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      02-10-2012, 10:46 AM   #1
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335i First Drive from Automobile

http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews...#ixzz1lzhp8JnZ

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First Drive: 2012 BMW 335i
February 09, 2012 / By Jason Cammisa

The new F30-chassis 3-series is, like all of its predecessors, a calculated evolution of its predecessors. History's been clear on this: first BMW makes evolutionary changes to a 3-series, then it does a revolutionary re-think. The E21 was updated into the E30. The E36 was a big change -- followed by an evolutionary update that became the E46. The E90 was again a big change, and that means the step from last year's 3-series into this new one is evolutionary.

From a styling standpoint, that's pretty clear. The greenhouse looks so similar to the outgoing 3-series that you might not even notice you're looking at a new one. The rear end too looks familiar -- it's practically indistinguishable from the current 5-series. And the nose? It's new, but it's also exactly what you'd expect from BMW (now that the company has finally grown out of its Ugly Years.)

The F30's interior is an absolute revelation. The E90's cold, stark dash has been replaced by a cabin dressed with unnecessary curves and artful details. It's obvious that nothing in this car's lavish interior was placed there by accident -- each button, control, surface, and curve was actually designed, not just engineered. It's the first time a 3-series has been so form-driven, and the best part is that the designers have sacrificed not one iota of function.

The only sacrifice, versus the E90, is some interior materials. The center console is made of hard, scratchy plastic where it was previously soft and rich. The glovebox door latch feels like it came from a Scion. These are worthwhile sacrifices, though, and the inside of the new 3-series is easily as elegant as the best from Audi. It's about time.

Underneath, the changes to the 3-series are subtle. The front strut-type suspension remains constructed of aluminum, though the rear multi-link is now all steel. (E90s used some aluminum in back.) The designs are similar, however, and the changes to the 3-series seem to be all based around fuel economy, not changing the car's fundamental engineering layout.

On the fuel economy front, the 335i has improved from 19/28 mpg to 20/30 with the 6-speed manual and a very impressive 23/33 mpg with the eight-speed automatic. Those are considerable gains -- considering that the engine and coefficient of drag have remained the same and the six-speed manual has a shorter top gear. Obviously, the eight-speed automatic's wide gear spread is responsible for its benefit over the manual.

We drove both automatic and manual-transmission 335i sedans, and they're both equally impressive. Manual fans will continue to appreciate how easy BMW's clutches are to operate -- the 335i's engagement point is positive, and the clutch effort is not too high. Its long travel is a bit of a chore (could it be that the 3-series is getting a bit big to have a stick? It's a big reach to the floorboard) but the shifter's throws aren't, and the engine's sound and responsiveness makes this a very entertaining powertrain. The eight-speed automatic isn't quite as involving, of course, but its incredibly closely spaced ratios (and the cool BUUURP from the exhaust on full-throttle upshifts) make hard acceleration feel even faster. BMW says either 335i sedan can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

The new 3-series switches to electric power assist, which is more often than not a recipe for miserable steering feel. Happily, that's not the case in the 335i, which serves up commendable on-center feel. It's not nearly as good as last year's 3-series, but it's far better than the 5-series' dead tiller, so we remain hopeful that BMW's engineers will continue to refine the system.

Where the steering's assist system really needs help is on the race track. Of course, the mechanicals are perfect -- as a whole, the 335i's steering is perfectly accurate -- but there is absolutely zero feedback at the limit. As you turn into corners, effort builds somewhat naturally (more so in the car's sport modes, which reduce steering assistance), but at no point will you feel through your hands what the front tires are doing -- you'll need your butt for that.

Still, the 335i acquits itself surprisingly well on a race track, with great body control, lots of grip, and brakes that are easily up to the task -- even at Laguna Seca, a track notoriously hard on brakes. Unfortunately, the 335i's competition is close by in the rear-view mirror.

And no, we don't mean Audi. Or Infiniti. Or even Mercedes-Benz. We're talking about the 328i -- the new four-cylinder, entry-level 3-series. The 328i can be had for some $7500 less, and its overachieving four-cylinder puts out only 60 fewer horsepower and a mere 40 fewer lb-ft of torque. Weighing more than 150 lb less, BMW says it's only 0.3 to 0.5 seconds less swift to 60, and it feels like the gap is even smaller.

More importantly, the lighter 328i clobbers the 335i in the corners. We considered the 335i to be the on-track benchmark of the near-luxury sport sedan segment -- until we drove the four-cylinder. The 335i turns in with rubbery reluctance and then settles into mild understeer. The 328i does nothing of the sort -- despite what feels like more body roll from behind the wheel, the four-cylinder Bimmer throws itself at corners like teenage girls at Justin Bieber: with controlled wags of the hips and a breathtaking amount of confidence. The 335i might still be a better corner carver than its chief rivals, but it's no match for the 328i.
Quote:
So if it's barely faster in a straight line and not quite as great in corners, why would you buy the 335i? To be honest, if you're looking at an automatic 3-series, it's a hard sell. But with a manual, it's no contest -- the 335i is the better car. BMW muted the four-cylinder's noise far more than the blown six's, which was the right choice -- nobody wants to hear a four-cylinder in an expensive car.

But that means driving the 328i with a manual requires a lot more attention: you can barely hear or feel the engine, so you wind up taking off with way too many revs -- or stalling it. Revving the engine out in each gear brings no acoustic pleasure, so you short-shift it and ride the enormous wave of low-end torque. And all the while, you're thinking that you'd be just as happy with the automatic.

In the 335i, you revel in the engine's noise. Its broad, flat torque curve means you don't have to rev the engine -- but you want to. You want to hear it, you want to feel it, and you wind up loving it. More so than ever, it's an emotional decision rather than a rational one -- but with three pedals in the driver's footwell, there's still no sport sedan better than a BMW 335i.

Read more: http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews...#ixzz1lzhp8JnZ
that's my favorite part
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      02-10-2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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More importantly, the lighter 328i clobbers the 335i in the corners. We considered the 335i to be the on-track benchmark of the near-luxury sport sedan segment -- until we drove the four-cylinder. The 335i turns in with rubbery reluctance and then settles into mild understeer. The 328i does nothing of the sort -- despite what feels like more body roll from behind the wheel, the four-cylinder Bimmer throws itself at corners like teenage girls at Justin Bieber: with controlled wags of the hips and a breathtaking amount of confidence. The 335i might still be a better corner carver than its chief rivals, but it's no match for the 328i.

Read more: http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews...#ixzz1lzjSMKkU
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      02-10-2012, 11:26 AM   #3
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LOL indeed

It reminds me of my 120d I had for a few months, great chassis but that 4 potter I couldn't get used to. So I switched to the E90 330i 6MT when it came out instantly.

335i 6MT FTW
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      02-10-2012, 11:30 AM   #4
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Talking

I dont want to throw myself at Justin Bieber...

Therefore i made the right choice in ordering my 335i MT !!

No regrets whatsoever, especially with the reward of a perfect orchestra music!

Last edited by DrivenByE30; 02-10-2012 at 11:31 AM. Reason: No way no how, i do not want JB...
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      02-10-2012, 11:35 AM   #5
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The 335 does sounds nice(especially in person), but ever since they made the switch from N54 to N55 i just got so pissed about it lol
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      02-10-2012, 01:04 PM   #6
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Can I be excited with 328i to throw myself at Selena Gomez?
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      02-10-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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"But that means driving the 328i with a manual requires a lot more attention: you can barely hear or feel the engine, so you wind up taking off with way too many revs -- or stalling it. Revving the engine out in each gear brings no acoustic pleasure, so you short-shift it and ride the enormous wave of low-end torque. And all the while, you're thinking that you'd be just as happy with the automatic. "

I don't think this guy knows what he is talking about.
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      02-11-2012, 02:51 PM   #8
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So spend $7500 extra for the engine sound? Yeah, that makes sense.
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      02-11-2012, 02:59 PM   #9
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lol, the 4 does sound funky, but thats why you get ZPS
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      02-11-2012, 03:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craesq
So spend $7500 extra for the engine sound? Yeah, that makes sense.
This just reinforces that it's better to wait for an //M performance pack, a 340i or whatever the hell they're going to call the uprated n55 in a couple years. I hope it doesn't take too long considering the 640i and x6 lci already have it. I also hope it's a meaningful performance gain.

I could envision a scenario where it's only available on the 4 series tho, and that would suck.
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      02-12-2012, 09:35 AM   #11
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So spend $7500 extra for the engine sound? Yeah, that makes sense.
You certainly can option the 328/335 to show a $7,500 difference, but when similarly optioned it is much closer. I just ordered a 335i F30, and a 328i with the exact same options was $3,200 less. When you factor in the increased resale value of the 335i, it made my decision easy.
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      02-12-2012, 10:07 AM   #12
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I too priced out the 328 and 335 equipped the same and was I only about $3k apart. The 328 sounds fun but had to go 335 in the end.
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      02-12-2012, 10:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTM_Challenge
I too priced out the 328 and 335 equipped the same and was I only about $3k apart. The 328 sounds fun but had to go 335 in the end.
Same here. I took the 335i without premium. got sportline, tech package BMW Apps, sport auto transmission, premium sound.
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      02-12-2012, 10:34 AM   #14
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So spend $7500 extra for the engine sound? Yeah, that makes sense.
BMW solved that problem in the M5 with Active Sound Design. Now they have the technology to make any motor sound like a V10... to the passengers inside the car, anyway.

And then maybe you can hack it and make the 328i sound like an F1 car.
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      02-12-2012, 10:59 AM   #15
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You certainly can option the 328/335 to show a $7,500 difference, but when similarly optioned it is much closer. I just ordered a 335i F30, and a 328i with the exact same options was $3,200 less. When you factor in the increased resale value of the 335i, it made my decision easy.
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I too priced out the 328 and 335 equipped the same and was I only about $3k apart. The 328 sounds fun but had to go 335 in the end.
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Originally Posted by jzcrna View Post
Same here. I took the 335i without premium. got sportline, tech package BMW Apps, sport auto transmission, premium sound.
I get around $4,000 price difference when I spec out 328i and 335i with the same options.

328i : Sport Line, Premium Package, Sport Auto, Heated Front Seats, Xenons, Metallic Paint = MSRP $44,345 / Invoice $40,805

335i : Sport Line, Premium Package, Sport Auto, Heated Front Seats, Metallic Paint = MSRP $48,445 / Invoice $44,605

That price difference results in around $80 per month difference in payments under the same loan terms. I wonder how much difference would there be in insurance rates?
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      02-12-2012, 11:02 AM   #16
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I have not yet driven the F30 328, but the F30 335 sounds like a turbine and pulls really hard, snapping off shifts quickly and smoothly. Also the 335's stop/start is relatively unobtrusive, which I was concerned about initially, after hearing that the 328 shuddered a bit upon restart. I went with the the six cylinder on the BMW because I just love the torque, power, smoothness, sound, feel, and heritage. The fuel economy is much improved, too, and I will bet that if one can restrain one's right foot a bit, it will get great mileage. I don't doubt the four's prowess and economy at all, however. It is definitely an over-achiever!
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      02-12-2012, 12:02 PM   #17
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I get around $4,000 price difference when I spec out 328i and 335i with the same options.

328i : Sport Line, Premium Package, Sport Auto, Heated Front Seats, Xenons, Metallic Paint = MSRP $44,345 / Invoice $40,805

335i : Sport Line, Premium Package, Sport Auto, Heated Front Seats, Metallic Paint = MSRP $48,445 / Invoice $44,605

That price difference results in around $80 per month difference in payments under the same loan terms. I wonder how much difference would there be in insurance rates?
You need to add the alarm for $400 to the 328i to make them match. It is free in the 335i. Now you are down to $3,700 difference with your example. Although, to be honest, I would never order the alarm for $400.
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      02-12-2012, 12:24 PM   #18
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with lower insurance, lower monthly payment (pay more at the end with APR) around $80 and better gas milage...I will take the 328i you can have you noise, imo.

Also this has been discussed else where and the resale value on the 328i and 335i are the same. If you pay 3.5k more for one you will get around 3k for resale, simple math imo.

I do not bash either car or what you do with your money, to me sound is not worth it. Also you can there are tunes that have the 328i at 294hp/300ish torque.
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      02-12-2012, 01:42 PM   #19
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with lower insurance, lower monthly payment (pay more at the end with APR) around $80 and better gas milage...I will take the 328i you can have you noise, imo.

Also this has been discussed else where and the resale value on the 328i and 335i are the same. If you pay 3.5k more for one you will get around 3k for resale, simple math imo.

I do not bash either car or what you do with your money, to me sound is not worth it. Also you can there are tunes that have the 328i at 294hp/300ish torque.
Good points, both are great cars. You cant go wrong with either .
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      02-12-2012, 04:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weaselboy View Post
You need to add the alarm for $400 to the 328i to make them match. It is free in the 335i. Now you are down to $3,700 difference with your example. Although, to be honest, I would never order the alarm for $400.
You are correct, I forgot the alarm to make the comparison more accurate. But I wouldn't spend $400 for it either.

I must say though, once BMW makes Xenons stand-alone option on the 328i or offers Convenience Package (like for the X3 2.8), it is game over for me. Then I wouldn't take the Prem Pack on the 328i and the price difference would be even bigger for my order.
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      02-12-2012, 06:54 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by iwannabimmer View Post
I get around $4,000 price difference when I spec out 328i and 335i with the same options.

328i : Sport Line, Premium Package, Sport Auto, Heated Front Seats, Xenons, Metallic Paint = MSRP $44,345 / Invoice $40,805

335i : Sport Line, Premium Package, Sport Auto, Heated Front Seats, Metallic Paint = MSRP $48,445 / Invoice $44,605

That price difference results in around $80 per month difference in payments under the same loan terms. I wonder how much difference would there be in insurance rates?
That's the correct way to compare pricing.
You put the same options in and then get a price.
I hate when auto mags make claims like, "It's $7000 different in price", when they're comparing a semi loaded 335i, which comes with standard items that you have to add to a 328i.

This is good for leasers like me. The difference in price bodes well for leasing a 335i as it won't be that much more than an equivalently optioned 328i. I'm used to my 135i's MPG, and the new 335i's MPG is a bit better than what I get now.
After seeing the new 3 in person I'm not sold. It's beautiful and looks very sweet. It's just gotten too big. But, I'll reserve final judgement until I get some test drives in both 328i and 335i sport with MT and AT.
That could change my mind.
Especially since BMW won't have a 1 series coupe replacement for about 1 to 1.5yrs.

I'll bet insurance won't be too different.
The 335i has a higher MSRP so that will probably result in a slightly higher amount for collision. Overall though these are both turbo's, so probably not too much.
I'm 46 so for me insurance isn't too bad. But, I have a 135i and the premium now is about the SAME as it was 3yrs ago! I think that's because the 1 series tends to attract younger buyers, who must be doing some stoopid stuff and the premium is not dropping even though the value of the car is.
An F30 328i or 335i will probably not cost too much more as my 135i coupe, as the F30 is a sedan typically driven by an older group.
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      02-12-2012, 07:24 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Xcution View Post
with lower insurance, lower monthly payment (pay more at the end with APR) around $80 and better gas milage...I will take the 328i you can have you noise, imo.

Also this has been discussed else where and the resale value on the 328i and 335i are the same. If you pay 3.5k more for one you will get around 3k for resale, simple math imo.

I do not bash either car or what you do with your money, to me sound is not worth it. Also you can there are tunes that have the 328i at 294hp/300ish torque.
and you can tune the 335i to 350/350ish... You can never make a 328i the same as a 335i. Besides, according to reviews, it's not just the noise... it's the smoothness.. For me the smoothness is the bigger issue on the 328i. Could care less about the exterior sound. I-6 Ftw
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