always liked the the look of the car (although my wife thinks it looks like it was designed for gangsters). My overriding issue with the existing chasis is that Nissan cannot seem to design sporty cars with a ride quality acceptable as a daily driver. I seem to bounce off the ceiling of the 350Z and its sister G35 more often than I care to.

  • avatar
    Rakinyo1

    I think what usually happens is that BMW, Mercedes, and other luxury car owners tend to follow the recommended maintenance schedule and other car owners SOMETIMES do not. Therefore, there is a perceived cost associated with luxury car lines that really doesn’t exist. Most people I know DO NOT follow the recommended maintenance schedule for their vehicle.

    Thanks TexasAg03

    I vicariously live through those who own or know someone who owns a BMW. I own a Toyota and other then buying an extra key at $88(ouch) I have no complaints as long as the maintenance is routine. This past weekend I met a Ferrari couple(late model Modina). The husband rattled off Maintenance costs that made me cringe. He never lost his smile though…ownership does have its privelages.

  • avatar
    mart_o_rama

    D’oh! Now there’s another car besides my S4 that can accomodate both the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in me…

    While i’m at it, are there any other suggestions for ambivalent drivers?

    Agree with Hutton, a bimmer 2-door coupe looks weird. In photos that is.

  • avatar
    o_fizzle

    That’s a great looking car. I also have not been a fan of Mr. Bangle’s designs. But I feel that the new 3-series, including both the sedan and coupe, are improvements over the previous generation. I think the front-end looks especially elegant. If I had the cash, I’d probably hold off for the M3, but the 335′s engine is definitely something to lust after!

  • avatar
    GodBlessTTAC

    “Robert Farago:
    Text amended (first fuel injected twin turbo I6) and photo fixed (Bimmer doesn’t have a pic of a wart-less 335i).”

    just looked at the site. seems they do have a pic and its nice

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Robert…

    Not to beat a dead horse here, but it’s NOT the first fuel injected twin turbo inline 6. The aforementioned Skylines and Supras were all fuel injected.

    The difference BMW is touting is DIRECT injection, as opposed to traditional port fuel injection with the injectors placed in the intake manifold, aimed at the back of the valves. BMW marketese is “High Precision Injection,” and the benefits of this setup are huge in the setting of a forced induction motor, among other things, allowing the use of a higher compression ratio for improved economy and off boost response.

    Also…it’s spelled “VerRuca vulgaris.” ;-)

  • avatar
    pswillb

    If it drives as well as it sounds, the looks should not be a deal killer. Although, the door position in the side view definitely looks odd…too far forward. The panel between the front door cutline and the front wheel opening is too short, and the one behind too long. Maybe it has something to do with the upcoming convertible version which doubtless will have a folding hardtop.

  • avatar
    Rob P

    World Wrestling Federation (WWF) changed their name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in the spring on 2002 due to on going legal troubles with the World Wildlife Foundation (also WWF, but now World Wide Fund for Nature, WWFN) over use of the logo and name WWF.

    Just FYI, this isn’t really “Cars” but does fall into the “truth” catagory.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    “Put it all together and I have to say the 335i is the best driving BMW, and among the top three best automobiles, that I’ve experienced this millennium.”

    I’ll bite, Jay; what were the other two?

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    I am already on record with the VW GTI, Porsche 911 and Mercedes E Class diesel as my faves. The BMW 335 and the Mercedes CLS 550 are the two best I have reviewed this year and would slot somewhere on this list.

  • avatar
    Doogs

    “Although, the door position in the side view definitely looks odd…too far forward. The panel between the front door cutline and the front wheel opening is too short, and the one behind too long.”

    Thought so too until I saw one driving around (twice!) over the weekend. What looks awkward in pictures looks balanced, well-proportioned and, honestly, a little bit mean in the flesh.

  • avatar
    ktm

    Sajeev, the Nissan powerplant is anything but ‘peaky’. Such a comment indicates that you have never driven a VQ35 equipped car. In the 350z, 80% of its peak torque is available at 2000 rpm. How is that ‘peaky’?

  • avatar
    ktm

    I am very excited about this car. It is making me consider buying a BMW again after my earlier fiasco with a 2002 325Ci.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    As far as ownership costs of BMWs, I think it’s hit and miss. Edmunds.com spent a little over $2000 on their pre-owned BMW in unscheduled maintainence and repairs.

    On the other hand, and this story is anecdotal, a friend of mine leased an E46 325i (it was the year they went from 323 to 325). It had very few options: Cruise control, sunroof and a tiptronic auto. During his three year 36,000mi lease of the car, he went through three sets of tires and two sets of brake pads. In fact, the only major items on the car that needed replacement was a new splash guard (pidgeon @ 92 mph) and breaking a transmission mount in half while attempting to recreate a Scandanvian Flick in the middle of a Dakar Rally re-enactment. The very last time I rode in the car, it still rode and drove as if it was almost new, with the exception of clunky noises indiciative of worn bushings. This one was built in Germany.

    On the other hand, a friend of a friend, his 328i suffered from small electrical glitches and miscallenous problems, some most likely caused by the Dinan supercharger (and some by leaving a screwdriver on top of the engine fan). He sold it for an SMG M3, which as far as I know, has been totally reliable. I think this one was built in South Carolina.

  • avatar
    bodayguy

    I too would wait and see what the new G35 coupe has to offer, especially if it’s $10,000 less.

  • avatar
    ktm

    Areitu, my history with BMW was not as, shall we say, joyful. Within one month of ownership it was in the shop 4 times. The last time it went in the ECU died on me while I was doing 65 mph; the speedometer, tachometer, turn signals, climate control, radio, damn near everything stopped working. This was on a Friday evening around 5:45.

    I nurse it to Irvine BMW and they quickly scan the computer only to come back and tell me that, yep, your ECU died. “We don’t have any parts in stock and the earliest we can get a part is Monday. We’ll give you a loaner but you’ll have to pay for it on Sunday”……excuse me?

    The other problems were a bad driver side power window harness, driver side seat belt mechanism would not retract the belt, and one other item.

    Still, it was a fantastic car to drive and I thoroughly enjoyed my time whenever I was behind the wheel. My biggest complaint against the 3-series is that they were underpowered and overpriced compared to the offerings of Lexus and Infiniti. Looks like they finally woke up and looked around the market.

  • avatar
    Droptop

    Drove one on the road course at Pocono Int’l this past week. Very good stuff. And quite the style icon, too.

  • avatar
    Rakinyo1

    Ran out to test drive the new coupe. It was much more then I expected. THe 335 6 speed demo is already to be sold at the end of this month.
    We drove out 15 miles and I never left 4th gear. Its responsive,quick and sticks to the road. A little cramped but Im a big guy. I believe Jay covered wonderful points, it you have a dealership near I highly recommend test driving one.

    The sales lady and I stayed out for about half an hour taking turns driving. She covered some good points on the vehicle.

    I have to agree with bodayguy, I would like to see the g35 coupe.

    Becky, the sales woman said for $2000 grand you can get the 4 year full service extended to 6/100,000 miles. Meaning you pay for no maintenance even when you get the car paid for.

    Is it wrong to hope that the g35 coupe will be bland and uninspiring?

  • avatar
    Dr. No

    The coupe is so much better looking than the sedan. The interior appears flat though, and it isn’t helped by materials befitting a Nissan instead of a bimmer.

    I’ve owned 3 series’ bimmers for many years, and my experience bears out those who claim bullet-proof reliability. Too, maintenance is free for the first 4 years, 50,000 miles, so I don’t quite get those claiming it’s expensive to own. Depreciation is low relative to other performance cars (in the top 10), and this is a key metric for determining the true cost of ownership.

    Financial considerations aside, this car looks like a winner from a driving perspective…no easy feat considering how well its predecessor performed. The bar is raised.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Hate to interrupt the Love Fest, but do any of you remember what BMW did to TTAC and it’s readers ?

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    ktm: I drove a G35 coupe and you had to wait until 4000+rpm for the thing to get moving with some authority. Disclaimer: I drove an automatic, the manual would fare better.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    ktm,

    “Peaky” is a very subjective term. To those of us weaned on V8′s, the VQ’s are indeed down on torque…but they are impressive for a n/a 3.5L motor. However, compared to the table flat torque curve of the 335′s twin turbo motor…the VQ is a freaking Honda S2000. Boost is boost…it is a replacement for displacement.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Oh, and I’ll say that the Saturn Aura’s 3.6L V6 has notably more low-end grunt compared to an automatic G35…sure its missing 30-ish horses, but there’s no waiting, the Saturn is always good to go.

  • avatar
    wharvey

    Nice review! As a long term BMW customer I am happy to see that the company has toned down the styling of the 3 series coupe. I had an E60 M5 on order but cancelled the order because of the aggressive styling, SMG transmission, i drive, and no badge delete option.
    Is it true that this car is being sold without a limited slip differential? Without a limited slip diff, the car will be worthless in adverse weather conditions and will be frustrating to drive aggressively.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    wharvey,

    I agree the LSD is desirable for the enthusiast driver, but BMW’s DSC takes the white knuckle factor out of driving in the wet. It is actually too intrusive in my 2003 M5, intervening even on quick 2-3 shifts on dry pavement and pulling the plug on the power.

    I’m hoping the new 335′s electronic aids have a higher threshold for intervention, or the option to disable the traction control while maintaining the stability control, as on the Corvette.

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    There is a dichotomy to owning a BMW. First off, everyone assumes you are a jerk yuppy (I am still wondering what is wrong with being young-urban and professional). Lately, you have to wade past I-drive, Bangle-butts, run flat tires, active steering, SMG, etc. I think the engineers need to wrest back control from whoever seems to be leading this fine company astray. Oh yes, the PR flacks need to move on.

  • avatar
    wharvey

    doctorv8,

    The dsc is intrusive in the e39 M5 but at least we can turn that off. The white knuckle factor you refer to in the E39 M5 is because the car is heavy and does not provide much feel through the steering wheel compared to earlier BMW’s. The problem with the electronic nannies is in the end you still have only 1 wheel drive. For performance driving and in adverse weather conditions the limited slip diff is a must!

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    wharvey,

    I agree with you, but unfortunately, more and more manufacturers are relying on the electronic bandaids in lieu of a proper limited slip diff. Hell, I have a CL65 that delivers DOUBLE the torque of an M5 (738 ft lbs) from its twin turbo V12 to an open diff. Amazingly, though, it launches well with the Mercedes ESP keeping both wheels right at the edge of wheelspin, unlike the all/nothing phenomenon of the E39 M5′s DSC. I’m sure the cars tremendous weight helps in this regard as you mentioned.

    The reality is that for most, modern stability control systems are more than adequate in slippery conditions. But BMW’s and AMG cars are supposed to be for driving enthusiasts!

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    I’m hoping the new 335’s electronic aids have a higher threshold for intervention, or the option to disable the traction control while maintaining the stability control, as on the Corvette.

    Unless they’re different from the sedan, you can shut off traction control while maintaining stability control. Just press the DSC button once. If you want to disable everything, press and hold until the indicator lights up in the dash.

  • avatar

    I drove a 335i six-speed manual. As Jay says, no lag. I’m not as crazy about the styling. Past coupes had a more aggressive look to them. This one’s a bit soft.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    Is it true that this car is being sold without a limited slip differential?

    From the M5 features list on the web site:

    “All Season Traction with M Variable Differential Lock”

    And from bmworld.com:

    ” The Variable M Differential Lock recognizes the differential speed building between the driven wheels and generates pressure in an integrated shear pump. This pressure activates a multiple plate clutch via a piston, and conveys drive forces to the wheel with better grip, according to the difference in wheel rotation speed. In extreme cases, the entire drive forces may be transmitted to the wheel with a better frictional coefficient.”

    So it is better than a limited slip differential. Limited slip diffs only transfer torque from the wheel with less traction. If that wheel has NO grip, and thus no torque, there is nothing to transfer. That is why the GM locking diff works so well. My F150 has the limited slip, and in some cases it will just spin one wheel.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Texas Ag03,

    I don’t think there was any question that the M5 has a limited slip diff. I was merely discussing the E39′s intrusive DSC. wharvey posed the question of why the 335i doesn’t have an LSD.

    Thanks for the info about the new 3 series DSC modes. I’ll have to try that out on the X3 loaner car I’m driving today.

  • avatar
    ktm

    I owned a 2003 350z with the 6-speed manual and I currently own a 2005 FX35. In between I owned a 2002 Audi S4 with the bi-turbo V-6.

    The power delivery in the 350z was very linear. What most people are not aware of when they drive the 350z (and G35 most likely) is that it has a linear throttle. That is to say, give it 10% throttle and you get 10% power; give it 90% throttle and you get 90% power. In order to extract the full performance from the car, you have to floor it.

    After the initial launch, you do not feel as though you are climbing the torque curve, unlike a true peaky engine (or your typical boosted engine). It is very deceptive. Say that, I will agree that my automatic equipped FX35 does feel peaky.

    doctorv8, I am fully aware of the benefits of forced induction. I absolutely loved my S4. However, it did not have the variable blade geometry that benefits the new 335Ci. Full boost in the S4 did not occur until around 4200 rpm. It was a rush once you were on boost needless to say. I was merely calling out that the VQ engines are not peaky.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    ktm: they aren’t peaky compared to some older designs, but after my time in an Aura an older Altima 3.5 and the G35 (auto), GM has the V6 flat powerband thing nailed, better than the VQ. And power delivery is a matter of personal taste, just like color, styling, etc.

  • avatar
    ktm

    I agree about the power delivery. It took me a while to get used to driving my Z. It felt “slow” until I trained myself to punch it if I wanted full power.

    Ironically, the S4 suffered from a syndrome where you acheived maximum power at 90-95% throttle. If you gave it 100% throttle, you only received around 80 to 90% power. It was a very strange phenomenon. The fix was quite simple: cut a rubber stopper to fit over the kick-down button.

  • avatar
    orbitmonkey

    Maybe I’m jaded, but I believe that BMW’s image amongst hardcore enthusiasts has been suffering so badly after several years of Bangal stewardship that the somewhat safe and less-sucky 335 appears to be something amazing. I have not driven one yet and will hold off final comments until I do, but even that said, I suspect the enthusiasm being expressed in the media and online for this car is in some large part affectatious.

    All the sudden after spending years bashing Audi for using turbos, BMW realizes its peaked its NA engine in the 3 series. Oops. Now the world is so impressed with its engine. Wowweee.

    The BMW 335 may very well be an excellent car, I have no doubt about that. But I seriously doubt that it exceeds anything offered today by the B7 S4 model, and yet you would never know any better from reading this review or others like it.

  • avatar
    Chadillac

    Originally by: Robert Farago
    Text amended (first fuel injected twin turbo I6) and photo fixed (Bimmer doesn’t have a pic of a wart-less 335i).

    Tough room.

    ———————-

    Umm, I have a 91 Supra, single turbo, with fuel injection. I would assume that the later Twin-Turbo Supra’s would have FI as well. Also, the Supra TT’s were sequential-type, since you say these have harly any lag, I’m assuming these operate in sequential too, right?

    And ‘direct fuel injection’ was mentioned. What’s the diff between that and regular Fuel injection? Is there one?

    That said, I absolutlely hate the face of the 3 series. This one is the only one I’d consider, mostly cuz it isn’t overly ‘flame surfaced’ (read: retarded lines in places they shouldn’t be) and it doesn’t suffer from the boring as hell taillight syndrom its other 3 series mates have.

    It is a bit soft, but I won’t bash it too bad. I already have enough hate for the rest of the line up to cover this one as well :-)
    -Chad

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Chad, see my post from 9/11 at 3:04pm. Might answer some of your questions.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    I have only one issue with the S4, and that is gas mileage which is atrocious. The 335i allegedly gets 30 mpg which is outstanding for a car like this with 300 hp.

    Due to the high depreciation of Audis, you could get a 1-2 yr old S4 with low miles for about the price of the 335i. Now which would I rather have??? But for the gas mileage and concerns about how the S4 was driven, my money would go towards the S4.

  • avatar
    Nopanegain

    Hey Chadillac,
    The turbos on the 335i are not sequential, but rather each pressurize a bank of three cylinders. However, the advent of variable area turbine nozzles help to reduce the effects of turbo lag to almost non-noticeable levels. This essentially takes the place of sequential turbos. Turbo technology is growing by leaps and bounds, and I am personally excited to see more OEM turbocharged engines.

    Direct injection was eloquently explained by doctorV8 above, but it essential means the fuel injector sprays the mix directly into the combustion chamber rather than the intake manifold. Some differences with the Supra engine, but the net result is the same- BOOST IS GOOD!

  • avatar
    crackity jones

    I think Orbit Monkey makes a good point. I don’t necessarily love the 3-coupe’s gestalt, and the idea of turbo is worrisome. But I sure hate it the least!

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    Just got back from my dealer from test driving a 335i. I drove the 6-speed auto with sport package (their manual demo didn’t have the sport package).

    That engine is like a controlled industrial explosive charge. My word, that engine felt as big as my S62 V8, but because this one was not a manual, it spurts to felonious velocities without giving you much notice… you lose count of the gears shifted because of the reduced involvement. We took off and within moments I was committing felony while spurting superlative expletives.

    Then I did the lug test. Yes, it lugs without hesitation in sixth gear at 1200 rpm. Just the recipe for economy (and law-abiding status). Yet it was not a complete dog at 50 in sixth. Not bad.

    Oh, and those paddle shifters work in the same way that the non-M SMG cars’ paddles do. Either paddle will handle both upshifting (pull) as well as downhifting (push). Transmission response felt instantaneous compared to the 2006 E60 N52 525i auto I had today as a loaner.

    The onboard fuel computer indicated that the cumulative average for that dealer demo car was 12.9mpg. Pretty good indicator of the ravishment it has endured thus far from prospective buyers and tire-kickers. But yet, not bad mpg considering it has spent most of its life near redline so far.

    Handling? Typical 3-series taut and chuckable. Not much more than ginsu carving through traffic for me this time ’round.

    The verdict? This car (and its motor) is so much fun that it doesn’t matter what you think of its styling and interior ergonomics… it’s still feels like “da bomb” behind the wheel. Buy it in gray so you’ll stay off the cop radar!

  • avatar
    Hab BMW

    I’ve had mine for about a week and a half now and this is an extremely fun car to drive. It is everything good that I have read and heard. I have driven both M3′s and M5′s and the 335I is right there in the “Get’s your blood racing” category. It has the 6 speed manual transmission and that adds to the driving enjoyment for me.

    I can believe the results of the 350 HP and 360 ft lbs of torq results from the dyno test. When you decide you want to go fast, you better hang on, because it plants you in the seat.

    I can honestly say this is the best car that I have ever owned and this is our 5th BMW along with many other cars.

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    I just took my own advice and purchased one of these and am very happy with the driving experience. One note- in order to avoid the stiff steering issue at low speed, I selected a car with active steering- I disliked this in the 5 and 6 series but find it lots of fun in this car, maybe something to do with the steering radius of the smaller wheelbase car.

  • avatar
    Flyingfiz

    I’ve owned a 330ci for 3yrs & traded it on a 545i sport, because I wanted the push in the back of a BMW V8. I’ve now had it a couple of years and very happy.
    But in a moment of weakness I ordered the 335i (sport – auto with paddles). Haven’t seen or driven one yet (not in land of OZ) and I was thinking that maybe I had made a mistake – that it couldn’t be like the 545 V8 for power & responsiveness. But what I’m hearing from most of you is that it should be better and should also be a sportier drive & cost less at the bowser.
    So I can’t wait (Nov delivery) – but can some one tell me if it sounds any good when pushed hard, I’m going to miss that nice V8 burble when I hammer the 545 & trust that the 335 doesn’t sound too weak

  • avatar
    Flyingfiz

    Jay,
    Should have added in my last comment/question that I thought your article the best I had read on the 335i, having ordered one I’m keen to get some firsthand feedback & was getting very tired of reading motor journos cut & pasting the (very dull) official BMW media release & adding a couple of words to the start & finish.
    I just discovered this site , but I’m sure you can add me to your car tragics & faithful follwers!

  • avatar
    citkane33

    Funny you guys in the U.S. are able to test-drive the 335i coupe already, here in Deutschland, nationwide presentation at the dealerships is this week (entry models only) and the 335i will not arrive at my dealership until late October.
    What strikes me as even weirder is the fact that the MSRP of the 335i that I ordered today (without having tested it of course) is a striking 67.800,00 US$ in Germany. The car isn´t even fully loaded, left out the automatic transmission (2500 US$) and a couple of other options. Makes you wonder… Anyway, every single BMW ´that I tested and/or owned for the past 20 years was an absolute pleasure to drive, so there´s no doubt in my mind that it won´t be the case this time :-)

  • avatar
    qeorqe

    Nicely done don’t you think?

  • avatar
    KnoxTn

    >>[Carzzi] We took off and within moments I was committing felony while spurting superlative expletives.

    I did the same thing. I currently have an M3 and it doesn’t paste my back to the seat like this car. The dealer drove it out to a back road and handed me the keys. On the way, he popped it on a 4-lane and I was muttering swear words while the car went from 40 to over a 100 in a thought.

    I bought one.

  • avatar
    Flyingfiz

    To KnoxTn,
    Are you talking about a current model M3?

    If so It’s going to cause owners of current M3s to order the new V8 M3 so as to stay ahead of the non M pack – maybe that’s the plan.

    I also hear that the engine chip industry (one of the big players anyway) has a chip for the 335i to give it 250kw’s or over 390bhp. Now that’s going to hussle!

  • avatar
    Flyingfiz

    Make that over 350hp – it’s still going to hussle

  • avatar

    I never join chat groups, so this is only because I am so impressed with this assessment. Montreal doesn’t seem to have any 335is available to road test so I had to go to Syracuse, NY to try one at Burdick BMW. I can’t believe how Mr. Shoemaker’s view so completely echoes my experience. We must be twins. He has nailed it. This review precisely reflects my exposure.

    To add perspective, previous BMWs include a 94 325i, a ’97 M3 sedan and an ’02 325iT. Non Bmws include several FF and FB race cars from the 70s, a Datsun 240Z, Lotus Elite V8(!), Nissan 300 twin turbo, NSX and Audi S4.

    When the new generation was launched, I wanted to get a 3 series, well understanding how BMW keep raising the bar and inventing things I didn’t know I needed, but there’s no way I could live with the Bangle designed sedan, despite its functional goodness. Somewhat less ugly than the rest of the line, but when did less ugly justify writing what I consider to be a substantial cheque? (Instead, I bought a garage queen Audi S4.)

    How then, can the 335i, supposedly of the exact same genes and bloodlines, be such an artistic triumph? It just goes to show what a brilliant designer can accomplish. If this is Bangle’s, keep him after all. Give him a raise if it’ll keep him on track. A few subtle changes and the car is totally transformed – Cinderella!

    Shoemaker’s analysis is absolutely spot on. BMW still doesn’t know how to make a compelling interior. Acceptable, yes, but definitely not compelling. Check out an Audi, or better yet, an NSX and just copy it. But it’s not bad, just not up to the exterior or the dynamics. The window switches seem trivial and are, but why did they move them when they were just right in the last generation? I haven’t driven it enough to know if I’ll miss it, but wonder why there is no limited slip diff, especially with this much power. Maybe they think nobody will turn off the electronics. I’m sure I’m not the only one who buys rear drive to play. Let it snow, and please let’s not have the inside rear spinning.

    The brakes are touchy at low speed and Jay neglected to mention how the clutch engages very low, but I don’t think those are negatives. I suspect that familiarity will only make it a sharper scalpel. The back seat has more room than any 3 series ever, but my dog isn’t going to appreciate the rear center console, even though if I were back there, I would.

    But I won’t be back there. I’ll be treasuring every second behind the wheel of a practical, refined and almost Vantage looking, sensual delight. I knew it would be great to drive, but it’s even better than that!

    In Canada, BMW rips us off by charging 15% more than in the US (trying to bury it in the exchange), but while I’m not at all happy writing the cheque, I can’t think of anything that more deserves it. But come on BMW, how about parity in pricing? Don’t our taxes push this far enough out of reach? If you can make a fair profit in the US, why get so greedy here?

    Question marks are the run flat tires and a niggling concern over oil temperatures. A friend with the sedan saw the run flats used up in 10,000 miles (of gentle driving) with noise and harshness increasing dramatically as they wore – these being the Bridgestones – don’t know about others. A BMW salesman with another sedan confessed he threw away his run flats, risking a tow truck, but said the car was further improved – and that’s saying something as it’s hard to imagine it getting any better. The last niggling worry is reports of very hot oil temperatures even with gentle driving. Don’t want to start rumors when we don’t know if there are consequences, but…

    My hope is that synthetic oil and regular changes makes this a non worry, because there’s no way I can live without one of these magnificent toys. It is simply too good to live without.

    Anybody want a very nice 2000 S4?

  • avatar
    Evinx

    Okay, so I got a new 335i Coupe with sport package and auto tranny, replacing a 2004 Z4 coupe (also with auto transmission). No I-Drive.

    So is the 335i Coupe really that good? Does it really meet the high expectations generally set up by Car and Driver, Road & Track, Automobile mag, Car (UK), Top Gear, etc?

    Yup.

    I agree with our friends across the pond that the 335i styling is nice and trim but not oh-my-God beautiful. There seems to be a great sense of relief that the Bangle butt and wild creasing (Bangle ass crack?) of other Bimmers is restrained on the 335i Coupe.

    As a Z4 owner I actually like his styling direction. It is sheetmetal after all. If you want your automobile to ape a block of granite do yourself a favor and make your wife happy and upgrade your kitchen countertop instead. Cars are supposed to be styled!

    Okay, back to the Coupe.

    Acceleration – very strong, very linear, but again, not so powerful to make the next generation M3 moot. I don’t care what the car registers on the Dynos … you always want more. Still, I can’t complain. It’s fast and smooth and very responsive.

    Steering – stiffer that I would have thought at low speeds. Yes, I realize that some buyers will go for Active Steering? But let’s agree to leave “fake but accurate” reporting to the New York Times . It reminds me a bit of my mother’s 1980s Benzs. I like it. Of course, at higher speeds: not fake, totally accurate.

    Interior – I know some owners think the previous generation 3 series had a nicer cabin, but why start trusting lawyers now? Non-ambulance chasers know this interior is nicer the moment they plant their asses in the front seat.

    Is it up to Audi level sophistication and quality? Of course not. Frankly, I’m getting a bit tired of Audi interiors. They’re always good, always high quality, but besides the matte-finish teardrop instrument pod, what else have they improved or changed in the last decade? Do Audi interior designers suffer from allergies? Give that team a case of Visine and tell them to get back to work. Audi interiors designers meet Porsche 911 exterior designers. Okay, naptime!

    Ride – Why do the Brits think this car rides so harsh? Are they all cruising around London spending their hard-earned quid stuck in traffic? In and around Las Vegas the roads are good and car rides nicely. Taut.

    In fact, you can go to town with T Words. Taut. Torquey. Tantastic (okay, I made the last one up).

    Thumbs Up!

    Jason Hirschman (Evinx)

  • avatar
    deVeritas

    Hey Flyingfiz, did you ever get yours? Curious about the first-hand feedback.

  • avatar
    Flyingfiz

    deVeritas,
    Yes I took delivery in Nov and have been smiling ever since, I have auto with paddles (a lot of fun & very very quick changes) sports suspension and the aerodynamic kit which makes the front look a lot like the new M3.
    It is a lot quicker that the 545i I had (which I had chiped to 267 kilowatts) and handles a whole lot better. In fact the dynamics are a big step up from 330 coupe which was no slouch around corners.
    Ride is firm and what you would expect but not harsh. Certainly not as harsh as the Cayman S which I was also considering – it is also quicker than the Cayman S (it least it felt it – I test drove them both on the same day) the Cayman didn’t do anything until 4500rpm but then it really goes and sounds great.
    But the 335i goes from any revs and keeps on pushing. In second gear when you are around 2000 rpm and plant your foot it fairly rockets away and sounds absolutely fabulous. Quite a wonderful sound – deep and manic with a very tight sounding engine note. Not like any BMW I’ve heard before.
    I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is contemplating one, you would never regret buying one and I think it is great value for what you get. I look forward to driving it every day!

  • avatar
    cpenn

    THIS CAR IS STILL UGLY. WHY DOES BMW HAVE TO MAKE ALL OF THEIR CARS UGLY. what a shame…

  • avatar
    cpenn

    PS: AUTO/PADDLE SHIFTERS ARE STILL FOR LITTLE GIRLS.

  • avatar

    And F1 drivers and, um, me. cpenn, have you tried Audi/VW’s DSG? It’ll make you a believer.

  • avatar
    AKILEZ

    Japanese Car Manufacturers are the first to develop inline turbo but rarely uses it.

    I don’t like BMW because I feel like an old man or If I drive it I feel like I barrowed my parent’s car and BMW are not really fast.

  • avatar
    Manuel

    I had the chance to test drive the 335i the other day, no sports package, but with premium package. I had a lot of fun driving it, especially taking turns at around double speed with no adverse effects (I wasnt confortable taking them any faster). As someone mentioned before, I also found myself speeding grossly without even realizing it. I think I am going to buy one. I am a bit concerned on what the mercedes c350 is going to do to the market…
    It would be my first BMW, would anyone out there honestly steer me away?

  • avatar
    kamikaze2b

    What do you guys know about the large number of high pressure fuel pumps that are failing on this car?

  • avatar
    Flyingfiz

    Kamikaze2b,
    Nothing in Australia – except that at a recent 12 hour race for standard production cars with control semi slick tyres the 335i coupe won over WRX STi’s, Evo’s & Australian V8 Muscle cars (some with GM’s 6.3litre V8), but during the 12 hours of racing it did have some “fuel leakage” problems. No more details were disclosed. But I’ve had the 335i coupe since last November & have had some spirited long drives and it hasn’t missed a beat at any stage.
    I would be interested in hearing what you know about this issue though.

  • avatar
    kamikaze2b

    Hey Flyingfiz, I was contemplating buying this car until I spent some time doing some research on a few BMW enthusiast boards. There are quite a few threads on different boards about it. Ostensibly here in the states the ethanol we add to our gas to causing the pumps fail. Of course BMW is calling them isolated incidents, but there are reports of people being without their car for two months or more. From what I can tell nobody has been hurt or killed, but if the car stalls at the wrong place and time it could easily happen. Here is a thread with over 200 posts on the issue. Please chime in over there if you have any info.

    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=198018

    Cheers!

    Kamikaze2b in Eugene, Oregon USA

  • avatar
    Flyingfiz

    The problem seems to be with ethanol. In Australia the mainstream fuels do not contain ethanol, and most of them don’t contain enough RON – you have to pay around $1.45 per litre for 98 RON fuel, but at least it doesn’t causes fuel pump failures. I’d buy the Cayman S (which I nearly did) if I was in your position,so long as 4 seats and lugage space aren’t a priority.

  • avatar
    kamikaze2b

    I’d consider a Cayman, but the closest dealer is over 100 miles from me. I can’t do 200+ mile round trips for service or recalls. There are also no Infiniti or Audi dealers locally, so I’m limited to Lexus (had one) Mercedes and BMW for higher end vehicles.

  • avatar
    OregonBimmerGuy

    Bummer about the paddle shifters. I don’t care how fast they shift, or how cool it is that they match revs for you – that’s supposed to be a skill you develop, not an automated process. Without a clutch pedal, this is no more interesting than a minivan.

  • avatar
    Granada

    I took delivery of a very nice 335 coupe in August this year. Previously, I owned or leased a previous generation 525 and current generation 530. All, including the coupe were/are manual transmission.

    It is beautiful and great perfomring automobile, but the fuel mileage is a dismal 17 to 17.5 mgg after 500 miles, or so. My previous 530 got about 24 to 25 mpg for the three years I drove the car over the same commute.

    These mgg are based on the in-vehicle gauge. Any other mileage experince reports on the 335 coupe?

  • avatar
    KnoxTn

    Grananda….Your mileage will be initially bad – because you’re having fun. You also wear out the tires too fast when having fun (they’re $300 each)

    I’ve had mine for almost a year now and I average 22 MPG around town and close to 30 on the highway

  • avatar

    I previously commented about the 335i Coupé (December 22nd, 2006) after having test driven one (while still in the lust mode). I now own one and have put about 3,000 miles on it. It is better than I had thought or hoped and I’m pretty fussy and was hoping for a lot. This is one of those benchmark cars that will be celebrated decades from now when this wonderful car period has passed.

    The 335i Coupé is two outstanding cars in one. Driven modestly, it is a quiet, smooth, undemanding and sophisticated delight. Tip into the throttle and a pleasant voice begins to tell you that it’s got another personality entirely. It sounds great (but thankfully not in your face) while delivering performance that it takes a V8 Vantage to match. Why did I pull the Vantage out of the blue? Because it’s the best looking automotive sculpture ever designed and while the 335i will never be as pretty, I can’t think of any normal 4 seater that comes as close.

    After a 400 mile drive two days ago, part play, part enjoying the exceptional fuel economy – (I ended up seeing better than 27 mpg (US), or 32 mpg (Imperial) or 8.8L/100 kms (metric). My E 46 325iT could never quite manage that under any circumstances and while pleasant, it wasn’t the semi rocket ship this is.

    Tonight I again went for a short drive, simply because I needed to, not to actually go anywhere. It’s that good. You just need to drive it because it puts a smile on your face and into your soul.

    While driving, I pondered what I’d ask for to improve it. The list is VERY short and VERY picky.

    Here goes:
    - This car has electronic systems to do the job by smothering performance with brakes and fuel cutoff, but it really should have a limited slip differential.
    - The headrests should be able to fold further forward to support the head without leaning back.
    - The seatbelt “valets” are a clever idea, but aren’t likely to survive very long. They seemed to have broken early on, but happily have reset themselves to live another day, but not forever I fear.
    The iDrive is as poorly programmed as all the reports suggest. For starters, a “go back” function is needed, but more importantly, BMW need to beg, borrow or steal a programmer from Apple to do this properly. It could work very well if only the interface were programmed intuitively. It is not.
    - Run flats are a great concept but a disappointment (at least at this stage of their development). With their overly stiff sidewalls, they make the ride harsher than it needs to be on poor roads and causes the car to hop sideways on bumpy cloverleafs or sweeping turn like a 60′s pony car, something no current BMW should ever do and this one wouldn’t if only it had more compliant tires. Also, how far ahead are you when your tire will take you 100 miles or so to a gas station or even a town (other than major city) that won’t in a million years have the correct replacement? Might as well go with a regular tire and an emergency can of foam. Definitely, I’m going to take my chances with regular tires when these are done.
    - The owner’s manual(s) – there are several, are nicely done and all fit into a very nice leather pouch that there’s absolutely no place in the car to put.
    - In Canada, everything lower than a $5 bill is a coin and it’s easy to collect pounds of them in your pockets. The center console is very inventive with an MP3 connection, heated and cooled drink holder, but how about some kind of a space for loose coins so they’re not buried underneath everything else?

    That’s it. There’s not much to ask for and most of it is very minor and I’ve overlooked the countless items and features that deserve praise.

    I’ve owned several cars that I think were important, including a 240Z, a Lotus Elite V8, a Nissan 300 Twin Turbo, an NSX, an S4, several 3 series including a ’97 M3 sedan, and I have to say this is not only the best (and fastest!) car I’ve ever owned, but the best I’ve ever driven. By far. And that’s not said lightly.

    I can only wonder what BMW might invent for the replacement that I never knew I needed. This car already has a lot of those things. There’s also the BIG worry that Chris Bangle will spoil the single good looking BMW he’s ever created. If I had enough money, I’d buy another, simply to put away to replace this one when it’s finally worn out, because it can only go downhill from here.

  • avatar
    KnoxTn

    I’m losing my year old 335i today. My wife can’t drive a stick so I’m trading her in.

    Actually – I’m trading her in for the exact same car and color with three exceptions. It’s a 2008, it’s an automatic, and it has HD radio.

  • avatar
    KnoxTn

    Actualy four exceptions…..it’s an xi – four wheel drive

  • avatar

    Thanks for sharing!

  • avatar
    dohrmc

    I recently test drove the 335i and was greatly impressed. “Gotta get me one of these!” I thought. Then I started checking around on the various BMW forums on the internet and the run flats appear to be a deal breaker for me. I do a lot of long distance driving and the thought of getting a flat out between Rapid City and Missoula Montana and the resulting goat rope that would follow leaves me cold. [and certainly would depending on the time of year.]
    Probably not gonna go the Bimmer route until they stick a spare back in the car. It’s a shame really, because I have wanted one since I test drove that BMW 2002 back in the late ’60s.

  • avatar
    KnoxTn

    Somebody told me that all cars will be runflats soon. Some of them are getting out there early.

  • avatar
    dr._jay

    Hey folks. New to the forum… just wanted to comment on a few things. I have been shopping for 3 weeks now. Cars I’m interested in are the Infiniti G37S, the MB C300 Sport, the BMW 335i, and the Lexus IS. The Audi A5 was my first choice, but the lease rates on them are absolutely ridiculous. The 335 will end up being my number one choice. What an amazing car. Very expensive once you add minor (of course ala carte) options but still worth it.
    Yes, they are all run flats, which sucks given the fact that there is no spare. But, they do offer road side assistance for the life of the lease, and if you get the Bluetooth option ($750) with BMW’s version of Onstar, you’re definitely covered. And it’s FREE. They do offer an AWD Model. It’s the 335XI. And one gentleman indicated the maintenance on the ultimate driving machine was too expensive. Actually, it’s FREE too. Everything except tires. Oil changes, filters, wiper blades, brakes, and of course warranty items… they told me this is new, and I’m going to take them up on it.

  • avatar
    petetruong

    2008 335I model has a defect. The high pressure fuel pump does not work properly!!!!
     
    2 weeks ago, on my way home from work my 335I broke down right in the middle of the road that leads to my house.  The car was towed to the dealer where I bought the car. They fixed it and also told me that it is a known problem. They did not disclose it when I bought the car.

    If it happened on a freeway, I may not make it alive. I normally drive it a 76-80mph. Imagine this, you drive it at a high speed on the left lane on a 4 lanes freeway at rush hour and it stalls and stops right in the middle of the left lane. 

    If you are a 335I owner, you must bring it in to change it.
    If you want to buy a 335I, you may think it twice. It is a driving machine with a huge defect that may cause death to its driver.  


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