The 3 series, an offshoot of the 1973 Oil Crisis, was developed for those seeking premium econo cars. 39 years down the line and garnering many accolades, the 6th Generation codenamed F30, the current 3 series has evolved much like the human species. They are bold yet sophisticated.
Our tester is the latest BMW 335i Sport package and comes with a 3.0Litre inline 6; force fed by twin turbochargers and producing 300HP and 300Lb-ft of twist. They also have one of the best weight distribution of any car and carry a 50:50 weight distribution, front:back. I will get back on the relevancy of these figures later on.
My earliest experience on the 3 series was at college when I had the E46. It had the looks, power and the refinement that would shame many manufacturers into going back to the drawing board. It also offered me a driving experience like none other and my love affair on BMW’s blossomed from there on. That was 10 years back, so when I was handed the keys to the 2012 335i Sport, it would be fair to say that I was as giddy as a debutant on their first ball.
The interior of the 3 series is no longer cramped like the previous generations, in fact it’s really hard to tell that one is sitting inside the 3 series, it actually feels like sitting inside the bigger 5 series. How did BMW manage to create space defies me, yes the proportions of the car has been increased from all sides and somehow it has translated into a much bigger cabin space. There is heads up display and a 9.5inch screen which shows 3D maps and plays your itunes or mp3 collection while displaying its cover art. The M Sport package comes with the red trim and meaty steering wheel which feels as if it was molded for my hands. The rear leg room also benefited from the increase in dimensions of the car and one would not experience their knees scraping the back of the front seats.
So far it’s all shaping up rather well and but now we need to know about its drive. BMWs have a very linear acceleration and that translates into a smoother and a relaxed drive. But now with BMW moving into forced induction I was quite skeptical if the linear feel would be lost. I was wrong. The car powers out with ease. This does not feel like a 3.0Litre engine at all, it’s more like a V8. BMW has solved the sudden high rpm rush as experienced by the Mitsubishi Evolutions by incorporating two different turbochargers. One spools faster to give more low end thrust while the larger carries off in the higher rpms. The electro mechanical steering however looses some feel but as with the case of the Gran Coupe we tested, only a full turn of the steering is required to get the wheels turned in either direction from straight. This just makes driving around the city more effortless.
The Sport variant does not disappoint either as one could change from different fueling maps to suit their driving requirements. There is an econo mode which makes the car sip gas through crushed straw and power delivery more akin to that of the Toyota Corolla but then there is the all out Sport + mode which will bring out the dark side - with traction control off as default ! The torque is high enough to overwhelm the rear tires and the car fishtails out of a standstill like a rodeo bull.
Who says that theToyota86 is a better drift car, the 335i Sport is no less. It will drift till either the driver gets dizzy or the rear tires surrender. And for AED 240,000 the BMW 335i Sport offers a taste of the madness and sheering driving pleasure and a first taste of the Padora’s box that BMW presents with its M series.
Images by Subodh Shetty