As well as being blindingly quick, the 335i is also practical. I have changed the oil every 6K miles instead of 15K as suggested. No matter which model you choose, the 3 Series' world-class suspension, steering and brakes will provide hours of entertainment on twisty two-lane highways. Leatherette sport seats grip the driver's and passenger's hindquarters in a way that suggests the car's designers anticipate plenty of lateral acceleration. Aside from a flexible standard stereo, cabin tech is mostly a case of pay-to-play. Neither was available for the intro drive.
The appeal of a retractable hardtop is obvious — four-season usefulness, security and a more comfortable cabin environment, to name a few high points. Once your battery goes dead you get a steering wheel lock. Your only restrictions will be your tires. Furthermore, the latest turbochargers, working with direct fuel injection, yield a broader power band and less lag than their predecessors did. However, it takes a while to open and close, and there is only a sliver of usable trunk space when it is down. This car is a money pit.
Driving mountain roads to Lake Tahoe proved exhilarating in the 335i Convertible. Big test coming up as it runs ~240F 70F outside. Obviously, this promises a whack of thrust off the line. The emphasis, through items such as supportive seats and clean analog gauges, is on driver comfort and involvement. The new 335i has a 3. We found the autopresenter a novelty, then a pain, then a useful feature: it takes some time to quell the reflex urge to reach around and grab the belt manually--a course of action that is sure to result in the belt becoming detached from the arm, and so completely out of reach.
The 3 Series coupe is one of my favorite designs. Three-hundred pound-feet of torque kicks in from 1400 to 5000 rpm, making it a quick-launching Euro coupe that'll feel at home in the American V-8 environment. The standard, normally aspirated engine is a little light on low-end torque, but it moves the car around smartly and provides slightly better mileage. In addition to their more powerful engine, the 335 models have power front seats and a premium Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound system. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across the board, and a six-speed automatic with a manual mode is optional on all 3 Series models. Whichever of the three coupes you choose, you get that familiar half-ellipse greenhouse, with the requisite Hoffmeister kink, over fresh sheetmetal in a car as handsome as, if less dramatic than, the new Z4 Coupe. A sturdy dead pedal as wide as your shoe is much appreciated.
Fun handling, fast car but with all the creature comforts. If you cruise at the speed limit a bit higher. A six-disc changer is available as a dealer install, which means it won't be an in-dash unit, with either a glove box or trunk mount. If we were spending our own money and had to buy one car, it would be hard to pick anything but the 335i. I take road trips to Wisconsin and West Virginia in the winter and have never been stuck, even when plowing through snow over the front bumper.
The flame surfacing is subtle but it's there, with canted panels on each side of the twin kidneys curving up along the hood to create a power bulge. Want to tighten your line? Meanwhile, last year's 325 models give way to the 328i and 328xi, which still have a 3. In city driving, we had adequate boost without too much egging on, but for fast starts onto highways or freeways from a stop, we found it worked best to push it above 3,000rpm before dropping the clutch, otherwise first gear feels a little anemic. Oh, the 335i Convertible has plenty of available cabin gadgets plus a slick retractable hardtop, but the technology that impresses us most about this car lives under the hood. As for me, I love speed but this car handles so well it is more fun than I could ever ask for when in Sport mode.
It provides a comfortable ride for passengers and, with the top down, extra sun and air in a stylish package. When we wanted to cruise around the mountains with the top down, we had to pile up our bags in one of the rear seats. The front seats have enough firm support to ward off fatigue during a day's worth of driving, while the rear seats are adequately roomy for adults on shorter trips and plenty accommodating for children. Also adjustable are the leather seats that kept us in place and comfortable. The driving position is exemplary, with the steering wheel adjustable so that it falls to hand at just the right angle. Getting the most out of this engine using the car's smoothly shifting six-speed manual took some on-the-job training. But since our 335i didn't have one, it was done via the much more limited alphanumeric display of the audio system.
But then we remembered that, driving with the top down, the entire roof structure was stowed in the trunk. And all of this power comes with 10% better fuel economy than an equivalently powerful non-turbo engine. I wanted heated seats and being from the south that was not an option unless you were in the northern region at the time. The interior is familiar, with rich leathers and quality construction. With two people, the 335i Convertible makes a good touring car. They got it for me.