UK automotive magazine Autocar publishes the first test drive of the facelifted 2011 BMW 3 Series Coupe. BMW has substantially updated the 3 Series Coupe for model year 2011. Headlining the changes are new headlights and tail lights, a new hood and kidney grille, new side skirts, new wheels, and new front and rear fascias.
Under the skin, the 335i Coupe has been fitted with the new “N55” twin scroll turbocharged inline-6 engine, and may be coupled to the standard 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic transmission.
Does the new N55 engine keep up with the expectations? Let’s find out.
Unlike its predecessor, this engine has a single turbocharger, rather than a pair. The new unit’s ‘TwinPower’ design means the turbo is double-sided, with each set of blades spun up by the exhaust gases from three of the engine’s six cylinders.
In addition to the high-pressure direct fuel injection, this engine now gets BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve timing system. Although the engine’s power and the car’s performance remain unchanged from the previous model’s, the fuel economy has been improved by eight per cent.
With 302bhp on tap and a diesel-like 295lb ft of torque (delivered completely flat from 1200rpm to 5000rpm), the 335i’s performance is predictably impressive. However, our car’s engine was a touch gruff under hard acceleration; it’s not clear whether the direct injection system or just engine tightness was to blame.
And the eternal question:
Should I buy one?
The 335i is quick, focused and well balanced. However, the age of the basic E90 3-series is beginning to show through.
Our car suffered from quite a bit of wind noise around the pillars and the overly heavy controls (especially the steering) made rowing the car along a tiny bit of a chore.
New, smoother-reacting, dampers were generally impressive, though they were unexpectedly caught out on one stretch of concrete autobahn, resulting in jerky vertical reactions. However, it’s worth noting that the test car was running on soft-compound winter tyres.
Overall, what the rapid 335i Coupe delivers in easy performance it loses in the chassis’ slightly wooden reactions.