2012 BMW 335 still leader among sport-sedans

9 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2012 BMW 335 still leader among sport-sedans

If the sport-sedan were high school, the BMW 3 would be the captain of the football and maybe the debate squad. and the club.

It’s popular selling 90,000-100,000 units in the U.S.), and everyone wants to be it (Cadillac is only the most example, boldly pitting its ATS sedan against the 3 Series in And so it has always been.

A classed-up, interior, more power and improved gas mileage breathe new into the redesigned 2012 BMW 3 sedan, which should to dominate the sport-sedan market.

the 3 Series’ sedan version has redone, entering its sixth in 328i and 335i guise. The convertible and ultimate-performance M3 will for two more model years in current form. The previous-generation is being sold as a 2012, and a will come within the year.

On sale now, the sedans come only rear-wheel drive. Fall will see the addition of all-wheel-drive with the xi suffix, along the first-ever hybrid 3 Series, the sedan. The 335d clean-diesel is now out of production, but it will likely once BMW develops a new four-cylinder engine.

As of the sedan’s launch, the and 335i both come in a trim level plus lines — Modern, and Sport. Each is an option with its own interior theme and cosmetic tweaks. The Sport adds a few performance-oriented changes, as

I tested all these versions.

will bring a new trim called M Sport, with a aggressive exterior and sport-themed touches. BMW is mum on the details, but M Sport typically include some enhancements, such as a sportier

Exterior and styling

BMW has closed the on an awkward design era helmed by chief designer Chris The outgoing 3 Series is arguably the one BMW car escaped more than a blow from the Bangle stick. Regardless, I still the 2012 sedan improves on it, plenty of observers deemed it too

The way the headlight assemblies flow the more three-dimensional grilles the car a broad look that a slight decrease in width with the 2011. The car is almost 4 longer. The light clusters improve on other recent BMW Rather than a translucent-white that looks like it was to be removed after shipping, of the new car’s headlights has a more silver stripe with LED

The trim level determines the and finish of the grille slats, gloss black designating and chrome trim demarcating Modern splits the difference a brushed-aluminum look. The trim on the air intakes also varies the three.

The M Sport trim will bring a more front end with larger openings, M-badged wheels and rocker panels.


The biggest news for the 2012 is its improved drivetrains, including the model’s new engine, whose and efficiency is better than of the 2011 328i. That’s it having a four-cylinder engine in of an inline-six-cylinder — something BMW sold here since 318i. What’s different this engine?

Direct variable valve timing and a turbocharger — technologies BMW groups together and calls Turbo.

Equipped with a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed transmission, the 328i takes off authority. You’d never you were driving a four-cylinder, and not a turbo four. The torque is immediate.

Though the power has increased only 10 horsepower the 2011 sedan, to 240 hp, torque is up 60 to 260, and it comes at 1,250 down from 2,750

Sure enough, when I an automatic 328i on the highway, when climbing moderate the tachometer needle hovered 1,500 rpm. Brilliant. explains the automatic’s EPA-estimated mpg city/highway, a giant leap 2011’s 18/28 mpg with transmission. Because it has six gears, the nets the 2012 sedan a rating: 23/34 mpg. one upside to the stick: a slightly zero-to-60 mph time, according to

It hits 60 in 5.7 seconds, and the automatic 5.9 seconds. It’s no longer a that a manual is quicker, and the BMW eight-speed shifts quickly, not the type of dual-clutch transmission always shifts faster a human could. And because the has taller gears, you can hit 60 mph after one gear change.

Bear in that we’re talking the 328i here, not the more 335i, whose drivetrain is versus 2011 but for the eight-speed replacing the earlier six-speed. Its 3.0-liter inline-six engine 300 hp and 300 pounds-feet of torque. You feel and the difference with the six-cylinder’s urgency and pleasing exhaust (The 328i sounds when accelerating, but at idle it has a diesel sound.

While engines perform well, mechanical sound is often BMW rates the 335i’s zero-to-60 at 5.4 seconds.

Class-Leading mileage

The estimated combined city/highway is 28 mpg, or 27 with the manual, with 22 mpg for either transmission in For comparison, the most efficient of the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are 25 mpg, despite their power. The 335i also a bump for 2012, from to 20/30 mpg with the manual and 19/28 to 23/33 mpg with the

With a combined 26 mpg, the 335i beats the comparable C350’s 23 mpg and Infiniti G37’s 22

Sometimes dramatic mileage come with tradeoffs, but the 3 are few. As I detailed in my 5 Series BMW’s Efficient Dynamics include regenerative braking, the car’s alternator charges its when coasting and braking but from the engine when In the 5 Series, overly aggressive with the automatic transmission in nonlinear braking unbefitting the driving machine.

Blessedly, doesn’t seem to be the case the 2012 3 Series.

As noted, the car is quicker than The eight-speed shifts quickly and and it doesn’t hesitate too long kicking down to pass, when in the Driving Dynamics selectable Comfort or Sport which also vary the and power steering responsiveness. A new Eco Pro makes the accelerator resistant to (unless you floor it) and the transmission to upshift to more efficient

It also puts at the bottom of the a simple gauge to help you conservatively. The 3 Series’ product said he achieved 41 mpg on the highway in mode by hypermiling, a strategy alternately as clogging traffic and like a pansy.

It looks we’re moving past the era low-rolling-resistance tires could be traction resistant. Despite the word efficient in their the Goodyear EfficientGrip 18-inch tires delivered on the grip as well. (Continental ContiSport and Pirelli Cinturato tires also fitted to test multiple brands are supplying rubber.) That’s one more forward for efficiency without the step back.

Minor tradeoff

The one failure among the provisions is the standard auto feature that shuts the off at a complete stop and restarts it you take your foot off the (automatic transmission) or depress the (manual). The best thing I can say auto stop-start is that it be simpler to turn off: The button is adjacent to the engine-start You’ll probably make use of it, because the engines restart

The 335i is smoother than the but neither compares to the smoothness come to expect from Even Porsche’s conspicuous feature is better than Where those sound and comparatively seamless, the 3 Series and feels like an engine started, and does so with vibration than when you the starter button after in the car.

As I say frequently these and consistently about updated BMW you don’t need the engine The 328i will probably diminish the 335’s share of — roughly 30 percent at the end of the model year. However, the between the two is clear: The 335i is more exciting.

If you have any intention of driving 3 Series on a racetrack, this is the one. On California’s Laguna I consistently found myself too late in the 328i, trying to hold onto the speed worked to build. The 335i had the guts needed to achieve speeds.

Softer, but still BMW

many recent BMW redesigns, the 3 has been softened. The regular in the base, Modern and Luxury isolates road imperfections than the previous generation but it also allows more motions, including a surprising of body roll — that’s no longer an unavoidable Regardless, the car retains its legendary balance after mild going into corners.

The replaces conventional hydraulic steering with electric assist. Of its type, it’s I wouldn’t say it’s quite as as the old standard in terms of feedback, but the level isn’t erratic speed changes, as some systems are.

Speaking of the controversial active-steering option has discontinued, replaced by a more variable-ratio steering option gives more steering from less turn of the

The Sport line sits 10 mm on a firmer suspension arrangement. is also the only version for an adaptive suspension, a $900 which I drove. It feels like the earlier generation, better body control and ride quality.

The Sport is notably firmer than but not as punishing as early examples of technology.

To be frank, for a car BMW claims is primarily for its athletic driving all 3 Series versions could get with the Sport line’s ride.

Speaking of getting with things, how do cars the 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class get with imitation-leather seats in base trim levels? convincing vinyl, but still. trim also blows the 3’s cover, but the finishes are high-quality.

Soft-touch surfaces extend all the way to the lowest door panels.

All trim lines dial up the with leather upholstery, in the 328i, power adjustments bundled with other in a separate $3,600 option Power seats are standard in the The Sport line has sport seats with more side bolsters.

The aluminum in the Sport Line is patterned and — something I’d from Audi, and that’s a thing. The Modern line I had beige gauge faces to the color palette, and open-pored trim, which has raised as if it’s been rubbed creating what looks sand drifts. I like the because it’s so unique, but it look like real

Perhaps a light stain be a better approach.

The front have nice, long for plenty of legroom. The 2012’s overall length and wheelbase go to backseat legroom, which was needed. Legroom still at the mercy of front-seat occupants, but I penalize BMW for having generous seat travel.

The floor is enough to raise your more than I appreciate, but trips — and shorter — should be fine.

hits and misses

The design and are characteristically simple but more than the previous generation. are ergonomic hits and misses. The big After a history of half-assed cupholders, BMW has finally given in and two functional wells in the center close to the dashboard.

As if embarrassed by sop to American thirst, BMW supplies a cover that hides and doubles as a tray for oddments.

The Dynamics Control buttons are now a switch in the style of other BMW redesigns. It allows you to cycle the various modes without a bunch of separate buttons. The multifunction controller is now standard a 6.5-inch display, and, to the cupholders, BMW has finally gotten it (The navigation option an 8.8-inch screen.) Though not my favorite, the manual shifter on the previous generation’s.

It feels more connected.

the new 3’s automatic transmission has the springy toggle-style gear and the turn-signal stalk similarly back to center rather staying in position until the is complete. If there’s a benefit to design, it isn’t the driver’s.

The is now a respectable 13.7 cubic up from 12 in the previous generation. respectable is having to pay extra for a backseat — another for which BMW and Mercedes are never In the upcoming ActiveHybrid3, the optional backseat is completely unobstructed, it one of the only hybrid sedans to this goal.

By today’s the 3 Series’ connectivity and iPhone is extensive, and includes standard BMW similar to GM’s OnStar. In a car the BMW Apps option, an iPhone the free BMW Connected app allows features to be controlled by iDrive: Web Pandora and MOG internet radio, a Twitter, Facebook and Last No other Smartphones are currently

As of its introduction, the 2012 3 Series been crash-tested. Standard equipment includes frontal and side curtains that front and rear occupants in impacts. The front seats have side-impact airbags and head restraints.

As is required of all and later models, the 3 Series antilock brakes and an electronic system with traction

3 Series in the market

Though the 3 Series has been softened a it remains a leader in drivability now, in mileage, with no compromise. Combine this its strong reputation and a brand that companies like Cadillac and Infiniti haven’t and it seems untouchable. The 3 Series almost as many units as the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class and I see no reason to expect a change.

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