2011 BMW 335is
Even though the BMW 3-Series is nearing an overhaul, there is still time for one more new model, the 335is. The 3-Series Sport fills the gap between the regular-strength 335 and the undiluted M3.
To do that, BMW took the already strong N54 three-liter, twin-turbo straight six, upgraded the cooling system and added strategic electronic tuning, for 20 more horsepower and a total of 320. Plus, for fast sprinting, an overboost function delivers even more torque than the M3.
A six-speed manual is standard, but the optional seven-speed DCT automatic delivers to 60 in just over 5 seconds, a tick or two quicker than the stick. The exhaust note is a pitch-perfect blend of raspy weekend racer and gravelly grand tourer.
The 335is is available in coupe or convertible form, and either way, its extra visual swagger is understated but effective. The Coupe’s M3-style front air dam, special light-alloy wheels, and unique rear diffuser hint at the sort of fun to be had in the driver’s seat. The convertible tones it down a bit, making it harder to spot on the road.
Inside, the 3-Series cabin doesn’t change much, but what does change is for the better. M-Sport touches abound. Bolstered front seats are both comfortable and supportive.
“This is a great way to treat yourself to an almost M3-like experience without going to extremes in appearance and price. The turbo six still pushes you deep into the seat, but still gives everyday compliance and comfort.” – Ben Davis
The 2011 335is coupe starts just over $50,000, and the convertible starts just under $60,000.
N54 three-liter, twin-turbo straight six
Starts just under $60,000