2011 BMW 3 Series Coupe and Convertible First Look

Face-Lifted and Re-Energized


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The 2011 BMW 335is is the centerpiece of BMW's revised 2011 3 Series coupe and convertible.

The new top-of-the-line 335is features the same N54 twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 BMW has been using in the 335i and other models and will continue to use in the recently shown Z4 sDrive35iS. In the 335is it will make 320 horsepower. The car has been developed specifically for the North American market, where it will plug the gap between the new N55 (single turbo) equipped 2011 BMW 335i and the V8-powered 2011 BMW M3.

BMW has given its 3 Series coupe and convertible a midcycle refresh some three and half years after its introduction back in the summer of 2006. The new range of BMW 3 Series coupes and convertibles will go on sale March 1 in Europe at prices that BMW says will be little changed over the existing models. The BMW 335is will go on sale at the same time.

The New Look
Among the predictably subtle revisions BMW's design team have made to the styling of the 2011 BMW 3 Series coupe and convertible is a new front bumper incorporating a revised kidney grille design and a full-width air duct between the foglamps, furnishing additional cooling of the engine while accentuating the visual width.

The front bumper looks less aggressive but adds 1.4 inches to the front overhang in a move that BMW says improves pedestrian safety. The headlights retain their familiar shape but receive new internal graphics and a bi-xenon function as standard. Both the swiveling Adaptive Headlight and the Adaptive Headlight Range Control are optional.

Farther back, there are larger exterior mirrors in accordance with new European Union safety regulations. The rear receives a slightly altered bumper with an additional horizontal line above the tailpipes. The shape of the taillights is retained from the previous 3 Series, but they receive LED-enhanced graphics.

You will be able to choose among three new colors when the face-lifted model arrives in North America: Deep Sea Blue Metallic, Vermillion Red Metallic and Mineral White Metallic. There are also four new wheel designs in either 17- or 18-inch sizes, while the optional M Sports package continues to offer 19-inch wheels.

In the Office
The changes made to the interior of the 2011 BMW 3 Series coupe and convertible are even more subtle than those brought to the exterior.

There's a new multifunction steering wheel as well as a selection of revised trims. BMW has also brought the latest features of its ConnectedDrive initiative across to its two-door 3 Series models, including an Internet option that brings further features to the navigation system, including the ability to download individual routes by means of the German carmaker's Web portal.

There is also what BMW calls Enhanced Emergency Call function that serves to more precisely locate the car in the case of an accident and alert rescue services.

Freshened Performance
Headlining the mechanical changes is the appearance of BMW's latest turbocharged 3.0-liter TwinPower inline-6 for both the 2011 BMW 335i coupe and convertible.

Among other detailed changes, the TwinPower engine substitutes a single twin-scroll turbocharger for the twin-turbocharger setup of its predecessor. Power and torque remain the same at 300 hp and 300 pound-feet of torque, respectively. BMW claims the 2011 BMW 335i coupe will accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in 5.5 seconds, while the slightly heavier 335i convertible will reach 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in 5.8 seconds.

Both the 335i coupe and convertible are electronically limited in U.S. specification to 130 mph.

Stronger Performance
The big news, however, is the appearance of the new 2011 BMW 335is coupe and convertible.

The model's now unique twin-turbo N54 inline-6, pushes out 320 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, which is already strong for the car's class. Still, BMW has added an overboost feature that allows for a 10-second burst of up to 369 lb-ft of torque. We can't wait to try that. The car channels its power through a standard six-speed manual transmission, although an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual will also be offered.

BMW claims the 2011 BMW 335is will reach 60 mph from a standstill in 5.1 seconds when the six-speed manual is in place, while the car shaves a further 0.1 second from the time to 5.0 seconds when the dual-clutch transmission is used. Meanwhile, the 2011 BMW 335is has a top speed 20 mph higher than the standard 335i coupe and convertible at 150 mph.

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