BMW has long imbued their cars with a driver-oriented edge that makes the competition seem uninvolving by comparison, and their new 335i coupe furthers that goal with a technology this German manufacturer hasn’t used in more than 20 years: turbocharging.
In typical BMW fashion, the 335i is more than simply a truncated 3-series sedan with a go-fast engine; finely modulated engineering has produced a car that feels refined yet visceral. Sophisticated direct fuel injection technology improves fuel economy (the automatic transmission version hits 30 mpg on the highway), while twin turbochargers offer seamless, eerily quiet and nearly imperceptible boost. Peak torque plateaus from a mere 1,400 rpm all the way up to 5,000 rpm. Performance numbers are not far off from last year’s M3, making the 335i an understated overachiever. Handling reflects the best of BMW’s typically utopian blend of responsiveness and smoothness, and near 50/50 weight distribution ensures predictable, well-composed transitions.
Inside the new coupe, sybarites will appreciate attractive, high quality finishes ranging from sleek aluminum textures to more traditional burled walnut. Eight-way adjustable front seats are supportive and comfortable, though standard leatherette does not do justice to this car’s breeding: we suggest the optional Dakota leather hides for the complete high-end sports coupe effect. Rear passengers are treated to a surprising amount of legroom, but the driver’s seat is where all the action is. Steering feedback, throttle response, and its combination of seat squishing thrust and nimble handling make this Bimmer a satisfyingly hedonistic tour de force. The six-speed manual transmission offers Teflon-smooth shifts and “Start-off Assistant,” which holds the brake momentarily while the clutch is released on hills. The six-speed automatic features a quick-shifting manual mode. Performance fanatics will find the Sport package a bargain at $1,000. It adds larger wheels and tires, more supportive seats, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters on automatic-equipped cars. The ever-controversial iDrive system is optional.
If there is anything to mourn about the 335i coupe, it is the inevitable reality that—perhaps because of its excellent compromise between sportiness, style and comfort—everyone and their mother will be driving one. A fantastic car that is universally lauded (and for good reason), one of the only faults of this BMW is that it’s probably the worst-kept secret in the world of sports sedans/coupes.
Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty; 4-year/50,000-mile full maintenance program; 4-year/50,000-mile roadside assistance.
Photography: Basem Wasef