2012 BMW 335i xDrive Coupe: Evolution of the E9X 335i

LOCATION SPOTTED: Quail Hill (Amagansett)
LOCATION SPOTTED: Quail Hill (Amagansett)

Performance:

  • Acceleration 0 to 60: 4.8 sec
  • Braking 60 to 0: 109 feet
  • Quarter Mile: 13.5 sec @ 105 mph
  • Slalom: 67.2 mph
  • Skid-pad: 0.91 g

BMW has come a long way with the 335i over the past 6 to 7 years. In the U.S., we saw the first 335i coupes and sedans in spring 2006, and the convertibles and xDrive models (like this one) come in late 2006 and 2007 respectively. The 335i was an absolute game-changer for the entry-level luxury sports-car market. The car did 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds when equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission. That is impressive even by 2013 standards, let alone back in 2006. The achilles heal to the early 335i coupes, sedans, and convertibles was the high pressure fuel pump (or HPFP) recall, that affected some 500,000  BMWs with the N54 engine.

N54

N54

The N54 engine is a true twin-turbo engine developing 300 horsepower and 300 ft lbs of torque at just 1400 rpm. This engine was one of the first turbocharged engine to be produced by BMW and it’s HPFP was problematic. The N55 replaced the N54 in 2010 for the 2011 model year and, thus far, it has been far more reliable. I truly believe this is the right direction for BMW to move in for future 335i (and later 435i) models in the future.

N55

N55

The N55 is not only less problematic, but also more fuel efficient. Because the N55 is a single turbo with what BMW calls a “twin-scroll” function, instead of a true twin-turbo with two separate turbochargers, it gets truly great gas mileage. 29 mpg on the highway in rear-wheel drive configurations is quite good. Tuners may have issues with the sheer engine output losses that are now present with one less turbo in the engine bay, but it is a small price to pay in order to move BMW in the right direction for saving fuel and preserving the reliability of their motors.

 

images of N54 and N55 engines sourced from www.flikr.com

2011 BMW M3 Frozen Black Convertible: Smoked Out, High-Revving… but What Else?

LOCATION SPOTTED: World Pie (Bridgehampton)

LOCATION SPOTTED: World Pie Restaurant (Bridgehampton)

*Performance:

  • Acceleration 0 to 60: 4.8 sec
  • Braking 60 to 0: 108 feet
  • Quarter Mile: 13.0 sec
  • Skidpad: 0.86 g
  • Slalom: 67.8 mph

*These times are reflective of only the convertible E93 M3 with DCT trans. They are way  slower than those of the coupe and sedan because the E93 has around 441 pounds of extra weight to lug around, with no extra power to compensate.

The M3 is, in my opinion, the best all around sportscar currently made. It wins alll of the performance tests, has outstanding numbers for the price and luxury. It is the best combination of luxury and sport handling currently on the market today.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can identitfy a few cons of the current generation M3, There aren’t many, but it does have a somewhat awkward DCT shifter, and lousy fuel economy. Fortunately, the E90 and E92 M3 could be forgiven for their gas guzzling motors, because they both handle, and go very fast. Sadly, this is not true for the convertible M3.

The convertible M3 has a much much heavier curb weight, (4,145 pounds, vs. 3,704 pounds). Pretty much all of the plus points of the normal M3, are now compromised. Performance stats are lower across the board, including fuel economy. The already dismal reatings of 14 city and 20 highway miles per gallon, are now decreased by 1 on both counts. The BMW M3 is not worth it, unless you only want the V8 soundtrack and the looks, because the handling credentials just aren’t there, not anymore.

The lesser BMW 335i, makes more sense to purchase as a convertible. This is due to the fact, that the twin turbo 3.0 liter motor can be tuned (via Cobb AccessPort, Burger Tuning JB4 chip, Dinan ECU, etc.) to match or outperform the M3 and all it’s 414 horsepower glory. All for about 15 grand less. So, If you want an M3, get a coupe (or sedan predating 2012 model year). If you need a convertible, than just buy a 335i or 335is (which shares that wonderfully quick, though awkward looking DCT trans from the M3) and strap a JB4 chip to it for $500, you won’t be disappointed.

2012 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon: Damn Quick Station-Wagon

LOCATION SPOTTED: a side-street off of East Hampton Village

LOCATION SPOTTED: a side-street off of East Hampton Village

Performance:

  • 0 to 60: 4.0 sec
  • 60 to 0: 108 feet
  • Quarter Mile: 12.2 sec
  • Slalom: 70.4 mph
  • Skidpad: 0.94 g

The Cadillac CTS-V is a sledgehammer to the BMW M5 at 40 grand less money. It’s an American Eagle shooting the aristocratic European in the face. However, with a new M5 finally here, I am sad to report that the winning streak may in fact be over for the Cadillac.

Well, that’s not actually true at all. The Cadillac CTS-V is still a very competent performer in the high-performance mid-size sedan category, It’s just that it’s competition, like the new Mercedes E63 Biturbo and M5, have finally come to battle with their guns up. Needless to say, the brand new European cars are doing to the CTS-V, what the CTS-V did a while ago. No matter what people say about the BMW M5.

2012 BMW 335is Convertible: Budget M3 with better MPG?

LOCATION SPOTTED: Harbor Marina (Springs)

LOCATION SPOTTED: Harbor Marina (Springs)

Performance:

  • Acceleration 0 to 60: 5.1 sec convertible, 4.7 sec coupe
  • Quarter Mile: 13.3 sec coupe, 13.7 sec convertible
  • Braking 60 to 0: 111 feet coupe, 114 feet convertible
  • Slalom: 67.2 mph coupe, 66.0 mph convertible
  • Skidpad: 0.91 g both

Harbor Marina has recently become a true haven for exotic sports cars, however, this particular selection for this blog entry, is somewhat more obscure and kind of like a wolf in sheeps clothing to the untrained eye. The 335 is arguably the best small sports sedan ever.  It maintains a unique level of performance that simply can’t be matched by competetors (unless extra cash is spent i.e. Audi S4). In recent years, cars like the Audi S4 have become better, faster, and cheaper than ever before. This shoots up red flags to the eyes of BMW engineers, causing them to create a better competitor to challenge the S4. Enter, the 335is.

Some will argue that the M3 already competes with the Audi S4 and also the Infiniti G37 IPL, but not anymore. You see, ever since the introduction of the new E90, 92 M3 in 2008 and E93 in 2009, each of which with a 414 hp V8 engine, in place of the E46 M3’s 333 hp inline six, The M3 is one step above the competition, and the 335i is just on the edge of the mark. The 335is with a 20 hp bump in power and a 30 lb ft increase in torque helps fill that void in the 3-series line.

In a nutshell, the 335is has some of the major performance improvements from the M3, including transmission, suspension, and steering (the brakes and engine are not carried over).  There are also a few cosmetic improvements as well, including numerous “335is” badges indicating that this is not a regular 335i, and a bespoke front bumber difuser that makes even an M-Sport 335i look like a simpleton (well, not quite but it is still cooler than normal). The 335is makes the best compromise between outright performance and practicality. It gets 18/26 (city/highway) mpg which is only 1-2 mpg worse than the standard 335i, and it crushes the Infiniti G37 IPL in the sprint to 60 mph, even though it has 30 more horsepower (at 350 hp). This 335is has a tremendous sense of uniqueness from subtle interior touches to minor performance tweeks, this car is like a svelt punch to the faces of Audi and Infiniti.