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      12-06-2006, 01:26 AM   #55
- Paul -
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Drives: see above.
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Yorkshire, UK

iTrader: (5)

Garage List
2005 320D SE  [5.00]
2005 645  [4.50]
E92 335i review

Two perfect turbos.

As I was driving home from work in the 335i one night, I happened upon one of the E90's much older siblings. Beside me, in traffic of course, was a
2007 BMW 335i Coupe (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
clean 1987 E30 BMW 325is. It dawned on me right at that moment that 20 years had passed since the introduction of the then ultimate 3-Series (pre-M3). It also reminded me of one of my first exciting rides in a car; it was in my father's friend's black 1987 325is. That car was fast and furious especially for an 11 year-old impressionable boy who loved cars.

Back in the day, 168 hp out of a 2.5L I-6 was something to write home about especially in a car that weighted a mere 1,250 kg. Not only was it fast, it offered nearly unmatched handling because of its perfect 50/50 weight distribution and a sporty suspension. Its brakes were powerful and all of this was mixed with a premium interior assembled with perfect craftsmanship.

Better than it was when it was already great
Here we are 20 years later and the good things have gotten better. The only negative is that the car has gotten heavier but BMW has seen to it that performance would not be affected in any way, shape or form. The 335i's weight is up about 25% over the 325is but then horsepower has nearly doubled. With 300 hp storming out of the twin-turbocharged 3.0L I-6, the 335i merely crushes those that dare oppose it at a stop light.
2007 BMW 335i Coupe (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
According to BMW, the 335i reaches 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds. I am convinced that this is a conservative number. The whole time I had the car, the weather spat rain and drizzle and made some testing conditions less than ideal.

This badass coupe just feels so much faster; with a proper launch, the 335i must be able to clip a buck in just over 5 seconds. All of BMW's engines always sign a melodious tune. Turbos usually hush-up the exhaust note but in this case, BMW has tweaked the sound to make the car hum a little more seriously. No longer does the 3.0L purr, it now growls. The forced-induction massage given to the I-6 is flawlessly executed. At low revs, the massive 300 lbs of torque rushes to the rear wheels. As the engine speed climbs, all 300 hp continue to pull all the way to the red-line. This is perhaps the best balanced power delivery I have ever experienced.

Power is nothing without control
And the 335i is all about control. Every mechanical component works to
2007 BMW 335i Coupe (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
the very best of its design to deliver cat-like reflexes, rail-like handling and drag-parachute-like stopping distances. Initial bite on turn-in is phenomenal; it takes but a fraction of a second between the thought of moving the wheel, the hand movement and the car's reaction to the steering input. Likewise, the brakes respond masterfully to any amount of effort from the driver.

This 3-Series is the first that I find to have a hard ride. All other BMWs entertain the driver with both comfort and handling. This 335i is perhaps only guilty of sporting the optional 19" alloys; this would be my guess. Montreal roads are not exactly friendly to 19" wheels and 30 profile tires. Although the big rims look absolutely hot, the standard 17" or even the optional 18" rolling stock would possibly smoothen things over.

My other office
I was talking about high-end interiors before; the 335i's cabin is certainly upscale although it remains austere and very utilitarian. BMW has
2007 BMW 335i Coupe (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
managed to create an environment that is classy, elegant and purposefully simple. Not only are all controls within easy reach of the driver, they work with up-most precision. Ambient lighting is very popular now in luxury cars but BMW has taken it one step further: mood-lighting is not only present from the ceiling of the car, light is emitted from the door panel trim all the way to the rear-side panel in the rear.

Common to most BMWs are formidable front seats. The usually cajole its occupants with comfort and support. The 335i's are all that plus they feature adjustable side bolsters; perfect for nearly every body type. The rear buckets are versatile and roomy enough to accommodate adults if for only a short drive.

3-Series front with some 8-Series rear
The new Coupe is, as always, largely inspired on the sedan. From the "A" pillars forward, both body styles are nearly identical. The Coupe does look more aggressive and tauter. When looking at the rear quarters of the
2007 BMW 335i Coupe (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
Coupe, 8-Series cues are apparent; the taillight design and shape and the nearly flat trunk lid. At one point while staring at the car's behind, I thought I saw some mid-nineties Chevy Caprice because of the large tail but I must have just been tired from my long day at work.

I love frameless doors; they look streamlined and clean regardless if the window is up or down. The downsides to this design are usually associated with wind noise, squeaks and even water penetration. I was surprised and disappointed to find to wind penetration and door rattles in this car.

Is there such a thing as too much perfection?
It is possible. If all cars were built to the same standards, there would be nothing to compare them to. BMW consistently demonstrates that it can build some of the most attractive and desirable cars on the road. Although many buy BMWs for the logo, it is nice to know that all in all, they are still
2007 BMW 335i Coupe (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
great cars to drive. Lexus is presently the only manufacturer in my opinion that is seriously trying to dethrone the full package that is the 3-Series. There IS is stunning, fast, well assembled and a real quality car... if only the IS350 was available with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

In the end, all I can say is that the 335i, whether it be in 2 or 4-door guise, is exquisitely entertaining and fast. I can only imagine what the next M3 will be like...

The 3-Series Coupe has a starting price of $43,600. At the other end of the spectrum, a fully equipped 335i retails for nearly $70,000.

Good stuff:
BMW engine + 2 turbos
Great seats
Incredible brakes and handling.

No so good stuff:
Weird rear-end treatment
Wind noises and a few rattles

Competitors: (Non Coupes)

Lexus IS350
Infiniti G35
Acura TL Type-S
Mercedes C350
Audi A4 3.2
Volvo S60R
Competitors: (Coupes)

Mercedes CLK350
Infiniti G35 Coupe