BMW SA has unleashed its 2007 International Engine of the Year-winning 3,0-litre twin turbo direct injection engine in the E90 3 Series range and boosted the outputs of the 330i and 323i.
CARtoday.com reported recently that the all-aluminium 225 kW straight-six powerplant, which is said to weigh some 70 kg less than an eight-cylinder with comparable power, was awarded four trophies at the 2007 World Engine of the Year awards – judged by a panel of 62 motoring journalists from 30 countries, among whom CAR Magazine’s own Jake Venter was the sole South African representative.
Already a feature of the 3 Series Convertible and Coupé ranges on the South African market, the addition of the 335i model to the E90 lineup sees the 330i eclipsed as BMW’s flagship compact executive.
As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the new 335i is also available with a six-speed automatic transmission unique to twin-turbo derivatives of the BMW 3 Series. Aided by significantly improved management software and featuring an upgraded hydraulic system and a converter lock-up clutch, the ‘box is said to offer 40 per cent faster reaction times to driver inputs than those of conventional automatic transmission cars.
Over and above the fact that actual gearshift times “have been almost halved”, the six-speed auto can shift down by four gears at a time if necessary. From our experience of the automatic version of the 335i Convertible (steering-wheel paddles are available at extra cost, visit BMW SA’s site for full specifications), the 3,0-litre twin turbo’s flexible power delivery is superbly matched by the high-tech transmission.
The 335i develops maximum torque of 400 N.m at 1 300 r/min, but will gladly rev up to 7 000. BMW claims the sonorous six (when mated with a manual transmission) will accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 5,5 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 250 km/h.
And even though such performance claims would not ordinarily be associated with good fuel economy, the 335i engine grabbed the Engine of the Year’s Best Fuel Economy award by virtue of consuming a claimed 9,5 litres per 100 km in the EU composite test cycle.
Meanwhile, through a series of engine management and component changes, the peak outputs of 323i and 330i models have been boosted. Developing maximum power of 200kW and peak torque of 315 N.m (compared with 190 kW and 300 N.m for the previous model), the BMW 330i has reportedly shaved 0.2 of a second from its zero to 100 km/h sprint time to 6,1 seconds.
The 323i sees a 7,7 per cent increase in power and now produces peak outputs of 140 kW and 235 N.m.
335i 6-speed Manual R415 000
335i 6-speed Automatic R429 500
330i 6-speed Manual R382 500
323i 6-speed Manual R288 500
Sports kit +R15 400
Exclusive kit +R18 600