The 335is gets 320 hp and 332 lb-ft torque from the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six engine, and an overboost function allows for seven-second blasts of 370 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the regular-grade 2011 335i, the 335is sticks with the older twin-turbo engine for the simple reason that BMW engineers had more experience tuning it.
To make the 335is a track-worthy vehicle, BMW upgrades the cooling system with an additional radiator and beefs up the engine mounts. Inside are standard sport seats, steel pedals, an M Sport steering wheel, and textured aluminum trim. Between the seats sits the familiar six-speed manual, but it’s modified here to have shorter throws. For those who prefer not to shift for themselves, BMW is offering its seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The DCT system is identical to the one in the M3 and comes with steering-wheel-mounted paddle-type shifters.
Exterior styling builds on that of the 3-series’ 2011 freshening and adds an aggressive M Sport body kit. The kit has a more aggressive front fascia and the 335is convertible keeps its fog lamps. A new rear bumper incorporates a diffuser-style piece, and the twin exhaust pipes are finished in matte black. New gray-painted, split-five-spoke wheels are the only change to the chassis.
Same Poise, Even Better Soundtrack
Immediately on starting the engine, one detects a more noticeable hum from the new exhaust system. Less-restrictive mufflers snarl menacingly and only get angrier once the throttle is matted and the revs rise. As we’ve seen with other applications of the twin-turbo six, power is delivered with the immediacy of a large-displacement, naturally aspirated engine. The extra horsepower bestowed on the 335is isn’t exactly massive, but the car will still quickly shrink a straightaway, and it rockets into triple-digit speeds as if towed by a Boeing 747. Indeed, a few laps around Portugal’s Estoril racetrack revealed this car to be exactly what’s suggested by the spec sheet: a powerful 3-series with a fantastic soundtrack. As one might expect from the carry-over chassis, the balance, the predictability, and the unflappable poise that make the 3-series one of our favorite cars are all there in spades.