By David Colman
Hypes: Delicious M Sport Line, Best Seats, Planted Handling
Gripes: Auto Start/Stop Perplexing
You can just about buy a brand new Kia Rio for the $11,700 worth of “Options and Additional Charges” that bump the base price of this BMW 335i from $43,150 to $57,595. Ka-Ching starts ringing with the M Sport Line ($3,200), the Cold Weather Package ($950), the Driver Assistance Package ($1,900) and the Technology Package ($3,100). What exactly do you get when you order options that add more than 20 percent to the car’s base price? A delicious looking sedan that is so packed with technology that your lease will expire before you discover all of its myriad secrets.
BMW now relies exclusively on turbocharging to produce exceptional horsepower plus excellent fuel economy. The 335i’s inline 6 cylinder, twin turbocharged engine displaces just 3.0 liters, but produces 300hp while returning 26 MPG in combined city/freeway driving. The direct injection engine benefits from stepless variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust cams to extract every last molecule of energy from the 91 octane fuel BMW recommends for this motor. When you jump on the accelerator to complete a pass or merge with freeway traffic, the 335i instantly kicks down a gear or two (it has 8 of them), then surges seamlessly ahead.
All 335 sedans feature a console-mounted “Driving Dynamics Control” which allows you to select your desired performance level from these options: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. In Eco Pro, the sedan feels somewhat lethargic, with relaxed steering feedback matching a slow reacting throttle. In Comfort, the sedan feels reasonably spry, but when you flip to Sport or Sport Plus, this Bimmer is really ready to boogie. In these Sport modes, the steering becomes heavier but more informative, while throttle response zings into a hyper responsive algorithm that makes you want to lace your driving shoes tighter.