Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 BMW 335isThe Goldilocks car of BMW's 3 series.
^M00:00:01 [ Background music ] ^M00:00:03 >> If the 328i is too pedestrian for you, the 335 i, a little too common, and the M3 too absurd, meet the Goldilocks car, BMW's 335iS; real sport chops without the "look at me" nonsense. Let's check the tech. ^M00:00:22 [ Car engine running ] ^M00:00:25 The 335iS basically takes the already lovely 335i a couple of clicks toward enthusiastic. More horsepower, more torque, another inch on the wheels, and sportier trim around the cabin all finished up by a sublime exhaust. ^M00:00:42 [ Car engine running ] ^M00:00:46 You can spot one of these guys by the black chrome grill, M body cues especially around the mouth, and black tailpipe finishers. Subtle but athletic. ^M00:00:54 [ Car engine running ] ^M00:00:56 Nothing too ornate inside the cabin here. Now our car has been loaded up with all the tech, but there's something lean and purposeful about the inside of this car. It's not that different from the other 3 series. You do have a special finish here, this kind of, you know, no nonsense textured metal, 335iS badges all over, very widescreen, high res LCD. Navigation is an option you've got to put on this car either a la carte or via package. The audio system base is pretty good. We have the Harman Kardon surround system and it's quite good. Your base reg is going to give you a single slot CD that doesn't change with the Harman Kardon option. Your other media options are AM/FM radio, HD radio as well on this guy, satellite radio is Sirius, as you know, it's a BMW product. Auxiliary jack is stock in this car, but we have the optional iPod plus aux in here which also works with USB thumbdrives and by the way we have verified it works fine with iOS 4 or our iPad Touch. The Harman Kardon System as you can see has their L7 surround. It's basically bogus surround; it's not like DTS or Dolby PL2, but if you like that kind of thing, it does a pretty good job of it and all that pumps out through a 420 watt amp and 11 speakers. Again, when you get the Harman Kardon rig, that's the big sound. About the only other thing I'd point out in this car is this little delight. That's a 6-speed manual shifter if you haven't noticed the top of it and thank God this car offers that because to saddle it only with a sport automatic or a DCT that blurs the message. The 335iS is a sharper knife. It's simple, it's clean, it's all about getting the job done with the least amount of technical whirligigs. In fact if I ordered this car, I would get none of the tech. I'd cut against the grain and I'd go super stripped. ^M00:02:37 [ Background music ] ^M00:02:40 Now this is a great motor. It's one that's kind of on the outs with BMW. It's their N54 engine. It's an inline-6 that came out when the 335i first debuted, twin turbos, 3.0-liter 6 cylinder. The difference is the N55 is coming online now. It has a single twins [inaudible] turbo, valvetronic, electric valve adjustment and direct injection. None of that's happening here. You won't miss it; 320 horsepower, 332-foot pounds of torque. Those numbers on paper don't wow anybody. They're real good, but they're not like amazing. What happens here though is magic. No one has tuned turbos to work so well in conjunction at different parts of the RPM band as BMW and this power is so willing, so seamless, so non-turbo, i. e. no lag, you just love this engine all day long. As I mentioned, our car has the 6-speed manual transmission hooked up like that this car is good for like 5.1 seconds 0 to 60. You're a tiny bit faster with the DCT, but the expense and all the lack of clarity of that compared to a manual gearbox doesn't work for me in this car. ^M00:03:48 [ Background music ] ^M00:03:56 By the way a 335iS comes standard with a moon roof, but the dealer can spec that in the mind of some bloated option away from the car for no cost buying you some head room and losing a little weight. ^M00:04:08 [ Background music ] ^M00:04:13 On the road this is where the iS does its work. The power unwinds effortlessly not in the burly way of a car on steroids; much more elegantly than that. Handling is clear, sharp and tossable [phonetic] although I could have used a little more compliance. The tires spend too much time in the air on less than perfect pavement. The shifter is rather notchy in that BMW way and the clutch effort not quite linear also how they do it, but well within the parameters of satisfying and then there's that exhaust [inaudible] ^M00:04:42 [ Engine revving ] ^M00:04:44 At any RPM ^M00:04:45 [ Engine revving ] ^M00:04:49 It's the best thing you're going to listen to. ^M00:04:51 [ Background music ] ^M00:04:54 The 2011 335S starts at 50,500. The stuff that makes it a CNET ride is refreshingly all available a la carte. Navigation, 2,100; Harman Kardon surround audio, 875; iPod plus USB, 400; moon roof delete free as I said. The last biggie is the automated manual dual clutch transmission for 1,600. To my mind once you check that off, you're probably buying the wrong car. Elegant directness is the message here and BMW has succeeded in getting it across. Don't complicate it. ^M00:05:28 [ Background music ] ^M00:05:31