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2013 BMW 335i Ride and Review By John Heilig

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 BMW 335i



Model: 2013 BMW 335i

Engine: 3.0-liter twin turbo I6

Horsepower/Torque: 300 hp @ 5,900 rpm/300 lb.-ft. @ 1,200-5,000 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 110.6 in.

Length/Width/Height: 182.5 x 71.3 x 56.3 in.

Tires: P225/40R19 (F)/P285/35R19 (R)

Cargo volume: 13.0 cu. ft.

Fuel economy: 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway/24.6 mpg test

Fuel capacity: 15.8 gal.

Curb weight: 3,571 lbs.

Sticker: $55,870 (includes $895 destination charge, $13,470 in options)

The Bottom Line: This may be the smallest BMW, other than the 1 Series, but it has the heart of a bigger car. It contains a very powerful engine and transmission combination that delivers, as BMW promises, the ultimate driving experience.

There's an odd sensation upon entering the BMW 335i. For one, your mind tells you that it's the smallest of the more mature BMWs. I'm not counting the 1-Series or the several electric vehicles that have sprouted from BMW's tree in recent years.

That said, you expect a small car, and if memory serves me well, older 3-Series cars were smaller. But this 3-Series feels bigger. Not 7-Series bigger, but not cramped either.

But it's still a 3-Series. The grille has been modified slightly and now extends to the perimeter of the headlamps, giving the car a "unibrow" look that is attractive. It's hard to notice, but line up a bunch of 3-Series cars from all its iterations and you can see the changes.

Fire the 335i up, though, and you know you're in a Bimmer. The engine sounds powerful and it is, 300 horses and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. Get it going and it feels so good. There's a feel driving a BMW and the 335i doesn't disappoint.

For one, the engine is powerful and makes entry ramps and traveling on Interstates fun. Take the 335i on a winging road and the superb handling kicks in. The chassis and suspension provide optimum driving stability. We had an automatic, but there are paddles behind the wheel if you want a more sporting drive. You can change the suspension and transmission shift options with the sport/eco/pro "driving experience switch" for a real fun drive.

The 335i is a good driver. It's nimble and handles well. There's some firmness to the suspension, but it's far from harsh.

Unlock the doors with the key fob and courtesy lights show the door handles and puddle lights show you what's in the vicinity of the doors. The 335i also has pushbutton start and stop.

BMW, while conservative in the styling department, is not stodgy. For example, the 335i is one of the first "normal" (read not hybrid) cars to have automatic shut off when the car is sitting at a stop light or stop sign for any appreciative length of time. That means you save some fuel. Why have the engine running if you aren't using it?

There's a full menu of media, radio, telephone and navigation functions that are controlled with a knob on the console. I remember the confusion early journalists had with the first version of what was then called i-Drive. The modern version has a much shorter learning curve.

There are USB and AUX plug-ins in the small console/center arm rest. At the base of the center stack are two cup holders and a small cubby. You can store water bottles in the doors. The front seats are comfortable with good side support. There's also heated and cooled for us senior citizens. And, also for seniors, there are four assist handles to help with entry and egress.

Leg and knee room in the back is tight, however, at least when the front seat is in my optimum driving position. There's a pull-down arm rest with a pair of cup holders in the rear as well. The center hump is considerable in the rear, making it difficult for an adult to ride in the center.

The 335i makes the best use of a decent trunk. There's hidden storage under the trunk floor.

You won't find many surprises in the BMW 335i. As with essentially all BMW models, there's an evolutionary change from the previous generation. While this makes roadside identification of all BMWs difficult for people who aren't totally devoted to the marque, it also makes your "older" BMW not look older.

2012 The Auto Page