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Steering, suspension and comfort

The coupé inherits the same chassis merits and foibles as other BMW E90 3 Series variants, chiefly excellent body control and an enjoyable degree of throttle adjustability but a fidgety ride on its run-flat tyres.

But the new F30 3 Series range is now here, thus the age of the E90-derived 3 Series models like the coupe that are still on sale is beginning to shine through. Chief problems the coupe suffers from include wind noise around the pillars and the overly heavy controls.

The rear-drive 3 Series has a neutral balance

The 335i and 335d coupés get sports suspension as standard, further sharpening body control at the expense of a firmer urban ride. Which, along with an annoyingly short first gear and heavy steering, makes city work the 335i’s least favourable habitat.

Despite BMW stiffening the chassis as much as possible without rendering it uncomfortable, such is the 335i’s punch that at times a 10 percent stiffer set-up wouldn’t go amiss.

High-speed direction changes are best anticipated, the resultant body roll pre-empted and settled before committing the 3 Series coupe to a series of bends. Equally, driven with gusto, the trick self-drying, soft-stop brakes wilt quickly with repeated use from high speeds, and the steering, although accurate, is a touch wooden, not quite transmitting the subtleties you crave.

The steering is heavy but direct, although the active rack is best avoided as it’s devoid of any realistic feel and doesn’t belong on a car whose chassis is otherwise so well developed.

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The new, smoother-reacting, dampers fitted as part of a series of mid-life revisions are generally impressive, though they can be caught out on more broken surface, resulting in jerky vertical reactions.