2011 BMW 335is – Short Take Road Test
How does BMW separate the i’s from the M’s? Forgetting j, k, and l, BMW jumps the alphabet and goes straight to s. And the s of the new 335is ditches the fog lights for improved cooling and adds more power, black exterior trim (grille, mirrors, window trim, tailpipes), an additional radiator, and a throaty exhaust note.
Its engine is a souped-up version of the N54 twin-turbo, 3.0-liter inline-six that has powered BMW “35” models since 2007. A single-turbo unit (N55) motivates current 335 models (300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet, same as the old N54). The 335is’s N54 makes 320 horses and comes with an overboost feature. When the engine is under high load, at low rpm, the turbochargers produce an additional 2.9 psi of boost, for a total of 14.5, in bursts lasting no longer than seven seconds. This yields a 330d-like 370 pound-feet of torque—38 more than standard.
At $50,525, the 335is commands a $4000 premium over a 335i coupe with the M Sport package (all of the M Sport components are standard on the 335is). Our test car came fitted with BMW’s DCT dual-clutch automated manual ($1575)—new to non-M threes and exclusive to the 335is. This new application of the tranny might be BMW’s best yet, as it lacks the hesitant first-gear engagement found in the DCT-equipped M3. Activating sport mode removes respite in upshifts, downshifts, and throttle response.
At the track, the 335is backs up its power claims, proving to be the quickest 335 ever. It snaps off a quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds at 108 mph. While the car comes with launch control, we made it run quicker by just mashing the gas pedal from a standstill. Understeer-free skidpad grip is near the top for 3-series cars, too, at 0.93 g.
Let’s just say it simply: This is a great car. The 335is can effortlessly lead a double life as sports coupe or highway cruiser. That versatility is the primary reason we are so enamored of the 3-series.