Stop the presses. An automotive journalist has been discovered that does not love, love, love the BMW 3-series. What is this heresy? Refusing to drink the Kool-Aid? Next they will be telling us this global warming scare is not all it is cracked up to be and that American automakers will be profitable despite all of the new fuel economy standards around the bend.
I was really looking forward to my week in this BMW 335i coupe. I figured all I would have to do is drive it a few days and I would be able to regurgitate every word I have ever heard or read extolling the virtues of this industry icon.
Hey, every time Japan releases a c-class luxury sport model it is instantly held up to the 3’s standards and has magazine journalists leading their stories asking the question “Is this the new BMW 3 series?”
Well, not me. Sorry to disappoint.
That is not to say the 3 series is flawed – far from it. This is a very well built vehicle with excellent ride and handling characteristics and a superior engine, all on a fun rear-wheel-drive platform.
I just found myself constantly asking myself if this was the “must-have” car it has been made out to be. Not for me it wasn’t.
To begin with, BMWs are not cheap. Asian imports carry lower pricetags for the content. Now, many will say the BMW is an investment and I will agree with that. They should hold their value better than most any other vehicle. But I don’t feel the initial investment is right for most folks and probably not right for many who have purchased one already.
I really wanted to fall in love with this vehicle and that just did not happen. I would not choose this model if I were in the market for a coupe. Nor would I choose a vehicle with a standard transmission for most U.S. roads. Sorry, but we just don’t have the opportunity to truly experience the BMW mantra of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” here in the states. I know, I know – sucks to be us.
All of that aside, the BMW 3 series features extremely high quality both in build and ride, although the center armrest is a bit high in its alignment with the shifter causing quite a few elbow bumps. And the side bolsters of the front buckets are very grabby on ingress and egress.
The car feels very well connected to the pavement while keeping occupants well isolated from our less-than-perfect road conditions. The 300hp turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine in our 335i coupe tester winds up quickly and smoothly and provides a subtle growl via the dual rear exhausts. For a more visceral experience with a six I would recommend the Mustang or Camaro over the Bimmer.
Pricing for the 335i coupe begins at $42,650 with our tester coming in at $44,975. Fuel economy comes in at 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
Sometimes we march to the beat of a different drummer and for me and the BMW 3-series I guess that means I am just not quite in step. And hey, just like the car, I am 70 percent German too.