Best Family Luxury Coupes: BMW 3-Series

November 8, 2010

Today’s segment on our week-long look at best family luxury coupes focuses on the 2011 BMW 3-Series.

The 2011 BMW 3-Series is a sporty midsize luxury rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive car that’s beloved by those who want excellent driving dynamics, exuberant performance, and loads of high-quality features. True to BMW bandwidth, the 3-Series is available in coupe, sedan, and convertible models.

How does the 2011 BMW 3-Series coupe perform? In The Car Connection review, editors gave the 2011 BMW 3-Series an overall rating of 8.3 out of 10, with styling, performance, and features coming in at 9 out of 10. Car and Driver is so impressed with BMW 3-Series that it awarded the car a “10Best” for 19 consecutive years. From all the kudos reviewers are saying about the 2011 model, it could very well be a 20th time as well.

The 2011 BMW 3-Series coupe is available in 328i and 328i xDrive, 335i and 335i xDrive, and 335is. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail prices are $36,700 and $38,600, $43,150 and $45,050, and $50,150, respectively. Cosmetic modifications to the coupe front and rear and an engine change for 335i are minor changes for 2011. But the big news is the addition of the 335is coupe, available with rear-wheel drive only.

Performance and Fuel Economy

With a selection of powerful engines and unparalleled balance and handling, the 2011 BMW 3-Series coupe is definitely considered a driver’s car. It has a stiffer suspension than some of the competition, so if you want a softer ride, look elsewhere.

Power for the 328i and 328i xDrive comes from a naturally-aspirated 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine that delivers 230 horsepower. It features advanced valvetronic technology and double VANOS steplessly variable valve timing for a more powerful engine response and increased fuel economy. Zero to 60 mph time is 6.2 seconds (manual, 328i). Six-speed manual transmission is standard, while automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway (manual and automatic, RWD) and 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway (manual and automatic, 328i xDrive).

The 335i and 335i xDrive are powered by a new 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder twin-scroll, twin-power turbo with direct fuel injection and valvetronic variable intake technology. This results in 300 horsepower at 5800 rpm and peak torque of 300 pound-feet at 1200 rpm. Zero to 60 takes just 5.3 seconds (manual, 335i). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway (manual and automatic, RWD) and 16 mpg city/25 mpg highway (335 xDrive, manual) and 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway (335 xDrive, automatic).

The 335is gets its power from the 335i twin power turbo engine that pounds out 320 horsepower at 5900 rpm and 332 pound-feet of torque at 1500 rpm. The 335is, with its 50/50 weight balance, solid grip, and precise, quick, and tactile steering offers drivers just the right mix of response and confidence, whether on the road or at the track. Zero to 60 times are just 5.0 seconds (automatic) and 5.1 seconds (manual). Fuel economy for such power is not bad either at 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway (manual and automatic).

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