Personal Background: Former USMC pilot who's always been a "motor head" at heart. Previously owned numerous motorcycles (including 6-cylinder KZ1300) and performance cars (including Porsche 914/6 - a near perfect car for its day). Now older, expected to act more mature & "within my current station in life" (though I don't want to) as a stalwart, semi-conservative, church-going member of my community . This car is a perfect fit for that scenario - looks appropriate for someone in a suit & tie, but can still tear it up when you want! POSITIVES: My car is an early production model for 2013, having been built in South African & bought by me in April. It has the seven speed automatic transmission - not the manual. I refer to my 335i as a "stealth" street racer (with a luxury interior). With the lower curb weight and same turbo 3.0 liter six-cylinder (N55) engine, it out-performs the larger 535i and a few others of the 6- & 7- series cars. Considering that 95% of my driving is done with myself, or self & wife (5'4", 105 lbs), the car is plenty roomy. I've even had four full-sized adults in it for a 200 mile (3 hour) trip and no one made comments about lack of space. Actually gets better mileage when on the Interstate running at about 80 MPH (West Texas & Utah), than down in the lower speed limits (65-70 MPH). Goes where you point it & stays there! The three different driving modes (Sport/Comfort/Economy) are great. Most driving in Comfort range, but when I want some fun I put it in Sport mode - where it can be a terror (but fun to drive)! CAUTION: Do not "stomp" on the accelerator (in either Comfort or Sport) unless you have both hands on the steering, wheel! It will literally throw you back into your seat when you do (first time I did it I wasn't paying attention, had only one had on the wheel & was entering a transition curve from one freeway to another - I almost lost it). It really is "The Ultimate Driving" machine in that I've taken it round trip from San Diego to the East Coast three times (average of 6000 miles in three weeks, or less) in the almost three years I've had it. That doesn't even begin to count the number of times I've taken it from San Diego up to San Francisco (550 miles one-way) & back on weekends. In each case I was able to make the drive with very little fatigue at the end of each day's driving. The most distance I've covered in a single day in the 335i has been 1100 miles (one day of driving on one of the previously mentioned coast-to-coast trips). NEGATIVES: It took my dealership multiple tries to get my alignment correct in that I was always wearing the front tires on the outside edges (Yes, I keep all tire pressures per manufacturer's specs) and on the inside edge of the rear tires. I had to work to get 40K miles on a set of tires (not cheap at about $1200 every time a new set goes on - for the least expensive brand/model tire recommended for the 335i). I finally made adjustments to my tire pressures (increased the front & reduced the rear) resulting in the tires wearing (slightly) longer & much more evenly - with no apparent degradation of handling/performance! My headlights always look like their aimed too low, unless on high beam, but I've been told (numerous times) they're set correctly. I'm still not excited about the automatic shift lever where you have to pull it back toward you when you want to go "forward" (out of park/neutral) and push it forward when you want to go into "reverse," but am now used to that (in fact I know that is the historical European throttle setup in aircraft, so guess it makes sense to the Germans). Other than tires, I've only had to replace a faulty brake sensor switch (after over 2 years & about 75,000 miles). Still pads left on all brakes at over 125K miles (maybe I'm easy on brakes). Right rear tail light lens had to be adjusted within about 18 months (kept coming loose), but easy fix on that (covered by warranty). OVERALL: Car has been rock solid and one heck of a bunch of fun to drive! Get one if you get the chance (a bunch should be coming up for sale after finishing their 3-year lease with original drivers). When I purchased my 335i my expectation is that it would last for at least 8 years and go for 250,000 miles and it looks like it will easily make that (I also have a 2003 Ford F-150 that is now 15 years old & has over 435,000 miles on it), since we're now at 5 years and I have over 125K on it. My wife is using it for her daily driver in a major Calif metro area and loves it for that. I take it out on the weekends and drive all the country roads in the area (of which there are plenty) since I'm now retired and do not put the miles on it I used to! We still take it on the occasional long weekend "out & back" & it runs like a champ!
First, please know this is not a gripe review. This is just factual. I absolutely love everything about this car except its reliability. These are the problems I've had with it: * 23,000 miles: Steering column rubbing/squeaking noise. This occurred during the warranty period and was taking care of. * 51,700 miles: Turbo actuator fails. Costs me $750 at the dealer since I was out of warranty. I called corporate seeking assistance. They declined to cover even though it was just out of warranty, they have a hard line, so they declined to help. * 52, 900 miles: The steering noise is back - dealer will not cover it. This is just a nuisance, so I declined repair. * 54,300 miles: Engine begins smoking during routine city driving. Valve cover gasket $902.79 + Oil filter housing gasket $656.99 for a total of $1,576.40 with tax. This is a very fun car while it's new, but just know that the glamour dies out quickly. Honestly, I regret not buying another reliable Honda/Acura. I still own my 2001 TL which now has over 417,000 miles on it!
I was a previous 3 series owner, 2009 328xi. The straight 6 cylinder does sound different, the 2.0 liter turbo does fine. The 2009 felt more solid to me and I actually liked the hydraulic steering. My wife tells me she hated my old car and loves my new car. Go figure. If you are a new BMW owner I think you will like the car, the power and technology. The car has an auto start/stop feature which I had the dealer remove, I wasn't a fan. There are three driving modes, Eco, Normal and Sport. You will take off like a rocket ship in Sport Mode, I think it might be too much throttle for the weight of the car. Eco is actually not too bad and you save some milage which is always good.
I had a 2003 325i for 9 years before the repairs became too costly. I loved the drive, but jumped to an Infiniti G37x seeking more room, interior refinement, and reliability. The G just didn't do it for me from a performance perspective though, so back I came. I surprised to see BMW went to a 4T, but once you drive it you won't know it. Quiet, smooth, and fast, plus it gave me a 9 MPG bump over my G and old 325. You get to 70 mph and think you're doing 45. The cabin is quiet, the engine is quiet, and its all BMW. The steering is softer (not soft, though), but gets tighter with speed. Even at lower speeds though, it is responsive.
I once thought that BMWs were the ugliest cars on the road. Then, their recent styling and interior updates, in addition to actually test driving one, got me hooked. Coming from a Taurus I wasn't sure what to expect; but the feeling I get in one word is "solid". Solid power, handling, materials, tech, comfort: much more of a driver's car than any I have driven. I drove 100 miles today through snaking rural roads in N. Alabama and S. Tennessee, and I was convinced I made the right choice. The Taurus was cavernous without a center console, and the 328i not so much with the driveshaft in the way, but plenty of room for a 6'2" 300 lb guy who likes space. I can't wait to go to Greenville...