2013 BMW 335i xDrive Rocky Mountain Review By Dan Poler
By Dan Poler
Rocky Mountain Bureau
The Auto Channel
Introduced as an all new-model for 2012, the 2013 BMW 3-series sedan carries over mostly unchanged with just small updates like standard power front seats. We recently spent a week in the 335i xDrive to get a feel for the vehicle and came away with a generally favorable impression, save for a few interesting quirks.
On the outside, the 335i xDrive has not been updated since its redesign in 2012. And rightly so, as the redesign was nicely executed. We especially like the headlight shape with their hook pointing towards the kidney grille. Although the car has grown a bit from the prior model – about an inch longer and taller – it’s shed about 200 pounds through the use of lighter components and materials.
Inside the cabin we find BMW’s particular brand of tasteful, understated accommodations, including nice wood trim soft, comfortable leather. Controls are in typical BMW fashion – clear and within reach. iDrive is no longer an option; regardless of how you build your 3-series, you’ll receive iDrive as part of the mix, although this is no longer the downside it used to be. As with other 2013 BMW’s we’ve driven, the latest updates to iDrive have made it more responsive and easier to navigate than in years past, and 3-series sports a wide screen capable of displaying two sets of information at a time, for example, map on the left and entertainment details on the right. The one curious thing we noted about iDrive, however, is BMW’s decision to house its display in an assembly that seems almost glued to the dash like an afterthought – as if it should be retractable, but isn’t.
Seats are, as always, BMW-comfortable, although the rear seat does not fold, potentially a limitation for some buyers. Although rear legroom is decent and certainly an improvement over prior 3-series models, we struggled to fit a rear-facing car seat in the back seat.
Driving the 335i xDrive is a pleasure. The vehicle benefits greatly from the abundant horsepower provided by its 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo engine and scoots around quite nicely. Power is put down to the wheels by an eight-speed transmission which moves between gears almost imperceptibly in most conditions. There are some interesting features such as BMW’s EffecientDynamics system which uses regenerative braking to charge the battery – similar to the way a hybrid would, although in this case just for the vehicle’s typical battery. Also in the mix is a mode selection switch enabling the driver to choose between Sport, Comfort, and Eco Pro driving modes – the latter of which is surprisingly livable as high-efficiency driving modes go. We averaged a reasonable 26 MPG overall during our time with the car.
Alas, not all is perfect; in 2012, BMW elected to go with electric power steering for the 3-series, and that carries through to the 2013 model we drove. We can understand and appreciate why BMW moved to electric power steering, and we applaud their interest in fuel economy and efficiency… however, relative to prior 3-series vehicles, something has been lost. Steering feels mushy, vague and just … not BMW-like. Sport mode does help restore some of the expected feel, however. Also in the name of efficiency, BMW included an Auto Start/Stop feature for the engine, which can be disabled – but not permanently. We found it to be a bit frustrating to feel the shudder of the car switching the engine off at every light, and disabling the system lasts only until the car is next parked.
BMW’s host of safety features and innovations are in evidence, including front side, side curtain, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and BMW Assist for automatic crash notification, vehicle recovery and roadside assistance. In addition, xDrive is almost a safety feature unto itself, capable of putting power down to all four wheels and taming winter weather to some degree.
Once upon a time, the BMW 3-series used to hold the entry-level position for the brand. Given its growth in size over the years, and not to mention an as-tested price north of $56,000 for the 335i xDrive, it’s hard to continue to think of the 3 as entry-level. Despite minor quirks with power steering and auto start/stop, the plentiful power, comfort for occupants, and good looks of the 335i xDrive make it a great choice as a smaller luxury vehicle.
2013 BMW 335i xDrive Base Price: $45,150.00 Price as Tested: $56,145.00 Engine Type: BMW TwinPower Turbo 24-valve inline 6-cylinter engine with High-Precision Direct Injection, Valvetronic, and Double-VANOS steplessly variable valve timing Engine Size: 3.0-liter Horsepower: 300 @ 5,800 RPM Torque (lb-ft): 300 @ 1,200 RPM Transmission: 8-Speed Shiftable Automatic Wheelbase / Length (in): 110.6 / 182.5 Curb Weight: 3,695 lbs Pounds per HP: 12.3 Fuel Capacity (gal): 15.8 Fuel Requirement: Premium Unleaded Tires: Pirelli Cinturato P7; P225/45VR18 Brakes: Ventilated disc Suspension, front/rear: MacPherson Strut / Multi-Link Drivetrain: xDrive all-wheel drive EPA Fuel Economy - MPG city / highway / observed: 20 / 30 / 26 Base Trim Price: $45,150.00
Options and Charges
Luxury Line: $1,400.00 (Sports leather steering wheel, 18” light alloy wheels, Anthracite wood trim, Highlight trim finishers pearl)
Cold Weather Package: $950.00 (Heated steering wheel, Heated front seats, Heated rear seats, Retractable headlight washers)
Driver Assistance Package: $1,900.00 (Rear-view camera, Park distance control, Active blind spot detection, Side- and Top-view cameras)
Premium Package: $2,200.00 (Comfort access keyless entry, Lumbar support, Satellite radio)
Technology Package: $3,100.00 (Navigation system, Head-up display, BMW Assist, BMW Apps, Real time traffic information)
Glacier Silver Metallic Paint: $550.00
Price as tested: $56,145.00