The BMW 3 Series Coupe is stylish, recently updated and has an unrivalled blend of performance and economy
What is it?
The new 3-series coupe, fitted with an uprated version of the twin-turbo diesel engine from the 535d (now with 427lb ft and 282bhp).
What's it like?
Quick. Unless you have iron resolve, this oh-so-tremendously worthy diesel coupé will get you into more trouble than you know how to get out of. The 335d simply demolishes any acceleration interval below three figures – and doesn’t let up much thereafter.
It’ll rev in a very undiesel-like way – a pleasant attribute, but not particularly relevant. The engine’s real weapon is the sledgehammer effect of all that torque through the mid-range and the hushed manner in which it is delivered. The turbo petrol 335i would ultimately be faster, but in a real-world test the diesel is easier to drive quickly, whether intentionally or by accident.
This is partly because the diesel is only available with BMW’s retuned six-speed automatic, which sweeps gearchanges past almost unnoticed and gives you very little against which to benchmark your rapidly escalating speed. Choosing between the petrol and the slightly more expensive diesel is difficult, because both engines perfectly complement the svelte new 3-series coupé.
There isn’t even much difference on the scales – just 30kg, which is not enough to make a discernible difference to the handling on our test. Nor are there any significant distinguishing visual clues; no downturned diesel exhausts here, just two chromed pipes like the turbo petrol.
Should I buy one?
Decently economical (BMW claims 37.7mpg on the combined cycle, and even with the most lead-footed approach we couldn’t get below 25mpg), monumentally strong and suitably sophisticated, the 335d coupé is a dead-cert contender for title of All The Car You’ll Ever Need.
Or it would be, except that it’s possible to get the same engine in 3-series saloon and Touring shells, and it’s the Touring that tempts us most: practical, upmarket and so effortlessly rapid. Just make sure you hang on to your licence long enough to enjoy it.