Quick Drive: 2011 BMW 335is Coupe

Reviews I By Winding Road Staff I September 28, 2011

I’ve been completely digging each exposure to the 335is since I first drove the car at New Jersey Motorsports Park last fall. Then, as now, the car seemed to blend the best parts of the 335i and the M3.

The 335is is subtle, too. There’s just enough performance on top of what the standard 35i offers to make you think you’re driving something special, but none of the harshness that can sometimes result from aftermarket adventures. The Dinan guys may have something to say about that, I admit, but until we’re able to put together a comparison along those lines, I’ll stick with recommending the factory car.

If there is fault to be found with this 3er, to me it seems to lie with the competition. Audi’s S4 offers a near-match in terms of performance and costs a few thousand dollars less than the 335is. Rear-drive versus all-wheel drive preference, or coupe versus sedan, may make these two cars less cross-shopped than I might imagine. But in terms of $50K-ish near-high-performance luxury machines the contest is close.

—Seyth Miersma, Editor-In-Chief

Unlike John and Seyth, this was my first time in a BMW 335is. The last time we had one, I never had a chance to sample it, so I remained woefully ignorant to the fact that it’s better than an M3 in every condition but a racetrack.

It’s the torque that really does it for me. There is so much of it, spread so linearly (once you get past the initial bit of turbo lag) across the rev range that it feels much more usable than an M3. Want to make a pass on the freeway? No downshifts required, unlike the M3 which forces you to drop two gears to muster up some serious passing power.

I also enjoyed the lower visual impact compared to the M3. There are no side vents, or power bulges in the hood, or quad exhausts on the back bumper. It sits a slight bit lower than a 335i Coupe, and wears some unique wheels, but looks otherwise is identical to a standard 3-Series Coupe. Hmmm, sleeper.

—Brandon Turkus, Test Fleet Manager


  • Most of the performance of the M3, at least in street driving situations
  • A beautiful torque spread offers easy speed in any gear
  • Understated yet aggressive looks versus the standard coupe


  • A performance (and price) middle child that some sporting buyers won’t quite get
  • Doesn’t have the aura associated with BMW M cars
  • Audi’s S4 is a talented competitor for less coin

The Guide to Road Racing: Winding Road Magazine's ultimate guide to getting your start in racing.

Table of Contents

Related Articles

The Genesis G90 Bang & Olufsen Audio System

The Genesis G90 Bang & Olufsen audio system has given birth to an exceptional audio experience that redefines in-car sound.

October 27, 2023
Driven: 2023 Toyota GR86 Compliments the Curves

How does the 2023 Toyota GR86 fair on the Tail of the Dragon? Put simply, it’s the perfect tool for tackling the famous curves.

August 21, 2023
Review: Le Mans 100 Book is a Winner

As a devoted motorsport enthusiast, my anticipation for the Le Mans 100 book by Glen Smale was sky-high following the thrilling and unforgettable 24 Hours…

July 07, 2023
Review: The G80 M3 Manual is a Lovable Driving Machine

The G80 M3’s personality is just far too muddied, but at least what it’s courageous enough to express is well-sorted excellence.

June 02, 2023
The Mullin Automotive Museum Immortalizes the Grandeur of French Pre-War Car Culture

What’s behind the doors of the Mullin Automotive Museum aren’t just cars, but works of art in every shape and form.

June 01, 2023


Get the latest driving and racing news straight to your inbox.

no thanks

Begin typing your search above and press return to search.