By on August 30, 2010

BMW loves America, and to prove it, BMW is sending us a North American exclusive sports coupé and convertible. No, it is not some fabulous concept car turned production, its last year’s 335i cranked up a notch with some M3 parts and an exhaust system that’s too loud to be sold in the EU tossed in for good measure. Does that make the 335is the perfect 3 series? BMW tossed us the keys to one for a week to find out.

Before we talk about the 335is, we need to talk about the refreshed 2011 3 series first. Since the 3 series has remained largely unchanged since 2007, BMW decided a mid-cycle refresh was in order. For 2011, all 3 series coupés and convertibles get a new nose, new headlamps with new LED “angel eyes,” some new tail lamps, rear bumper tweaks and some rocker panels. As a result of the rhinoplasty, the 2011 model gains an inch and a half over the previous model making it the longest 3 series ever (3.5” longer than the sedan). Inside the changes are essentially limited to the instruction of the latest generation of iDrive and some new paddle shifters on models with that option.

The biggest change BMW has made for 2011 is under the hood, and here is where 335is owners will have some explaining to do on autocross days: The 2011 335i has traded in its twin-turbo setup for a new twin-scroll single turbo setup ala Volvo’s T6 engine. The twin-scroll design uses two exhaust gas inlets on the turbine side of the turbocharger, one each for of three cylinders. BMW says that this increases turbo response and improves efficiency. The new “N55” engine in the 335i delivers the same power output as the former “N54”engine in 2007-2010 335i models, but does so with greater efficiency and a slightly better torque curve. The N55 also brings BMW’s Valvetronic system to the party offering not just variable valve timing, but variable valve lift.

Now here’s where things get a bit complicated: the 335i uses the new N55 engine, the 335is uses a lightly reworked version of the N54 (twin-turbo) engine producing 320HP and 332lb-ft (with an overboost function boosting the torque to 370ft-lbs for 7 seconds) vs the 335i’s 300HP/300lb-ft. Big deal you say? Two words: aftermarket tuning. I am told by an aftermarket chip company that the N54 has a far greater mod potential than the new N55 engine. There are a number of companies out there than will take an N54 engine up to 400+ HP and 400+ lb-ft of torque. For those wanting M3 performance on a “budget” the 335is is now the new foundation.

Compared to the plebeian 335, the “s” gets you a more sculpted front and rear bumper with large cooling vents placed where foglights reside in the regular 335, and a blacked out front grille. Out back there is a sports exhaust system which BMW claims to be unique to the 335is, but forum fans indicate it is available as an aftermarket accessory from BMW. Under the hood the cooling system has gone supersized with a high output fan, upgraded oil cooler, an auxiliary radiator and widened openings in the front bumper.

All this is included because BMW assumes 335is buyers will track their car on weekends, so they need the extra grunt and the stay-cool-bits. Lest we forget the important part, the 335is carries a $7,000 larger price tag. (When adjusted for standard equipment, the premium is around $4,000) Anyone notice something missing? That’s right: no brake upgrades. This is the chink in the 335is’ armour. Basically BMW has created a car that goes faster and handles slightly better with the capacity to drive the car harder, but did nothing to improve the stoppers. Given the extra shove the 335is provides, this is a problem on windy mountain roads where I managed to get the brakes overheated without actually trying. I’m not sure I’d want to track this puppy without addressing the brakes in some manner.

Inside the 335is there are fewer differences from the 335i. The “s” brings the 7 speed DCT transmission from the M3 (with fewer modes however) vs the 6 speed slushbox, an M steering wheel and short shift 6 speed transmission with an M shift lever and some faux-snake skin aluminium dash trim. Other than that the interior is stock 3 series, which is not a bad place to be. The Dakota leather seats are very comfortable, the up-level Harmon Kardon sound system hits all the right notes, and although our tester was a pre-production model without cruise control of any sort, BMW’s web site claims all 335is models will have radar adaptive cruise control standard. Also standard on the 335is, like all 3 series models are just about the worst cup holders available on this continent. I seriously want to know who thought the flimsy pop-out cup holders that are both miles away from the driver, and cause ingress/egress problems for front passengers were a good idea? Gadget hounds will love the new 4th generation iDrive with the high resolution screen and 3D effect navigation maps, and they will probably rave over the automated seat-belt-hander-thing that pops out of the rear. Personally, a car that hands me my seatbelt kind of creeps me out.

On the road, the 335is behaves basically the same as the 335i with the M sport suspension, which makes sense since that’s what it is. Power delivery is effortless, grip is substantial and damping is firm. The 335is equipped with the BMW DCT truly shines; the shifts are not only crisp and practically perfect, but 0-60 times are greatly improved. BMW quotes the standard 335i as 0-60 in 5.3 (manual) and 5.5 (automatic) while the 335is clocks in at 5.1 (manual) which is only a slight improvement, but 5 seconds flat when equipped with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission. What makes this stat impressive is when you consider that this is 5 seconds flat repeatable every time, with perfect launches. After some practice runs I was able to eek a hair under 5.4 seconds (no rollout) to 60 with the 6-speed manual transmission. Apparently I should not quit my day job and race for a living. In my defence however, at these power levels the road surface is your greatest enemy, had the road surface been perfect I’m sure I would have hit 5.2.

On large oval tracks, owners will notice the “s” model gets you a top speed limited to 150 vs the standard 130 (335i models with the M sport package also have a 150MPH limiter), but it’s not the top speed that makes the 335is a great car at the end of the day: It’s the fact that BMW has made an able highway cruiser that handles and accelerates well enough for an occasional weekend at a BMW owners club event. Purists will deride the lack of upgraded brakes, which did bother me, until I came to the realisation that BMW is truly the new Mercedes. Chock full of electronic gizmos, widgets and nannies, well executed designs and high-quality interior parts; this is exactly what I would want Mercedes to make. Except Mercedes would have probably given me decent cup holders.

Readers who are following TTAC on Facebook were given the opportunity to ask reader questions of the 335is. If you would like to ask questions of car reviews in progress, or just follow TTAC, checkout our facebook page. FB fans, here are your answers. Tony J: With our G-Tech accelerometer based performance meter, I recorded a skidpad of .88-.89Gs on an approximately 300ft skidpad (open parking lot). I have seen reviews as high as .93, so road surface of course plays a huge role here. Patrick C: Yes, it actually will do a burnout, fairly easily I might add. Richard M: I drove the 335i to the community pool, but was denied entry.

BMW provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.


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63 Comments on “Review: 2011 BMW 335is...”


  • avatar

    I’ve only experienced the new N55 single-turbo engine in the 5-Series. There it had more lag and more of a sense of boost at low RPM than I recall with the N54. Supposedly they under-rated the N54. Have they under-rated the N55 to the same degree?

    Reliability has been iffy for the 335s, due to one common problem with the fuel pumps. It’s not yet clear that they’ve resolved this problem even in the fourth model year.

    To help with the survey, for any car:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      MK,
      InsideLine was wondering the same thing…
      http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2010/08/2011-bmw-535i-the-dyno-results.html

    • 0 avatar

      Sadly I didn’t have the ability to have it put on a dyno, but my less than accurate method of assuming a drive train loss and popping the kerb weight into my G-Tech delivered a HP rating of 340. Again, not terribly accurate, but interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      fotobits

      This is, without a doubt, the most poorly written review I have read on this site. The author should be embarrassed. If TTAC had any writing standards they would not have published this abomination.
       
      “Inside the changes are essentially limited to the instruction of the latest generation of iDrive…”
      There is no excuse in the world for that sentence.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Very nice, but a pre-2011 335 with some mods will get you much the same for a lot less cost.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    Audi fans are, not without justification, saying that the 335is (and the mid model refresh) was in large part a response to the new 2010 S4, notable for knocking off the 3 Series in the CnD comparison, and helps BMW tick a few more boxes for the (non-M) 3 Series vs. S4 matchup.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    Nice review! That back seat looks even more uncomfortable than the one in my E46 Vert. The dealbreaker for me on all of the newer BMW’s is the lack of a dipstick. This oversight, along with the standard runflat tires, will make me look elsewhere when searching for my next vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      Question for those who own an E9x: Is the tube for what would be a dipstick also removed or is there some vestigal dipstick-less tube (like Audi does)? Losing both the dipstick AND the ability to do top-side oil changes would be a double whammy for me.

    • 0 avatar
      stationwagon

      Yup, run-flat tires should be optional. I don’t get why they made it standard, it seems gimmicky. Removing the dipstick makes no sense to me either. I hope BMW gets better, but the stereotype of the drivers keeps me away, plus expensive parts and service.

    • 0 avatar
      drivelikejehu

      I’ve never understood the idea that a stereotype of a given vehicle’s drivers should decide what car you choose. I mean, every type of car presumably has a number of jerks at the wheel, since there are plenty in the world generally. Most brands with snob appeal earned it by building excellent cars.

      Not that there aren’t reasons to pass on a BMW, I just don’t think that is a good one. The run flats are certainly obnoxious, from first-hand experience.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The runflat tires are standard because the guys who knew how to engineer a body that was light and packaged a spare tire are long gone. The lack of dipsticks in new BMWs shows that if anyone takes stereotypes about BMW customers seriously, it is BMW. How they went from being the company that included all the tools needed for regular maintenance to being the company whose cars require a dealer visit to check the oil parallels how they went from being the company of conservatively spartan sports sedans to being trendily styled, gadget laden gin palaces. If I’d been a BMW engineer, I’d have left long ago too.

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    Haha I love how my important question was still answered, well done! Expect similar questions on anything with more than a modest amount of hp…these are truly burning questions of incredible importance.

    A friend owns a 2007 335xi four door(N54?), the turbo lag is horrendous. Even on snow packed roads with the traction control turned off(continue to hold the TC button another full 7+ seconds) the lag is so bad the experience is rather dull. Until, after an appropriate amount of time has passed and a quick flick of the steering wheel entering a corner, you’re flying sideways on a two lane sweeper at 65+ with absolutely nothing outside of ABS to help bring it all back. Thankfully light snow pack 3 feet high instead of guardrails allows for successive runs before you conjure up your inner McRea and pull it off with authority.

    Having never driven a chipped 335 in any version do they also suffer from the considerable amount of lag?

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      I wonder how much of that is attributable to throttle programming versus turbo, especially if the specimen in question lacked the sport package. After driving 328s as service loaners, I noticed something similar (perhaps not as dramatic) even on their NA engine.

      Ah BMW, why did you lose the far more direct throttle I enjoy on my E46? Perhaps too much focus on “efficient” and less on “dynamics?” If I’ll buy the fuel, please bring me more “joy.”

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “flying sideways on a two lane sweeper at 65+ with absolutely nothing outside of ABS to help bring it all back”

      Then why did you turn the stability control off? Do you think you can activate all 4 brakes independently better than the computer? Indeed, how would you even attempt it? Do you have some sort of special mod that allows differential braking? I can’t imagine driving with 4 brake pedals…. how do you do it?

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “Then why did you turn the stability control off? Do you think you can activate all 4 brakes independently better than the computer? Indeed, how would you even attempt it? Do you have some sort of special mod that allows differential braking? I can’t imagine driving with 4 brake pedals…. how do you do it?”

      It is a somewhat confusing sentence. The way I read it, he turned stability control off so he could have fun with the car, leaving ABS as the only potential fun-killing electronic interference. I don’t think he actually meant that the brakes could help him, though it would be nice to have the ability to just lock them up during a spin.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      I drive a manual transmission 325i E46, and recently I drove an automatic-equiped 2010 E91 wagon as a dealership loaner while I was having some work done. Although I liked the car, I was frustrated by the apparent amount of throttle lag. I blamed it on the programming for the automatic transmission — but you guys are suggesting that it is instead part of the engine programming.

      In contrast, my wife’s Mazda5 has great throttle tip-in and shoots off the line. The 3-series wagon had me counting “one-Mississippi, two-mississippi, three…zooom!” Very annoying.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Have your car go in and get the “waste gate retrofit”- a little known software change. They updated the software to prevent a rattle sound from the wastegate, and the result was big lag. Abusrd BMW did this.

      Normally, the N54 is very low-lag. It feels almost normally aspirated. The torque curve felt even flatter than an 07 corvette I drove.

  • avatar
    skor

    Cup holders? I hope you are being sarcastic. Why would anyone want cup holders in a driver’s machine? Cup holders are for mini-vans and medicare sleds (aka Buicks). Has every man in the US now devolved into Americanus Homer Simpsonus? I tell you, I’m so disgusted with American “society” at this point that I’m actually looking forward to seeing the USA crushed and enslaved by its enemies.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Have you been harmed by a cupholder, and– secondarily– are you genuinely bothered that men might not drive around with hard peters because their cars are seriously that cool?

    • 0 avatar
      BMWfan

      I don’t know about you, but when its 100 degrees outside, as it was several times this summer, I need a bottle of cold water along for the ride. I think Alex mentioned them because they are without a doubt the cheapest, flimsiest pieces of crap I have ever seen on a car. They would look cheap in a Kia costing 1/3 the price. My handle might be BMWfan, but I call them like I see them.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      NO, NO and NO! Eating and drinking in a true sports car is a sacrilege! Such activity is a true mark of barbarism, degeneracy, and general societal break-down. Anyone who climbs into a BMW, and starts complaining about cup holders, should have his head stuffed into a vat of red hot molten GM cup holder plastic. If anyone dared to take out a container of potable liquid while riding in my BMW, I’d drag them down to the New Jersey Turnpike — the really smelly part — and throw them under Tony Soprano’s SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Those cup holders have always been the engineers answer to marketing (“for the US, we must have cup holders”). So, if we have to have cup holders, the engineers will give us the dictionary definition of cup holders. Nobody in marketing bothered to say they had to be usable.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      skor is correct. If you like to drink coffee or water during long highway trips, you should be driving something less sporty. BMWs should only be used where full concentration on driving is required. Using them for anything less is poor form. If you choose to use a BMW for such a trip anyway, you must either chug your coffee/water before you get back in the car or sit in the coffee shop/gas station parking lot and take that opportunity to tell everyone how skilled you are at driving in a straight line for five hours straight without consuming liquids, so that someday they can aspire to be as cool as you.

      The cup holders in my buddy’s 2011 S4 aren’t great either. It’s hard to get the coffee cup in and the pressure from the springs tries to remove the lid sometimes. Oh well, at least he didn’t get a BMW, or we would have had to waste a lot of time hanging out in parking lots during our last road trip. I wasn’t in the mood for educating the local population on sports car etiquette anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      BMWs should only be used where full concentration on driving is required.

      I’m sorry, but that’s incredibly elitist. No one is asking BMW, Mercedes or Audi to provide a Sienna-like fifteen cupholders, but at least one or two that won’t snap off or result in your drink being spilled into the radio or console would be nice. Surely such an ergonomic achievement would be within the grasp of “superior German engineering”

      I’d buy your point if we were talking about an Elise or Caterham, but BMWs are, and have been for twenty years at least, mostly bought by management fast-trackers (3-Series), sorority members (X3, 1-Series, any convertible), suburban supermoms (X5) or C-suite swingers (5, 7). None of these people buy them because they’re especially sporty, but because they review well, have fantastic lease rates and good curb appeal.

      Not being able to get the cabin ergonomics right has nothing to do with pedigree and everything to do with arrogance. And the same kind of arrogance that says “f*ck you, two holes with rubber fingers in the console are too pedestrian for us!” is the same arrogance that gives you sealed dipsticks, iDrive and “Active Steering”.

      Look, they’re good cars. They drive very well, ride well and handle well. But as soon as Toyota, Nissan, GM or whomever manage to get the formula right while at the same time providing niceties like useful cupholders, a radio that doesn’t require a Comp-Sci degree to program or service intervals designed to screw out of warranty, BMW is dead.

    • 0 avatar

      Nope, I’m 100% serious. While I would agree with you, the problem is that every person I know that actually owns a BMW complains about them on a regular basis. The market speaks: we want cup holders. True that they find buyers despite this, but imagine the happy customers if you gave them performance with Big-Gulp grippers.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      @psarhjinian:

      I think rpn453′s post was coated with sarcasm.

      However, I do like the rest of your thoughts on BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      “…None of these people buy them because they’re especially sporty, but because they review well, have fantastic lease rates and good curb appeal…”

      No, most buy them for the snot appeal of the Roundel. When I hung the tail out of a coworkers 330, he was hanging on for dear life…

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      There is a proven correlation between the decline of the American Republic, and the introduction of the first auto cup holder. When I become dictator, anyone who utters the words “cup holder” will have his face split open with a medieval battle axe.

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      My 24 Hours of LeMons car has a cupholder. You really want that water bottle when you’re an hour into your stint and under caution. If it’s acceptable in a race car, it’s fine in a road car.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      ^Your “logic” is as solid as cycling enthusiasts who bike around in full spandex race kit, ala Lance Armstrong, even though they are not on a racing team, never were on a racing team, and never will be on a racing team. “I have a “racing” bike, therefore I “need” racing kit.” Same goes for orthodontists who buy Harley’s and become instant biker “bad-asses” on the weekends complete with store bought “distressed” leathers and pre-fab doo-rags.

      As for cup holders, am I the only one left who is disgusted by the level of immaturity and slob-ification that now afflicts the majority of Americans? “I can’t go 15 minutes without my dwinky-winky. Mama, gimme my ba-ba!”

      If I were running BMW, I’d deliberately keep the cup holders out of the cars since I wouldn’t want my product image tarnished by the kind of slob that would reject a car because it had no cup holders.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      Das Wagen ist für Fahren, nicht für Essen oder Trinken. Das ist alles.

    • 0 avatar

      I have an e46 with about 250k miles.  Trust me when I say that you can consume a lot of coffee in that time, and not all of those miles were beautiful apex clipping, bombing on and off ramps, and ripping off perfect shifts.
      Some of it is just #@%(# sitting in traffic.  That’s where the cup holder comes in.  Ultimate Driving Machine or not.  It’s a nice fantasy to think we are all on “der autobahn” between Berlin and Munich at 180 kph, but that is not the daily commute for most of us. (And yes, on the autobahn, both hands on the wheel is the way to go, but is it a buzzkill to tell you that I’ve sat in stupid traffic for hours there as well ?)
      Everyone rips on Bangle for what he did.  I had no problem with the outsides of the car, but whoever did the interior took a very comfy and functional interior and turned it into a Boutique Hotel via Ikea.
      I have two cup holders in the console.  They are quite useable, with the added advantage of when (not if) that coffee spills, it does so in a safe place, not dribbling down your dashboard into your electronics or spewn all over the interior, if you were clipping that apex or more likely, panic stopping as the minivan-clad cellphone yakker cuts you off with no warning or signal.
      The current cup holder reminds me of my SAAB 9-3 cup holder, scientifically placed ABOVE the car’s radio, so that your coffee had a shot at getting into the CD drive as well as dripping down the front of the radio’s buttons and knobs.
      The current interiors suck.  When I drove an E90 recently, I was happy to see the seats and ergonomics were still great, but the old interior was functionally better, which used to be how BMW was designed…for function.
      At 250k my otherwise wonderful E46 eats a quart of Mob 1 every 1k.  The dipstick is important.

    • 0 avatar
      wallstreet

      My late model 335d does come with old fashion dipstick. Maybe the problem is uniquely for the gasoline counterpart?

  • avatar
    daga

    What’s the most reputable chip company for the N54 boosts you mentioned? I assume that the extended warrenty on the HPFP is out the window at that point?

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    The seatbelt presenter is hardly new technology; Mercedes has been using them in their coupes and convertibles for over two decades.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Craptastic plastic and leather hides that Ford would reject. BMWs have the most disappointing interiors at this price point. Alex, if you think the leather interior is “high quality”, you got a ringer.

    • 0 avatar

      The newer BMW interiors have really improved the plastic quality, the design is similar to the lacklustre interiors of yore, but the parts have improved. I would agree that the pleather interior is uninspiring, and the regular leather interior is near-luxo quality, but the up-level leather interior (a $1,000 option as I recall, I’m sure someone will correct me if I am wrong) is on par with other offerings in the class. That is to say that it is good for a coupé this price, but would be out of place in a full-size luxury sedan.

  • avatar
    Rain

    I actually like BMW leather seats. They feel like sporty (hard and keeps you in place). They’re not as comfortable as Lexus leather, but BMW has always been about performance and sportiness first, luxury second for its tier.

  • avatar
    ajla

    So does this thing have a limited-slip?

    I’ve heard that it doesn’t and I find that very lame.

  • avatar
    wallstreet

    I still prefer my 335d which comes with the monster torque. Also, I don’t have to deal with HPFP failure like most other N54 owners.

  • avatar
    Caraholica

    “Yup, run-flat tires should be optional. I don’t get why they made it standard, it seems gimmicky. Removing the dipstick makes no sense to me either. I hope BMW gets better, but the stereotype of the drivers keeps me away, plus expensive parts and service.”

    Don’t forget the sealed transmission and differentials….

  • avatar
    Zackman

    You know, my major pet peeve with cars going back to the 1973 models is, the back windows don’t open. I have never received a convincing answer as to why the auto makers stopped that. Of course, I’m referring to coupes, pillarless hardtops or not. The BMW isn’t cheap by any measure, but with such a nice back seat, why torture those passengers by the whim of the driver? If you pay extra for a moonroof, why won’t the car manufacturers make roll-down, or at least flip-open rear quarter windows an option? The reason I crab about this is because I look at practicality of an automobile first and foremost, sporty or not. For what autos cost, you should have the option available. Or am I alone in this regard? Just throwing that out there not as a rant, but as a serious question/complaint. I’m not sigling out BMW, as they actually make a genuine hardtop along with Mercedes, but all automakers.

    • 0 avatar
      stationwagon

      good point, they should have rear windows that open.

    • 0 avatar
      lawmonkey

      Walking around the car show in Leander TX this weekend I was thinking the same thing. I think the MB E-class coupe does this, but the result is the weird nubbin at the tail end of the window, which I find to be the only styling misstep on an otherwise beautiful design, but perhaps necessitated by structural concerns:

      A good nubbin picture can be found at the top of the article below:

      http://www.carpages.co.uk/mercedes_benz/mercedes-benz-e-class-coupe-safety-part-2-17-02-09.asp

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      lawmonkey, I agree with your thought about the “nubbin” window. The first Dodge Lancer 2 dr. hardtops did that, too. Looks weird, but I can understand for visibility issues, especially nowadays. I don’t have an issue with it, though, the Mercedes you reference is one beautiful car!

  • avatar
    LeeK

    How much bigger and fatter can BMW make the 3 series? These cars started as simple sports sedans in the 1970s and now are at least two feet longer and at least 1000 pounds heavier.

    Yeah, I know — all cars are going in the same direction because of safety standards and more equipment. But it’s still a sad trend.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Hahahahaha….The most discussed topic of this 335 review is cup holders. Frickin funny!

  • avatar

    The essential truth is that the BMW 3 series is just about the best sports sedan money can buy. I speak from experience owning an E90 and now piloting the great value but less competent (as a sports sedan) G37S.

    The biggest problem with the BMw remains the image that goes along with it. Yes, DB’s can drive any car but the number of dickhead’s I see every day in BMW’s seems to outnumber other brands.

    We must remain grounded in reality. Yes it is a great sports sedan but most are 328′s driven by dull, social climbing middle managers who wouldn’t know an apex from an amex

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Which is why BMW should delete the cup holders and iPod plugs. How many of these clowns could live 15 minutes without their tunes and Starbucks? As you have already stated, BMW’s image is now wed to the jerks that buy them. Perhaps it makes money in the short term, but in the long run, fad-followers have little loyalty, they’re gone as soon as the next Starbucks and bling mobile comes along. Going after the easy dollar alienates BMW’s core customer, who will ultimately move on to a serious car maker. Goodwill is the most difficult thing for a company to accumulate, and the easiest thing to squander. Once lost, it’s almost impossible to get back.

    • 0 avatar
      meefer

      @skor Buy an Ariel. BMW hasn’t been a pure driver’s car since the original M3.

    • 0 avatar

      That car is silver (some shade), Premium package, leather.  No Sport Package, probably no Xenons.  This is the car I had to specifically tell the Salesman I didn’t want.  He then said “and you want automatic ?”.  I replied, “no, is this a Buick dealer ?
      It took some doing, but eventually they agreed to order the car for me to spec, only after scaring me with “how long it could take”.  Having waited many years for that moment, I could dismiss a month or three.  The sunroof delete and cloth seating is worth it.  (BTW, if you DO order, ignore the crappy pleather (in a 40k car !?!), or the meh leather, or even the nice $$ leather, and order cloth.  You won’t be disappointed.)
      Everyone buys the 4wd versions…….which are not the premium handling cars.  Bottom line, for most drivers, BMW=Rolex, except you drive it.

  • avatar

    @skor. Yes but BMW USA is to blame. They continue to position BMW as a luxury brand when the 3 series at least is not really a luxury car at all. I would much rather drive my stripper sports package 325i than my loaded G37S down a twisty road any day. However we are in the distinct minority. Ever since sports became the new luxury the writing was on the wall for enthusiasts

  • avatar
    mrcrispy

    3 series coupe == fail. The car looks much better as a sedan. And why the hell is the coupe longer than the sedan??

    The only people who care BMW’s are sporty and handle are the ones who comment on auto forums. Everyone else couldn’t care less, they see the letters, choose the colors and sign on the lease form. The cheap cup holders are just another cost cutting measure, BMW NA knows they can get away with damn near anything given their fanbase.

  • avatar
    mrcrispy

    And BMW IS a luxury car, at least entry level luxury. If I’m spending 40-50k on a car you can bet I want iPod connections, nav and all the other goodies that cars costing 1/2 have as standard. This is not an Ariel Atom. If BMW starts selling a pure sports car at 25k *then* you can start removing luxury features. But don’t pretend the magical handling is so good that it doesn’t need any luxury features to justify its price.

  • avatar
    Eye Forget

    “BMWs should only be used where full concentration on driving is required.”

    I created an account just to comment on all the negative cup holder comments. I drive a 5-Series and a 996. Both have serious suspension upgrades and the P has about $20k in the engine. Both also have cup holders. On the BMW I can tell you where they are. On the P, I have no idea. To my recollection, neither have ever been used. To suggest they are incorrect, though out of sight and out of mind can only be justified by the weight they add to already ponderously overweight cars.

    “Full concentration while driving…”. Give me a break. What are people like me supposed to do, concentrate full time while being stuck in traffic or, with a 600 mile trip in front of them or, stuck behind a line of traffic in a crowded highway. Or, perhaps, buy yet another car so when I don’t feel like “concentrating” I’m allowed access to transportation?

    If you anti cup holder guys are so serious about diluting the experience of your BMW’s, I suggest you begin tearing out all the sound insulation, carpeting, the tons of electronics convenience items which I suggest distract you from your important task at hand, replace the trans (I must assume you are all manual transmission guys) with something that can shift crisply, sand off the pounds of clear coat that’s likely covering your cars, rip out the suspension and replace it with something that better balances BMW’s nanny front end bias and add limited slip so you can exit tight corners better. What you have now accomplished is a car worth concentrating in. Short of that, it’s transportation. Either way, cup holders hardly matter.

    I’ve owned a ton of Germany’s best performing cars. I have yet to find a cup holder that made any difference at all in the driving experience. Although I have a ton of gripes about fundamental weaknesses or compromises designed into the cars which I suspect you folks no little to nothing about.

  • avatar
    FJ20ET

    Cram it with The cupholder talk. How does that make this car any worse?

    I’d rather have a Skyline(G),  but one cannot deny this car’s performance merits. I daresay it’s even better than a M3, Turbo-6′s over V8′s anyday(Though I’m biased, admittedly).

    There is alot of good choice in this segment now, and you can thank this car for it.

    • 0 avatar
      theslik1

      Yeah the cupholder talk is pure poser venting. Who the hell cares?

      However, you’re missing the boat on the other point.  The 335i was a direct response to Infiniti’s higher horsepower G35, with BMW getting damn sick and tired of their precious 3-series being described as “better handling but slower” compared to the G.  Infiniti at the time (pre-335) was making a lot of advertising hay at BMW’s expense.  That’s why the famously turbo-eschewing BMW turned up the wick with some boost.  So I actually think we should all thank Infiniti for pissing off BMW enough to bolt the blowers on.

      Now if they could just source a reliable HPFP.
       

  • avatar
    Isetta

    Knowing how the BMW stability control works, it’s quite possible the writer’s problem with overheating the brakes was due to erratic driving behavior causing the stability control to overwork the brakes in correcting all the understeer. Try it in DTC mode and see if the brakes stay cool. Of course then you’d actually have to drive the car to keep it on the road and not rely on the stability control to make you look good!
     
    BMW is still a driver’s car.

  • avatar
    Kai

    CUP HOLDERS

    QUOTE: “Also standard on the 335is, like all 3 series models are just about the worst cup holders available on this continent. I seriously want to know who thought the flimsy pop-out cup holders that are both miles away from the driver, and cause ingress/egress problems for front passengers were a good idea? ”

    I CAN NOT BELIEVE how you can talk bad about those cup holders? I have owned an E60 M5 for 4 years and drive now the very same 335is you have on here and I do not understand why you say they are bad? From my experience (I drive: Audi, BMW, Mercedes in daily life and sometimes Porsche as well) BMW has made the best cup holders you can think of! They are not in the way of any controls when you have something in it, they are very strong and not flapping around or anything (especially the new ones like in the 335is), and they are VERY practical. I can even put my 1 liter VOSS water bottle inside.
    Tell me PLEASE, which car has a better cup holder? You mentioned Mercedes but Mercedes cup holders are CRAP. They are in the center console, very bad place. It’s a trade off. If you have a drink inside, you can not have your arm comfortable resting on the center console and its sometimes kinda in the way. Audi has HORRIBLE cup holders as well. The A4 I drive a lot, has 1 regular size cup holder in the center console and a smaller one which doesn’t fit any bottle in this world right behind it. And you need to slide your center armrest all the way to the back if you have something inside.
    Also the NEW BMW cup holders that are in the new 7 and the new 5 are terrible as well. They are in the front of the center console and if you put a drink in it you are not able to operate some buttons that are then hidden behind your drink.
    I really think you are terribly wrong with your statement and I know cup holders are not neccessary, in Germany we practically don’t need them at all, but if you compare cupholders, BMW has had the best. I can at least say from 2004 till 2011 (except F1 7 series and F10 5 series and probably 5GT and maybe some more models. I am not sure about X5 and X6 at the moment).
    I really want a statement from you telling me which car has a better cup holder for you.


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