Is this car’s exhaust broken or something? – I asked one of my colleagues at CAR when I started the BMW 3 Series 335i Coupé’s engine for the first time. I couldn’t believe the overtly sporty deep bass burble that was emanating from the twin exhaust outlets of (what I expected to be) an ultra-refined executive express.
No, the (what I’m sure is very expensive) exhaust system most certainly wasn’t broken. And, by the time I finished my on-road appraisal of the 335i Coupé – the first turbocharged petrol-engined production model to be made available by BMW in three decades, I was quite smitten with that zany mechanical soundtrack, which was bettered only by the newcomer’s design and all-round abilities.
If I had to nit pick, I’d point out that the car’s elongated and heavy doors would be liabilities in narrow parking bays or junk-filled garages. The headroom for the two passengers at the back is a bit snug and there is no way to gracefully exit the two rear seats, which have somewhat upright backrests. But the rest of the 335i’s really very remarkable; and it starts with the E92’s styling.
Flashback time… I remember debating with a schoolmate (over a game of carrom board) about the long-term legacies of the then newly released BMW 8 Series (which I liked) and Mercedes-Benz SL. Well, the 8 Series disappeared quietly in the late ‘90s, but I have now finally been vindicated. Not only is the E92 the best-looking BMW straight out of the box for a while, but it also seems to be a successfully miniaturised and updated incarnation of the old Eight… The 335i’s resemblance to the discontinued 850i (especially the rear lights’ configuration, boot profile and plunging roofline) is uncanny!
The front of the car is much more purposeful than that of garden-variety E90 models (a lowered ride height and beefed-up front spoiler certainly help) and once you get behind the wheel, and the German fraulein extends the seatbelt towards your shoulder (just like the ‘Benz CLK does and 80’s SEC did, take note Alfa Brera designers!), you can’t help but be impressed by the Three’s ergonomically-sound interior (irrespective of $*#*! iDrive). The sports seats are electrically-adjustable and offer added lumbar support and once you grip that almost ideally-sized steering wheel, the fun really gets going.