Car Culture

BMW brings back the is

At the 2010 New York auto show, BMW launches the 335is.

Sarah Tew/CNET
BMW 335is
BMW brings back its historical sport designation for the 335is. Sarah Tew/CNET

NEW YORK--For years, BMW designated sportier versions of its 3-series with the "is" suffix. That designation returned with the Z4 sDrive35is earlier this year, and comes back to the 3-series as the 335is at the 2010 New York auto show. The 335is gives BMW buyers an option for a sportier car than the standard 335i without going all the way up to an M3.

Rather than fit the 335i with a bigger engine, as with the M3, BMW tuned the engine software for more output, increasing horsepower from 300 to 320. Similarly, torque is increased from 300 to 332 pound-feet. But the 335is has another trick up its sleeve: overboost is a feature that makes the engine crank out 370 pound-feet of torque for a few seconds. Call it drag strip mode, accessible by flooring the accelerator.

Other than the software tuning, the engine is essentially the same as in the current 335i, a twin-turbo 3-liter straight six cylinder. This engine has been refined for the 2011 3-series, but its architecture remains the same as in the previous generation.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard in the 335is, but, like the M3, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available as an option. The 335is also comes standard with a sport-tuned suspension and some cosmetic features. M wheels and other equipment are available.