Part of the allure of the three major German brands – BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi – continues to be their stunning European high performance coupes. For BMW that means the 3-Series Coupe and the magnificent 6 Series lineup.
Volkswagen has a contender too – the latest Scirocco - but for reasons that continue to astound the brand’s enthusiasts, Volkswagen Group Australia steadfastly refuses to bring this stylish coupe to Australia.
BMW 335i Coupe Overview
BMW’s latest 3-Series coupe range starts at $65,500 for the 320d Coupe. Even the harshest critic would concede the current 3-Series coupe is one of the most stylish to emerge from BMW’s Munich design studios.
Car Showroom tested the $120,200 335i Coupe (seven-speed automatic) with its standard M Sport kit. The 335i ups the ante in the engine department with BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-litre six cylinder – a jewel in the crown of BMW engine department.
Inside is the hallmark BMW luxury with wonderfully high quality materials and stylish finishes evident wherever you look.
But the real surprise with the latest BMW 335i Coupe is its spacious rear seat – the good news is families can live with this German coupe.
BMW 335i Coupe Engine
With its twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine delivering 225kW at 5800 rpm and peak torque of 400Nm from as low as 1200 rpm, the BMW 335i Coupe sprints from zero to 100km/h in just 5.4 seconds.
Significantly in the latest update, BMW has pared eight per cent from the turbo six’ fuel consumption – now down to 8.4l/100kms for the seven-speed automatic model we tested.
In fact this turbocharged six-cylinder bristles with BMW’s latest technology including VALVETRONIC full variable valve management and the light-alloy lightweight cylinder head.
We loved the audio track of the turbo six at speed – it’s exhaust note a beautiful sound for performance car enthusiasts. For sure, a few revs are appreciated – once you get beyond 4,000 rpm, the BMW 335i Coupe really takes off.
BMW 335i Coupe The Interior
Like its German rivals, the BMW 335i Coupe delivers justification for its price tag the millisecond you open the doors. The beautiful ‘Dakota’ leather, the standout colour palette, gloriously shaped seats, top-shelf materials, and sporty leather-wrapped, three-spoke M Sport steering wheel all look good and feel even better when you climb inside.
With multiple electronic adjustments for the front seats and rake/reach adjustment for the steering wheel, the usual BMW top-shelf driving position is instantly achieved in the BMW 335i Coupe. BMW uses stalk-mounted management for the cruise control and the BMW 335i Coupe comes with a brake function, which applies the brakes for rapid deceleration while on cruise.
Instrumentation is BMW’s usual conservative, stylish arrangement with air-conditioning and audio in the center console. As part of the M Sport kit, the BMW 335i Coupe scores the up-rated audio/navigation system with an 8.8-inch colour screen, analogue/digital TV reception, hard disk and six CD storage, DVD Player, MP3, USB and Bluetooth.
Rear seat access is reasonable thanks to the electronic front seat adjustment and leg room for the second row occupants is surprisingly accommodating – no complaints from the Car Showroom juniors.
BMW 335i Coupe Exterior & Styling
Distinctly BMW, obviously stylish and - in a European way - sporty and menacing, the BMW 335i Coupe delivers standout on-road presence.
Already one of the world’s most acclaimed designs, the latest changes for the BMW 335i Coupe have enhanced its appearance noticeably. These include a wider and more prominent version of the kidney grille with extra chrome, the latest L-shaped taillights, lower side sills and a longer front section, an extra character line across the boot and (standard on the 335i) Bi-Xenon headlights and LED light cluster with yellow light rings for the daytime running lights function.
The BMW 335i Coupe and Convertible offer a styling package, which is unique in the 3-Series lineup. Both score the M Sport package plus 19-inch double-spoke ‘313M’ alloy wheels, which are not available on other variants (they get 18-inch alloys).
Part of the M Sport improvements is an aerodynamic package, obvious at the front of the BMW 335i Coupe with a low front spoiler with extra cooling ducts feeding air to the front brakes.
BMW 335i Coupe On the Road
With its M Sport suspension tune, magnificent turbocharged six-cylinder powerplant and slick seven-speed automatic transmission, the BMW 335i Coupe delivered one if the drives of the year when we tackled our high-speed mountain roads test route. Brilliant chassis balance, razor-sharp turn-in, superb steering feedback, magnificent throttle response (best when shifting the seven-speed manually) and startling mid-range acceleration – BMW at its best really.
In fact it was worth opening the windows just to hear that turbo six working hard!
Back in town the BMW 335i Coupe maintained its classy precision and that instant throttle response proved handy when negotiating the peak-hour freeway ‘Grand Prix’. We expected some challenges when reverse parking (coupes often restrict rear three-quarter visibility) but that wasn’t the case with the clever design of the BMW 335i Coupe.
The low front spoiler narrowly cleared the gutter entering our CBD high-rise car park and care was required when parking front-on (but owners of high performance coupes are familiar with this).
BMW 335i Coupe Challenges
We love the sporty dynamics of the BMW 335i Coupe M Sport, but some did comment on its stiffness over bumps like Melbourne’s tram and train track crossings. Recognizing this, BMW Australia does offer the BMW 335i Coupe with all the M Sport aesthetics but not the sports suspension set-up as ano-cost option.
BMW 335i Coupe Verdict
Like its rivals from Germany, the BMW 335i coupe shows how clever design can deliver a high-performance coupe which the whole family can enjoy. Sure this all comes at a price, but the rewards in terms of driving dynamics and interior luxury more than justify the outlay.
And in that context, the $32,336 stretch from the equivalent BMW 325i Coupe model to the 335i M Sport version we tested certainly pays off with the extra 65kW/150Nm of the turbocharged 3.0-litre, sharper looks and sportier suspension calibration.
BMW 335i Coupe The Competition
Gee-wizz this is a tough field – the BMW 335i Coupe takes on Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe! Honestly who’d knock-back any of them?
With the seven-speed auto, our BMW 335i M Sport Coupe was stickered at $120,200 and, at $94,100, Audi’s V6 petrol A5 is a fair way short of the BMW under the bonnet. The more powerful Audi S5 V8 starts at $133,500.
For the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe (probably the looker of the bunch) you’ll need $129,350 for the E350.
To get really picky you would probably nominate the BMW as the most hard core for sporty on-road dynamics.