BMW 3 Series Sedan 335i Review
New look, new lease of life - will the throne remain?

Story by Azfar Hashim, pictures by Azfar Hashim and Kevin Limjoco reporting from Munich, Germany
15 Oct 2008

How to make a class-leader remain as desirable as ever? Give it a facelift, add some enhancements, make it more driveable, and there you have it – BMW's 335i  

What's new?

You’d have to go a long way to find anyone who’d opine that the current 3 Series looks either dated or anything other than smart. Chris Bangle isn’t daft - he knows well that this will be the most radical 3 Series ever. People will be doing a spot of comparison with the Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 while shopping for an executive sedan, hence he designed something that sets it apart from the other two. Plus he did an excellent job of making the 3-Series a sort of designer’s car that won’t date or look out of place at anytime – pretty much a marketing sweet dream.

If you were to ask me, there isn’t any need to update the 3 Series. But oh well, you know how the whole “to keep up with the competition, improvements must constantly be made” catch phrase. And this is why we’re in Munich to test drive the new 335i, which has been given some significant changes to its outlook and also, some minor mechanical updates.

The updated 335i gets a much sportier and aggressive outlook now - take a close look and you’ll notice the new front bumper that has strong cues of its M3 brethren. With those flowy lines, the 335i gets an elegant but at the same time, more significant façade. The kidney grill is bigger than the previous one, and it also gets new fog lights. It gets a redesigned bonnet as well – the BMW logo that seats proudly at the centre is now flanked by pronounced bumps that will help differentiate the new to the old. The 335i gets a new headlamp assembly which houses orange-coloured LED daytime running and signal lights. BMW’s signature “angel-eye” headlight thankfully remain, and this time around, been given brighter bi-xenon lights.

Tail lamp cluster were redesigned too, now resembling the two horizontal streaks seen on the new 7 Series reviewed earlier. Like the headlight, the rear also sees the application of LEDs over a conventional bulb – hmm…BMW seem to have a penchant for LEDs now, no? Still on the topic of the 335i’s exterior – you won’t really notice this, but the lower side skirts are much wider than before, apparently for both aesthetic and aerodynamic reason. Oh, rear bumpers are new too, together with that two exhaust muffler.

The interior sees new ergonomic improvements and some add-ons too – the angle of all four side door panel has been slightly repositioned, and the dashboard is now tilted more towards the driver. Extra vanity light, air condition outlets for the rear occupants and more trim and interior colour options are other improvements worth mentioning.

Besides that, everything remains solidly screwed together. Rear remains spacious, and boot space still cavernous. But it’s a little disappointing to see the meters remain unchanged though.

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