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Full test of the all-new BMW 335i sedan. Get check numbers, read the overview, and notice footage of the 3-series at Car and Driver
If you’re like us, you’ve bored holes thru footage of the new 3-series sedan looking to discern the styling changes versus the outgoing model. Yes, there are some. A brand new face options headlights that puddle in towards the chrome-wrapped kidneys and a wide, blunt-faced entrance bumper that creates a sort of grimacing overbite into the decrease grille. Move around to the perimeters and tail, and it all seems very acquainted, even though the brand new automotive is 1.9 inches longer in wheelbase and 3.7 inches longer general, which gives it more of a graceful, sprinter-on-blocks profile. But what’s actually new concerning the F30, you ask? Well, after six hundred miles in a brand-new 2012 F30-generation 335i Sport Line—and a few plates of South Carolina fish fry—we've got an attractive excellent thought.
The turbocharged N55 3.0-liter inline-six carries over its silkworm-woven symmetrical outputs of 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed guide nonetheless operates in concert with a tautly sprung snatch pedal and a spindly shifter that moves with greased precision, and the suspension and guidance nonetheless make us smile. The differences are in the main points: The sprint controls and vents stay in kind of the same locations, however a welcome redesign of the panel—with its more pronounced instrument hood, driver-oriented center console, and traditional pull-type parking brake—concentrates the point of interest at the pilot. The Sport Line (the flashiest of three to be had trim applications) provides a decorous marriage of leather-based, steel, pink stitching, and low-gloss plastic.
The wheelbase punch-out creates a couple of more cubic ft here and there, maximum noticeably within the back seat with its further head and knee room, plus some delicate tactile distinction in the steerage, unquestionably because of the switch to electric lend a hand (more on that in a 2d). The 2012 335i’s base price rises merely 0 from the 2011 type’s, and the load gain from our ultimate E90 335i check automobile is seventy seven kilos, no less than a few of which will have to be from the new not obligatory 19-inch wheels (0) and run-flat tires.
As Porsche did with its overhauled 911, BMW played it protected, no longer so much redesigning its icon but giving it a scrub and polish.
The corporate has laid to relaxation the unhealthy recollections of its authentic iDrive and brought forth an simply navigated multimedia device, though the three’s new freestanding center show doesn’t retract, and it matches the surrounding landscape about as well as the display screen in a wilderness drive-in theater.
The 335i loves being hurried down nation two-lanes with a radar detector on guard, appearing the same easy comfort with a snappy tempo as the previous style did. If the definition of fine steering is that which permits the driver to place the car exactly the place desired, the 335i’s still were given it. Its readability is undimmed through the transfer to electric assist and a brand new, non-compulsory variable-ratio guidance tools, even though its feedback is extra opaque. Surface textures and affects are indeed tuned out by means of this rack-and-pinion setup (though now not via the frame’s sound insulation, which we could a stunning quantity of tire noise via), however the sense of control doesn’t truly diminish.
The on-center window of slackness is solely large enough to hold the auto on a instantly trail however not too broad or too dead—as we’ve noticed in the 5- and 7-series—to allow wandering. Meanwhile, the trouble rises gratifyingly as you turn in. Unless you’re the kind that likes wheel shudders via each and every apex, the new Three leaves little to complain about.
The wheel does really feel a bit of overassisted with the Driving Dynamics Control (DDC) console transfer—which this yr reveals its means from BMW’s bigger vehicles into the 3-series as standard equipment—set on Comfort. But bump it as much as Sport or Sport +, and a herbal heft returns. There’s additionally an Eco Pro environment that waters down the throttle reaction to one thing closer to that of a Toyota Corolla.
We can’t say definitively that you need the not obligatory Adaptive M suspension (0), which adds electronically variable-damping shocks to the purposes managed by the DDC. For many years, the 3-series has gotten by way of positive without wires to its suspension. But we never found a atmosphere, which varies depending on what DDC mode you’re in, that lowered either the ride quality or frame control below that of superb. Even in the Sport and Sport + modes, which perk up the throttle—and within the latter additionally cuts traction-control intervention—the suspension nonetheless weeds out the worst chop. The suspension possibility does give the three’s character some flexibility. If you prefer your Three to always be in hunt-kill mode, an non-compulsory M Sport package deal, coming later, will drop the trip top by means of 0.4 inch on less attackable, non-electronic shocks, stiffer springs, and thicker anti-roll bars.
As for the numbers, the 335i proved marginally slower than anticipated in testing. It wanted 5.3 seconds to achieve 60 mph as a substitute of one thing in the prime fours, as we’ve recorded with earlier 335s. Sometimes that’s the driving force’s fault, however forensic analysis published that the launches came off okay. However, the car then slowed appreciably despite the fact that the shifts have been clean. We even tried power-shifting (keeping the gasoline pedal floored all the way through the gearchanges) a couple of instances, but the numbers wouldn’t budge.
A slower 5-to-60 time of five.Nine seconds—we expected mid-fives for that—additionally indicated that something could have been amiss. Bad gas, most likely, or no longer sufficient break-in miles on the odometer (1365 at take a look at time). Possibly, the new 19-inch rims and correspondingly heavier tires will have helped act as anchors. The 3’s other anchors, the brakes, did their responsibility to perfection, pulling several stops between 164 and 170 ft and not failing to provide a firm pedal in any state of affairs.
The upshot is that the 3-series marches on with improvements that mostly require engineering drawings to establish. This is both excellent information for those who passionately adored the previous fashion or bad tidings for those who have been hoping for extra newness. At some point, BMW must take a larger step to transport forward or risk falling behind its competition—however no longer just but.
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