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September 11, 2007 > BMW 335i Convertible

BMW 335i Convertible

We just brought back our first BMW press car and we were sad to see it go. It was a beautiful 2007 335i convertible. I'm not sure if it looks better with the power retractable hard top up or down. Both views are knockouts with its low, aggressive stance.

BMW has been in the motor business for many years with a diversified product line around the world. A few years ago, a new person (Chris Bangle) took over the chief design duties. Many people have criticized his impact on the look of BMW automobiles he has penned. Look at the photos for this article, and I think you will agree this 335i design is a winner.

Her are the basics. The 3-liter straight 6 gets 2 turbochargers, variable valve timing, and all kinds of electronic controls. It puts out 300 HP and 300 foot pounds of torque. Then the power flows to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed paddle shifted automatic transmission. The engine has so much torque that you don't need to spend a lot of effort shifting up and down in traffic. Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Traction Control are standard. The brakes are 4-wheel ventilated discs with ABS. EPA numbers are 19/28 with the manual transmission and 20/29 with the automatic.

The interior is a typical BMW no nonsense driving environment. Leather is everywhere. The control location and design is meant for high performance driving, and it all works well together. My only complaints about the 335i come from inside the car. First, the clutch and shift lever throws seemed too long; I think they should be half as long. Also, the center console is too high - my elbow kept hitting it as I pulled the shift lever.

Next, the 2 rear headrests blocked a significant portion of my vision from the center rearview mirror. I was unable to move or remove them. When driving in traffic, you need to know what's behind you, and these two blocked areas were frustrating. And finally, the turn signal control stalk was a pain when you need just a quick signal to change lanes. The signal would stay on and trying to shut it off generally resulted in signaling in the opposite direction.

One of the 335i's greatest strengths is its power retractable roof. At the push of a button, motors and gizmos start to whirr and the hard top disappears into the trunk. However, with the top down, there is not much storage space for luggage or other items.

Another of BMW's strong suits is solid, dependable, great handling, and road manners. Good strong, fade resistant brakes are another BMW hallmark. The 335i really demonstrates these qualities. It rides smoothly and handling borders on pure racecar. This is a great car to drive hard or cruise down the freeways.

The base MSRP for the 335i convertible is $49,875. Adding the automatic transmission costs $1,275 extra. A hardtop coupe is $8,300 less. Our test car had the sport package (bigger wheels and tires and the sport suspension) and the premium package (many electronic additions). Its sticker price was $54,450.

There is no "eye candy" flash in the 335i to try to impress you. In its German way, this car says, "I know I am very good, and I don't need any frills to catch your attention. I can prove it! Hop in and I will show you." And it does...in spades!

By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists
RRYAN@FRK.COM


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