- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2006

INNSBRUCK, Austria — The new BMW 3 Series Coupe is the first to get the new 3.0-liter engine that BMW developed on the basis of the 330i. When it arrives in dealerships in September, the Coupe will be available as 328i and as 335i. Also a version with xDrive, BMW’s all-wheel drive, will go on sale as the 328 xi.Coupe.

The 328i engine is a 218-horsepower variant that will replace the existing 325i inline six cylinder. It also will replace the 325i in the Sedan, probably from January 2007. By that time, the Sedan will get the 335i as well, replacing the current 330i.

The new 3.0-liter engine is based on the architecture of the 330i, but the crankcase of the 335i is aluminum. It is the world’s first inline-six engine with a Twin Turbo and direct fuel injection. Not taking into account the engines for the M-models, it is also the most powerful BMW six-cylinder.

The new turbocharged I-6 has a power output of 300 horsepower and has 300 foot-pounds of torque. BMW says the 335i is lighter than a comparable 4.0-liter V-8, but offers the same power with a significant reduction of fuel consumption.

The 328i is mated to a Getrag six-speed manual transmission, whereas the 335i works together with the six-speed ZF type G manual. Both models will also be available with six-speed automatic transmission. The one in the 335i is of the ZF type and especially adjusted to match the powerful new turbocharged engine. The acceleration from 0-60 mph takes 5.3 seconds with the 335i and 6.2 seconds with the 328i. The limited top speed of both the 328i and the 335i is 130 mph. With the optional Sport Package on the 335i, it is 150 mph.

The new 180.3-inch-long Coupe cannot be mistaken for a Sedan, not only because of the two-door configuration, but especially as the front and rear have a different styling. The hood “lashes” somewhat over the xenon adaptive headlights, which are surrounded by corona light rings that serve as daytime running lights. Also the design of the front air dam is unique for the Coupe.

In the rear we see LED taillights that extend into the trunk lid and have two sections. Furthermore the exterior mirrors are specially designed for the Coupe to match the profile lines of the two-door body.

The interior also got a new design: the horizontal lines of the door and side panels and the combination of a dark dashboard and light panels and upholstery create a light and elegant interior. It is roomy enough to seat four persons and the luggage compartment can easily take their weekend bags.

Both 328i and 335i Coupes come with full standard equipment. Compared with the 2006 3 Series Coupe, there are new features such as cornering lights, ground lighting in door handles, welcome light that automatically switches on upon unlocking and locking the car, start/stop button, a climate-controlled front center console with single cupholder and preparation for Sirius satellite radio.

The safety equipment consists of dual front air bags SRS, front and rear head protection system, front seat side impact air bags, advanced crash safety management, three-point safety belts and head restraints on all seats.

Furthermore the Coupe has standard Dynamic Stability Control, including Dynamic Traction Control, ABS, DBC, Fading Compensation, Brake Standby, Brake Drying & Start-off Assistant.

Also xenon adaptive headlights with luminous rings and dynamic auto-leveling, headlight cleaning system, cornering lights, daytime running lamps, foglights, adaptive brake lights, and rear park distance control.

I had the opportunity to drive with the 335i Coupe in Austria’s Tirol Mountains. On the freeway it was easy to appreciate the powerful engine with its torque already available at 1,400 rpm and not decreasing until 5,000 rpm.

On the mountain roads the 335i felt completely at ease.

The suspension is firm, but less firm than I would have expected. It offers a degree of comfort and there is even a little movement of the body structure when entering a corner or on a bad surface.

BMW says that it has deliberately gone away a little bit from a pure sporty character and that a lot of attention has been given to comfort “without giving up sportiness.”

Each new 3 Series comes on run-flat tires and the Coupe has standard 17-inch wheels with 2255 R 17 H-rated all-season rubber. A sport package with 18-inch wheels will be available.

Both the 328i and the 335i have standard Dynamic Stability Control.

The base price of the 328i Coupe is $35,300, that of the 328 xi is $37,100 and of the 335i $40,600. Destination and handling will cost $695.


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