Can Munich's revised two-door stay on top of the pile?

What is it?

A pretty important model for BMW. Last year, the firm shifted around 400,000 3-series models across the globe, making up 37 per cent of all BMW sales. A revamp for 2010 is designed to keep the 3-series family competitive.

One of the youngest 3-series variants is the E92 Coupe, which arrived four years ago. For the 2010 model year it's been given an overhaul, with nip-and-tuck cosmetic changes (new bumpers and sill covers, and LED-equipped head and tail-lamps) and the option of a number of revised engines.

What's it like?

On a freezing day in Munich we tried the 335i coupe, which is equipped with a new version of BMW's classic turbocharged straight-six engine and, in the case of our test car, a new seven-speed double clutch gearbox that adds £1640 to the list price.

Unlike its predecessor, this engine has a single turbocharger, rather than a pair. The new unit's 'TwinPower' design means the turbo is double-sided, with each set of blades spun up by the exhaust gases from three of the engine's six cylinders.

In addition to the high-pressure direct fuel injection, this engine now gets BMW's Valvetronic variable valve timing system. Although the engine's power and the car's performance remain unchanged from the previous model's, the fuel economy has been improved by eight per cent.

With 302bhp on tap and a diesel-like 295lb ft of torque (delivered completely flat from 1200rpm to 5000rpm), the 335i's performance is predictably impressive. However, our car's engine was a touch gruff under hard acceleration; it's not clear whether the direct injection system or just engine tightness was to blame.

The seven-speed dual-clutch 'box is excellent, being pretty indistinguishable from BMW's smooth auto boxes and avoiding the low-speed hesitation that affects VW's seven-speed DSG unit.

Should I buy one?

The 335i is quick, focused and well balanced. However, the age of the basic E90 3-series is beginning to show through.

Our car suffered from quite a bit of wind noise around the pillars and the overly heavy controls (especially the steering) made rowing the car along a tiny bit of a chore.

New, smoother-reacting, dampers were generally impressive, though they were unexpectedly caught out on one stretch of concrete autobahn, resulting in jerky vertical reactions. However, it's worth noting that the test car was running on soft-compound winter tyres.

Overall, what the rapid 335i Coupe delivers in easy performance it loses in the chassis' slightly wooden reactions.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Lee23404 15 March 2010

Re: BMW 335i SE Coupe

beachland2 wrote:

The mpg is good, but the engine is very detuned. This i expect would be a great engine to get remapped for an inexpensive boost in power. I expect they will have different versions of this engine and this is the entry level.

My father in law has recently had his 335i remapped. Power is now up to 370bhp and it cost him £300.

It was quick before but bloody hell it's fast now.

Mr£4worth 14 March 2010

Re: BMW 335i SE Coupe

lrh wrote:
classic turbocharged straight-six engine" Not sure how an engine that's only been around about 3 years can be called a "classi
May I ask have you ever driven a BMW with this engine? I think you'd know what they mean if you did. The 335 engine is awesome. Mind you I have only owned the twin turbo versions.

Peter Cavellini 13 March 2010

Re: BMW 335i SE Coupe

It has been known for a car maker as eminent as BMW to have iffy suspension, but as the man said it was on winter tyres.