2011 BMW 335is Coupe E92 – Video
The engineers swear on a stack of product-change-notice paperwork that indeed this new version, nicknamed N54B30, is tweaked to pump more air for improved performance. The mission of this North America-only model is to cut the factory in on some of the action BMW owners have been giving companies like Dinan, Hartge, AC Schnitzer, et al. in search of a bit more performance and exclusivity. Indeed the added power is largely derived in the same way those guys often make it — with a hotter chip that turns up the boost (from 8.7 psi in the 2009 335i to 11.6 psi nominal peak). As for the aforementioned overboost of up to 14.5 psi, this only happens for a maximum of seven seconds, generally below 4500 rpm, so the horsepower never tops 320. Unlike some of those other guys, however, BMW upgrades the cooling system substantially (an auxiliary radiator and an oil cooler flank the main radiator and the cooling fan’s performance is increased), to preserve manufacturer-warranted durability.
Other powertrain changes include more rigid hydraulic engine mounts and a rortier exhaust note (it doesn’t pass Euro sound regs but sounds terrific, though exhaust backpressure is unchanged). It’s available with either the six-speed manual or the seven-speed twin-clutch automatic. You’ll also find versions of this engine powering the new 740i (315 horsepower) and Z4 sDrive35is (335 horsepower, thanks to that car’s roomier, cooler underhood environment).
Inside you get an M sport wheel, gray gauge faces with white needles and a 335is logo, stainless pedal trim, and aluminum dash and console trim. It all looks and feels pretty special, but is it worth the $7000 upcharge? Answering that question would be much easier with some hard data in hand, so let’s strap our VBox onto a dual-clutch example (clearly the quickest) and head out onto the front straight at Portugal’s Estoril circuit for some quick-‘n’-dirty acceleration and braking data.
There are a few caveats: These early-build cars do not have launch control, which will appear in production; overnight rain has left the surface a tad damp in spots, and there’s a slight headwind (the level portion of the straight is not long enough to run in both directions). Nevertheless, I twice manage to flat-foot the accelerator with no “brake torquing” and get a nice hard launch with reasonable wheelspin, and manage to beat our quickest 335i coupe (a six-speed manual) handily: 4.8 seconds to 60 mph, versus 5.1; 13.3 seconds at 105.6 mph in the quarter versus 13.6 at 104.3. Consider these highly conservative results to be revisited closer to when the car goes on sale in April (convertible) and June (coupe). Note that neither this engine nor the DCT transmission is offered elsewhere in the 3 Series lineup.