Buy a BMW 335i
now ... or later
German automaker will debut
new model next spring
or more than three decades, the BMW 3 Series has
been the benchmark by which all other compact
luxury sedans have been judged. Just when its competi-
tors think they have it matched, the German automaker
prepares to raise the bar again.
For the 2012 model year, the BMW 3 Series is being
updated. Production begins in this month, with European
release scheduled first, followed by a late-spring 2012
U.S. introduction. Transitioning to its sixth generation, the
changes over the current model include a slightly longer
wheelbase, reduced overhangs and a sheet metal
persona that matches the larger 5 Series.
One sub-model will remain virtually unchanged. The
335i, a sport sedan powered by a 3.0-liter twin turbo V- 6
engine, will return and remain paired with a 6-speed
manual transmission. Besides sheet metal and interior upgrades, BMW is expected to provide an optional 7-speed
My test model was a 335i paired with the manual trans-
mission. Offering an even 300 horsepower and 300 foot-
pounds of torque, this sport edition supports the declarative
statement that the 3 Series is “all about the drive.”
And drive it I did, taking the 335i out of the city and
onto twisting, country roads where it was put through the
paces. Powered by its rear wheels, the 335i thunders
from zero to 60 mph in just over 5 seconds, with just a
few quick shifts of the stick. You’ll still be in fourth gear
when you hit your mark with plenty of room to push the
sedan further, pending legal speed limits and your personal desire to push on.
Handling is a thrill, something that is apparent with
every twist and turn of the road. This sedan navigates all
dips, rises, corners and every turn imaginable with ease.
Working quietly, but not obtrusively with the driver is
BMW’s dynamic stability control system that carefully
intervenes as needed without contravening driver feedback. You don’t have to be a race car driver to enjoy the
335i, but DSC makes you feel like one.
Braking is another strong suit of the 335i, one of the
few vehicles that I have tested that goes from highway
speed to a hard stop on a straight line and without the
attendant clunking of the anti-lock brake system. Steering
wheel grip is never compromised and your body stays
fixed in place ready to give the sedan your next command.
The 335i seats five, but is best enjoyed by four considering its tight rear quarters and drivetrain hump. A
driver’s seat extender makes an already comfortable seat
better with abundant wood and leather touches enhancing the cabin’s elegance. An onboard navigation system
with traffic alerts is optional.
Should you shop now for a current generation 335i or
wait for the new model to debut next spring? If you wait,
the 2012 335i will offer several new features including a
windshield Head Up Display, upgraded technology features
and more room. Either way, you’ll get BMW’s comprehensive four-year, 50,000-mile maintenance service plan, covering all service work for this iconic, fun-to-drive sedan. ;;
Matthew Keegan is a freelance auto writer based in Cary, N.C.