Performance, ride and handling

Take a spirited drive in the 335i and you’ll be convinced that an awe inspiring drive might not necessarily involve a sports car with a horse or a bull on its badge. The old 3 Series has always been the class of the field in terms of driving and the new car has moved the goalposts even further away from its rivals in the driving department. Key to the 3 Series’ dynamism is in its rear-wheel drive drivetrain layout, new steering system and a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension system.  

There is a sense of fluidity and serenity in the way the 335i moves when driven enthusiastically. Corners are taken with aplomb – punt it into a corner and the car responses to your inputs sharply and convincingly. The new electro-mechanical steering system is simply one of the best of its kind and arguably the best aspect of the 3 Series – it is wonderfully responsive at the slightest of inputs, swapping directions and turning in with sublime eagerness and makes for a highly communicative tool as well; returning all the feel and feedback its driver will ever need to his palms. The steering’s direct and talkative nature makes the 335i a hugely rewarding drive for even the most demanding of drivers.

The 3’s steering is matched by superb control body movements by the suspension in the corners. – It hardly leans a degree during cornering. The chassis generates a tremendous amount of grip – the car sticks obediently to its desired cornering line at up to insane speeds. Boot the throttle in a slow corner and you can even have a round of power oversteer with the DSC traction and stability control system off. Things are rather safe with DSC on though, the system intervening at the slightest hint of slip.

The brakes inspire confidence as well. The anchors do a great job of hauling the 335i down from speed and the excellent feel from the pedals mean that modulating braking power is a cinch.

Thankfully, the 335i’s taut handling doesn’t come at the cost of a harsh ride. This despite the fact that it is riding on 18-inch alloys. The ride is by no means cushy, but the 335i’s ride never feels overtly firm – the suspension absorbs bumps and road blemishes admirably at all speeds.

 Pop the 335i’s bonnet and you’ll find probably what is soon to be a dying breed – one of BMW’s last in-line six petrol motors, lurking in front of the firewall. The 2979cc unit is the familiar turbocharged unit shared with the 535i and the E92/93 335i coupe and convertible. Confusingly, BMW has dubbed the motor TwinPower Turbo, as seen on the engine cover in reference to the use of a single twin scroll turbocharger instead of a pair of turbines in earlier models. To confuse things even further, the force aspirated straight-six makes 306bhp and 400Nm, the same numbers as the twin turbocharged unit in the previous 335i saloon. The engine also features other familiar BMW technologies like Valvetronic and double-VANOS variable camshaft timing system. With BMW’s 2-litre fours producing even more power than the older naturally aspirated 2.5-litre straight-six units, the days of the straight-six are certainly numbered, which is certainly a pity somewhat as BMW had been so synonymous with straight-six motors in the past.

 Start the motor and all six cylinders fire up into life. Things start to get interesting right away – the exhaust emits a purposeful burble at idle. Rev it and the sweet purr of the straight six reverberates in your ears. With 400Nm between 1200rpm and 5000rpm, there are gobs full of torque throughout the rev range. Push it hard and the engine revs towards its redline sweetly and effortlessly. Outright performance is impressive – 0-100km/h comes up in just 5.5 seconds, a noticeable three-tenths of a second quicker than the previous 335i.

 The improved straightline speed comes courtesy of the new model’s eight-speed automatic gearbox. With two additional ratios over its predecessor, the new box has its lower ratios stacked closer together for improved acceleration while the higher cars can be longer for improved fuel economy. The box also shifts quickly and incisively, further adding to the overall sportiness of the 335i driving experience.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 2979cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 6
Bore x Stroke (84 x 89.6)mm
Power 306bhp @ 5800rpm
Torque 400Nm @ 1200rpm
Power to Weight 191.8 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 5.5s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FR

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4624 x 1811 x 1429) mm
Wheelbase 2810 mm
Kerb Weight 1595 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 63 L

Brakes