First Drive: 2011 BMW 335is Sings Out To Weekend Racers Page 3

January 22, 2010
2011 BMW 335is Coupe

2011 BMW 335is Coupe

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All the 3-Series goodness, with a little more kick

As with the new 2011 5-Series that we recently reported on in a First Drive, the 335is gets pull-type steering-wheel paddle shifters (left for downshifts, right for upshifts), which command an almost instantaneous shift from the DCT gearbox. Unfortunately, DCT still forces a downshift at full throttle, even in manual mode, where track drivers would likely want the ability to hold a selected gear.

But the rest of the story is exhilarating. The stronger engine in the 335is, just as the one in the 335i, responds to the throttle like a well-tuned V-8, and it provides peak torque from 1500 rpm all the way up to 5000 rpm—meaning that you’re not at all likely to be caught off guard, in the wrong gear. The 335is has the same set of braking components as the standard 335i Coupe and Convertible, but that’s not a bad thing; they did just fine in several hours of sustained track driving—much of it taxing the brakes with liberal use of the stability control system on a slightly damp surface—and they felt fade-free the whole time. The 335i isn’t significantly different in weight, so we would expect it to drive much like the rest of the 3-Series models, as equipped with the M Sport suspension, on the road—rather firm, but just compliant enough, without much road noise. Steering, as with other 3-Series models, is excellent whether on the road or on the track.

All initial 335is models will come with a sunroof, but BMW is considering a sunroof delete option, and it will be built in six different interior colors

The official U.S. debut of the 2011 BMW 335is will be at the New York International Auto Show later this spring. Starting prices for the BMW 335is are $50,525 for the Coupe and $59,075 for the Convertible—exactly $7,000 more than the respective 2010 335i models—with Convertibles slated to arrive at dealerships in April and Coupes in June. A full range of options will be offered, including a Cold Weather Package and Premium Package.

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