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Goldilocks and the 3 ... Series

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On: Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 9:13AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Goldilocks and the 3 ... Series

If Goldilocks had been less of a foodie with a talent for breaking and entering, and more of a auto enthusiast, the age-old story would have been far more relatable for some of us. If she had come upon a three-car garage of the upper middle class bears, she may just have found the hottest models of BMW’s 2011 3-Series lineup. First she may have broken into the M3, with its 414 horsepower 8300 rpm redline V8, track tuned suspension, 12.4 second quarter mile time, and 60 grand price tag, and found that the super 3-Series to be just a little too hot.  

After scraping off the broken glass from her hands and clothes, she might then break into a 2011 335i with its brand new single turbo N55 inline six that carries over the same 300 horsepower from the previous model. She would find its mid-high 13 second quarter mile tie and handling to be better than average, but nothing to brag about. She would look over its slightly updated, but still reserved exterior style, and then look around to see all of the other 335is that look a lot like this one and decide that the 335i is just a little too cold.

Then after Goldilocks disarms the security system on both of those cars, she comes across the very new looking car in the middle. It’s not an M3, and it’s not a 335i, it’s the new 2011 335is. The new 335is is the car that BMW is bringing to the market to sit right in the middle of its performance 335 line. The 335is retains the direct injection N54 inline six from the 2007-2010 335i models, but gets a power tweak to 320 horsepower at 5900rpm. A feature that is sure to impress is a very literal turbo boost, called an overboost according to BMW, which occurs at low rpm while the engine is under load. This bumps up power to a total of 14.5 psi, which is a bump of 2.9 psi from the twin scroll motor for a maximum of seven seconds.  In real performance numbers, this translates to a 38 lb-ft increase over stock for a small block V8 level 370 lb-ft at 1500rpm.  

Upon further inspection, our blonde car thief would discover that compared with the standard 335i, the IS version loses the standard car’s fog lights to allow more airflow into the additional radiator that has been installed for improved cooling, as well as black painted mirrors, front grille, and window outline. She would also notice the very aerodynamic rear diffuser, side skirts, and front and rear fascias with sculpted tailpipe outlets that are all part of the standard M sport enhancement package.

If Goldilocks managed to get the 335is started, she might find that the transmission resembled a transmission she had seen during an earlier crime, namely in the M3. BMW’s seven-speed DCT comes at a $1575 option, for those that are actually paying for the car. The dual clutch automated manual is standard fair on most M cars, but makes its first appearance on a non-letter car.

If our young car thief could get the 335is started and out of the garage, she might find the exhaust note a little bit throatier and deeper than the standard car. This is due to different mufflers with unique baffling to allow the 335is to be a bit more vocal than its sibling. The IS has the bite to back up its bark, although a strange comparison, the 2011 335is basically mimics C5 Corvette numbers of the late 90s and early 2000s. It runs through 60mph in 4.6 seconds, 100mph in 11.4 seconds, and trips the 1320 foot mark in 13.3 seconds at 108 mph. It’s not just a straight line car, and 0.93g on the skidpad proves it can handle too. Not bad numbers for a four passenger sports coupe that gets 17 city/26 highway miles to the gallon.

The car itself is 10 millimeters lower, while sitting on stiffer springs and shocks than the standard model, but keeps the same 18 inch wheels. The 335is shares the LED tail lights, xenon adaptive headlights with LED-lit rings. The 335is interior continues the M Sport package that includes M everything (steering wheel, door sills, dead pedal, seats, and gearshift knob) along with a steel pedal set to add some extra bling, which will probably be stolen by our blonde haired criminal friend.

The 335is goes on sale this spring with a base price of $50,525 for the coupe ($59,075 for the convertible) which, much like its performance, sits neatly between the 335i at about $46,500 and the M3 at about $58,500. All in all, the 335is fills a void similar to the one HD TV did several years ago. No one really knew they needed it until they saw it, and then it seems almost no one can live without it. And with only one car to pick, Cops in HD might just be the next place one unlucky bear might see his beloved Bimmer, because although the M3 was too hot, and the standard 335i was a little too cold, the 2011 335is is just right.

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