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Reader test: BMW 335i auto

2010-03-23 08:58

Isa Conning

I finally bit the bullet and traded in my beloved “Blacky”, my 2006 black E90 330i.

With 190 kW on tap, she could hold her own, especially at sea level. However, in Jozi, she found herself a little at the shallow end of the “power pool” thanks to the altitude. It was as though she was running on five instead of six cylinders.

Enter “Snow White”, a 335i auto!

Unlike Blacky, Snow White has no problems with altitude and enjoys playing with the seven dwarfs of hot hatch brigade; S3, MPS, Cupra, OPC, GTI, ST and Megane 2.0T. Not that these are her competitors, the new S4 would be, but let’s just say it’s a lot of fun giving them a good spanking whenever I get the chance.

Perfect performance/economy compromise?

The 335i in one awesome machine. As a family man, in terms of bang for buck, I cannot think of anything better. In this car I have found the best of all worlds. Decent fuel consumption for the engine size is pretty close to my 330 and, on the long road, even this car’s even lighter.

So, economy is good, it’s a family car, it looks great, is is right up there with the best of the best in terms of safety and features, the handling is brilliant and at R350k used it’s just too good to be true. Then there is the cherry on top… The power.

Twin turbo logic versus V8 perceptions?

The twin turbo straight six (World Engine of the Year 2007) pushing out 225kW and 400Nm of torque is, let’s just say I’ve had it for a month now and I have this permanent grin on my face!

As someone once wrote, on reviewing this car, “If you’re an M3 driver and an ordinary looking 3 series should pull up next to you at a robot, stop playing with the radio and pay attention until you are sure it is not a 335i.” LOL

In fact, on the reef, this car punches way above its weight. The 0-100 (under six seconds) as well as quarter mile times (around 13.8) for the 335i are basically the same as the M3 V8 and the RS4… How does it feel to have that on one’s CV? And according to tests done in Jozi, the 335 was quicker around Kyalami than the RS4 and very close behind the M3.

It is even quicker off the line to 100km/h than the obnoxious C63 (5.9 sec) as well as through the quarter mile (14.1). Of course, I am talking here about standard cars. If we want to enter the world of mods, then there too the 335 has been known to produce some astonishing results with software upgrades alone. So yes I am smitten, and so I should be.

As an M fan I was initially horrified that BMW had opted for twin turbos on this motor. However, with owning the 335 I can humbly say I stand corrected!  Forced induction is most certainly the way of the future and besides, as they say, ”If you can’t beat them, join them”

Long live the benchmark!


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