Saturday Drive: 2012 BMW 335i
Start off your weekend of motoring with a quick take on what's grabbed our attention recently.
The 2012 BMW 335i features a 300-horsepower turbocharged engine that moves it from 0-60 in 5.4 seconds. (BMW)
The power: 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque from a 3.0-liter, turbocharged, direct-injected six-cylinder engine.
The photos: 2012 BMW 335i
The speed: 5.4 seconds for a 0-60 MPH run, according to BMW.
The bragging rights: The most powerful BMW 3-Series at the moment. But that will change. An M3 is inevitable, though no official word on its power.
The price: A base 335i starts at $43,295, a $7,500 premium over a base 328i.
The details: The stronger, more able brother of the 2012 328i I reviewed this week. The 335i uses the same 3.0-liter, turbocharged engine as in the previous 335i, and power and torque remain the same as that car as well.
The EPA rates the mileage on the 335i at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on the highway. That's a gain of one and two miles per gallon, respectively, over the outgoing 335i. Drivers have the option of a six-speed manual transmission or a new eight-speed automatic transmission (both have the same 0-60 time).
The 335i I spent the most time in was a $55,370 335i in Sport trim (base, Modern and Luxury are your other options). Sport gives you a sport-tuned suspension that's also slightly lower, sport seats and various sport-oriented interior and exterior trim. As on the 328i, the Sport line adds $1,700 to the base price of the 335i.
The drive: Imagine a 328i after a Big Gulp of espresso. Time on a track showed the 335i to have all the driving dynamics and balance of the lesser 3 Series with a robust helping of power. It pulls out of corners with gusto and hustles down straights and up elevation gains with an exuberance that's missing in the 328i.
The one trade-off for the jump from 328i to this 335i is it's a little less delicate in tight handling situations and is a bit more nose-heavy. Blame the extra 160 pounds or so that the 335i carries around versus the 328i.
But in every other situation on the track, and on the road in everyday driving, the extra power on the 335i is a turbocharged, sonorous delight. Grip is excellent, though to maximize control, buyers should consider the 19" wheel and tire package.
Both an eight-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmission are well sorted for the 335i's power. The clutch on the manual transmission is reassuringly firm and the shifter's movements are precise and controlled. The one gripe I had about the manual was that the slightly long throws the shifter required made for some less-than elegant downshifting in abrupt situations.
Despite a $7,500 difference in base price between the 328i and this 335i, consider that the loaded 328i I reviewed was $50,245. Choose your options wisely and you can get into a 335i for the same or less money. Leave alone the Parking Package and Driver Assistance Package (look over your shoulder), Cold Weather package (buy a scarf), the Premium package (dim your own mirrors) and a 335i Sport with the optional wheels, navigation and either transmission comes in at less than $50,000. You're welcome.
The takeaway: Money well spent.