From £26,090
Can Munich's revised two-door stay on top of the pile?

Our Verdict

BMW 3 Series Coupé
Low-down punch, top-end zeal, deep-rooted character and decent economy, there's plenty to like about the 3 Series Coupe

The BMW 3 Series Coupe is stylish, recently updated and has an unrivalled blend of performance and economy

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

Comments
21

12 March 2010

A BMW with a wooden chassis? Heresy, I tell you, heresy.

12 March 2010

[quote Autocar]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)[/quote] Pity it isn't any prettier. How I miss my old 335 SE cabrio. Platform getting old? Come on, the chassis was light years ahead of anything else I've ever owned, and 10 times better than our 135 coupe. Mind you I bet the "joy" of driving would be pretty similar even with the 170 bhp oil burner.

13 March 2010

Audi TTRS superior and better value?

13 March 2010

So, in the beginning this car was brilliant. Now it's wooden? So, while using the word 'brilliant' a lot in the article, you insist that it is aging?

Terrible thing, subjectivity.

13 March 2010

"Our car suffered from (...) and the overly heavy controls (especially the steering)" I don't get it; you would usually criticize steering that is 'too light' hence 'lacking feedback etc' (a random volvo review). This is amusing, really. I'm trading my volvo for a face-lifted e93 in April... and after all those glorious reviews of the 3 series I'm suddenly to expect a 'wooden-chassis'? ;-)

13 March 2010

beachland2 WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT

I work for Audi and i can tell you the TTRS is a totally different car to the 335i and also how is it better value a TTRS with a few little optional extras is over 50K!!

13 March 2010

Oh dear, are they going to have to start advertising it as the penultimate driving machine?

lrh

13 March 2010

"classic turbocharged straight-six engine" Not sure how an engine that's only been around about 3 years can be called a "classic".

13 March 2010

[quote AB17790]

beachland2 WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT

I work for Audi and i can tell you the TTRS is a totally different car to the 335i and also how is it better value a TTRS with a few little optional extras is over 50K!!

[/quote]

BMW 335i SE coupe with options = £52,650

R32

13 March 2010

[quote beachland2]beachland2 wrote the following post at Mar 13, 2010 11:03 AM:

[quote AB17790]

beachland2 WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT

I work for Audi and i can tell you the TTRS is a totally different car to the 335i and also how is it better value a TTRS with a few little optional extras is over 50K!!

[/quote]BMW 335i SE coupe with options = £52,650[/quote]

The article we are discussing states that the list price of the BMW 335iSE is £35,190 and the price of the car actually tested is £36,130. That is not £52,650. The Audi TT RS Coupe is listed on the Audi UK website with a list price of £42,985. That means the Audi TT RS Coupe has a list price that is £7,795 more than the list price of the BMW.

So exactly how is the TT RS better value? The £52,650 price stated for the BMW assumes (wrongly) all BMW buyers will tick every option available - do the same with the TT RS and it will match or even exceed the BMW on total price.

I am no fan of BMWs, but I hate to see figures being blatantly manipulated by someone to try to help them prove their point - particularly when they are wrong!

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