This is about as close to driving nirvana as semi-affordable cars venture. The powertrain, chassis, and operator interfaces are honed to near perfection. The 2+2 accommodations are functionally useful, the trunk is amply sized and well proportioned. Searching diligently, I did find a trivial flaw: the left-front floor mat that had torn free of its attachments to foul the clutch pedal at the bottom of its travel. As a service to my fellow critics, I repaired that fault with an expeditious driveway correction. Nevertheless, as much as I respect this and most other BMWs, I’d give serious thought to Cadillac’s new CTS coupe before I spent $40,000 for a 335i.
It’s refreshing to drive a BMW that isn’t bogged down with options. Why? It’s an opportunity to appreciate that a well-engineered car can stick like tar and corner confidently without an active suspension or performance-aiding differential. With a rigid chassis, a smart suspension setup, and a smooth engine, there’s no need for comfort or sport modes or more aggressive throttle maps or cross-linked dampers. A beautifully built car like this 335i will perform admirably on any road, at any speed, for whatever mood you’re in. BMW knows how to build this type of car very well, but it’s also easy to imagine a near future where electrically controlled dampers and similar equipment trickle down into the likes of the 1- and 3-series. Let’s hope that such technology doesn’t distract engineers from focusing on the fundamentals.
I’m hard pressed to find any flaws with this 335i. Even though it’s not the new single-turbo N55 engine, there is nothing wrong with the twin-turbo six-cylinder propelling this BMW. The car is splendid; it has ample power, a silky smooth six-speed manual transmission, and a chassis that is sublime on curvy roads, although damping is too harsh over rough pavement.
Like Eric, I was pleased to see a 335i close to base price can still be an absolute riot to drive. It proves that if you can live without every interior amenity, you can get yourself a really good car for a decent price.
BMW has done a great job of developing a forced-induction six-cylinder that isn’t peaky, doesn’t suffer from turbo lag, and is all too happy to rev and provides gobs of power at a moment’s notice. Couple that with an impeccable manual transmission and the exemplary chassis dynamics that have become synonymous with the 3-series, and you do have one outstanding car.
$44,000 is a significant chunk of change, but as my colleagues have noted, you’re essentially buying driving perfection. In fact, I’d argue the iPod connector is the only option one really needs; it’s nice to have a substantial array of music on hand for the lengthy road trips you’ll inevitably plan for the 335i.
The turbo whine is indeed very faint, but at full throttle, it sounds almost exactly like the wail of a closing police siren. Of course, that could just be my paranoia at work, since so much of my time in the 3-series is spent above the speed limit. As others have noted here and in every other 3-series article, the car is damn near perfect. My only complaint has to do with something German engineers are likely not very attentive to: short people. When I scoot all the way up in the coupe to reach the clutch pedal, I find my forehead uncomfortably close to the windshield. This isn’t an uncommon problem in manual transmission coupes, I’ve found, but most of them have other faults I can focus on.
2010 BMW 335i Coupe
Base price (with destination): $43,525
Price as tested: $44,425
3.0-liter DOHC twin-turbocharged I-6
6-speed manual transmission
Dynamic stability control
Dynamic traction control
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Xenon adaptive headlights
Heated outside mirrors and windshield washer jets
Tire pressure monitoring system
AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player audio system
Auxiliary audio input
Adaptive brake lights
Leather seating surfaces
Automatic climate control
Options on this vehicle:
Comfort access keyless entry — $500
iPod and USB adapter — $400
Key options not on vehicle:
Cold weather package — $900
Premium package — $2650
M sport package — $3000
17 / 26 / 20 mpg
Size: 3.0L DOHC twin-turbocharged I-6
Horsepower: 300 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 300 lb-ft @ 1200-5000 rpm
Unladen weight: 3560 lb
Wheels/tires: 18-inch alloy wheels