So the BMW M3 is the be-all end-all of chassis refinement and handling right? But what about price? For those wanting to pocket an extra $15K or so, take a look at the turbocharged 335is. Don’t fret, you still get the killer looks, and great handling, but instead of the V8 beast, you get a silky smooth inline 6 that BMW is so well known for. So if you are in the market for a seriously quick daily driver, continue reading.
We are all well aware of how BMW’s are some of the most thrilling cars on the road. Not only are they comfortable in everyday situations, but where they thrive is on the race track. Enter the 335is. This sport tuned version of the popular 3 series coupe is here with a attitude that one can’t ignore. The turbo, inline six has been tuned up to over 300 hp and will get you going in a hurry thanks to variable vein turbo technology. This means that turbo lag is practically non-existent. Shifting through the 6 speed gearbox is an absolute joy with the short throw and meaty shift lever, and the steering is telepathic. There are only a couple things I could find “wrong” with the overall driving experience. For one, BMW’s steering response is great, but the effort needed to turn the wheel is just a little much for a car that gets driven every day. Secondly, and I am being very nit-picky here, is the lack of headroom. There simply wasn’t a huge amount for someone taller than average. Aside from those minor details, this car is brilliant.
Looks wise, this car is one of the sharpest out there. Nothing over the top, nothing too outlandish. Just simple, aggressive styling is what makes this car stand out from the rest of the crowd. Wheels can make or break a car, and these are very classy with a simple split 5-spoke design that shows off the meaty calipers and rotors. Twin exhaust tips make the view from behind the car that much more sporty with a subtle rear diffuser being the cherry on top of the sundae. Halo rings around the headlights have been in the BMW DNA for a long time but this latest model receives LED’s for a brighter, whiter light that really sets the front end off. This car simply exudes speed even sitting still. Peeking at one of these in your garage will be enough to get the hairs raised on the back of your neck…it is that good looking.
The interior is nothing less than what one would expect from the BMW brand. Simple, tasteful, purposeful, and elegant. You are surrounded by soft-touch materials and easy-to-use control panels that aren’t over complicated and busy. Steering wheel controls are easy to reach and intuitive, something that can’t be said of many other cars these days. The center cluster speedo and tach are both easy to read and simple, not overly showy and gaudy. As if these things weren’t enough, there is room in back for someone over 4 feet tall and a very useable trunk as well.
What I love about this car is the sense of purpose you get as soon as you get in. From the “never let you go” sport seats to the exhaust tone at idle, everything about this car screams fast. However, once you get going, you realize that there is nothing punishing about it on real roads. Your back isn’t breaking every time you find a pothole, you aren’t straining to see out the back windows. The 335is not only rewards an enthusiast on the track, but also gives him/her a break on the ride back home. There aren’t very many cars out there that can honestly do just that. All in all, it is a very worthy alternative to the famed M3 and one that anybody should be proud to own.
A big thanks to BMW Des Moines and Ted Mathews for allowing me to drive the 335is and answering all my questions.