What is it?
Until the M3 receives this latest round of revisions, it’s the flagship model of the new 3-series range.
Unlike the 330d which receives an all new engine, BMW deemed the 306bhp, twin-turbo motor fit to be carried over unchanged. And while the engine is available with a new seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, it will currently only be bolted on to coupe and convertible models.
So the substantive changes are almost all cosmetic, and involve the usual tweak to the front and rear bumpers, side skirts and light units.
BMW has also taken the opportunity to widen the track by 24mm, partly to improve its visual stance on the road, but also to add stability.
But the biggest change, at least to those who choose to live with a 335i, is that the iDrive system has been entirely overhauled and is now based on a hard drive system which allows not only quicker navigation and clearer mapping, but also the ability to store over 100 albums of music.
And now, instead of having a simple controller and menu button, each individual area of activity, be it navigation, radio, CD or telephone is now selected by its own unique button and only then operated by the usual rotary dial.
What’s it like?
Most of the time, really quite exceptional. If you didn’t know, it would be all but impossible to tell that the engine was turbocharged.
It’s quiet when you need it to be, pleasantly rorty under hard acceleration and so responsive all around the rev range its powerband stretches from little more than 2000rpm all the way to peak power at 5800rpm.
All it needs is one short stretch of autobahn and it will head butt its 155mph speed limiter in either fifth or sixth gears.
This much we know from the old car, as we do the fact that it handles beautifully thanks to the natural balance of its chassis and the suppleness of its suspension. Even so, a spell of wet weather highlighted more than ever this car’s need for more traction. Quick getaways from wet junctions could result in frantic flashing of traction control lights and if you turned all the systems off (blessedly still possible), it’s still far too easy to spin an inside wheel. No change there, then.