The 335i was the start of a new revolution for BMW, as it looks to be the first in a long line of turbocharged cars. They are no strangers to forced induction, but the 335i was the first turbocharged petrol engine BMW have put into production for some 25 years.
Due to their recent reputation for fantastic normally aspirated engines, they wanted to make sure that it felt as close to a powerful non-turbo engine as possible, aiming to keep any lag completely at bay. As such they used two small Mitsubishi turbos running just 0.6bar, which is not only enough to help the 3ltr engine push the smart looking coupe to 60mph in just 5.3sec, but also helps them achieve their aim of instant response.
It’s fair to say that when it comes to 3-Series BMWs it’s the M division’s take on them that generally wins the plaudits from car testers, and while the M3 of this shape is already legendary, the 335i offers an exciting alternative. The 335i offers understated looks and all the real world performance and practicality you’d need for daily driving. BMW encrypted the electronics quite heavily to avoid tuners cracking into it too easily and unleashing M3-rivalling power from it, but obviously this has already been sussed out. In fact, many tuners claim that they can remap the ECU to achieve more than 70bhp in gains while maintaining that lag- free performance. This doesn’t make it quite as powerful as an M3, but on the road that sort of power has led many reviewers to claim a lightly tuned 335i is every bit the M3’s equal… just with less road presence and balls-out excitement.
If you’re after a stealthy daily driver, with attractive looks and the driving pleasure that a rear-wheel drive BMW with 50/50 weight distribution offers then the 335i is the car for you. If you also want a car that is sure to be a tuner’s favourite in years to come, then the 335i is also a decent bet, as it’s likely to step out of the M3s shadow as more tuners get to grips with unleashing its full potential.
Engine: 3ltr, 6-cylinder, twin turbo
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The only real problem that seems to pop up occasionally is an issue with the high pressure fuel pump in some cars, the only solution to which is a full replacement. Some also claim oil temperatures are a problem with the 335i and opt to upgrade to a motorsportspec oil cooler to be on the safe side, especially on tuned engines. Aside from that check the adaptive headlights are functioning properly and things like the sunroof work as they should, as there have been a few reported problems in these areas too.
BMW 335I TUNING
AMS Performance have achieved around 500bhp to the flywheel with a 335i, using a prototype turbo kit, which is a great start. Most of the upgrades though centre around an uprated exhaust system, remap and a larger intercooler. Tuners, such as Thorney Motorsport will try to keep that non-turbo feel that BMW designed into the 335i, but research carefully if that’s something you want to maintain. The potential of the turbo-charged engine is apparent and companies are working on turbo upgrade packages as we speak, so expect to see more 500bhp plus 335i BMWs in the very near future.
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