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Sarah Tew/CNET

BMW brings back the is

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

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.