The BMW 3 Series has matured gracefully over the years, retaining its core elements and keeping up with the latest trends and features.
Text by Cheryl Tay
Photos by Adrian Wong
The BMW 3 Series was probably one of the first car model ranges that I learnt about in my life. You see, I got to know of the 3 Series from a very young age because it was, and still is, my mother’s dream car. My mother’s a really practical person and as the dynamic working mother she is, she values comfort and performance a lot – Comfort so she can ‘rest’ when driving around and performance so she enjoys the process of being behind the wheel.
We did have a BMW 320i in the family briefly for about three years in the late 1980s when I was still in diapers. It was a pre-owned one though and I was told my mother even struck the lottery (third prize of SGD 11,000) with its number plate. That was the first and last time my mother had her dream car and I remember having a conversation with her about it when I was in kindergarten.
I asked her what was her favourite car and why, and without hesitation she recalled fond memories of that 320i she had. Thereafter there never was a Continental car in the family as the economy turned bad and the prices were simply not within budget. She did have a hand at a relative’s BMW 7 Series much later, but the size didn’t sit quite well for her as she is of rather petite build and the car seemed to swallow her up.
It was a pity that she wasn’t in the country when I had this BMW 335i test drive! I’m sure she would have appreciated being taken for a ride in it (she wouldn’t dare to drive a car that isn’t hers and I’m not allowed to let anyone else drive it anyway).
Today, the 3 Series has grown into a comprehensive range with different engine variants and body styles – wagon, coupe, cabriolet, sedan. The one I have here is the latest 335i sedan in Sport trim. Code named the F30, the 3 Series has been spruced up for 2012 – growing in size with longer length, longer wheelbase, wider track, and also a new face with its signature chrome-trimmed kidneys and headlights that make it look a tad cross.
It is not difficult to be impressed by a BMW and the three-litre six-cylinder turbocharged engine gives it its sweet spot.
Putting out a maximum of 306bhp, the 335i’s 400Nm of torque starts from 1,200rpm all the way to 5,000rpm, making it quick on its feet – quickest of 5.5 seconds from zero to 100km/h.
The variable sport steering and Adaptive M running gear with lowered suspension contributes to the car’s excellent behaviour of going where you want it to.
Coming standard with the eight-speed automatic sport transmission, there is a driving experience control which adjusts things like the steering and suspension so you can tailor it to your driving style for the day. There is also an Eco Pro mode which impressed me much, boosting the fuel efficiency of the 335i by miles (pun fully intended). For the three-day test drive, I didn’t even need to top up the fuel at all.
Packed with lots of goodies, the 335i has a heads-up display, rear view camera, park distance control rear, cruise control with braking function, rain sensors, adaptive Xenon headlights, an electrical glass roof, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, as well as the remarkable Harmon Kardon surround sound system which made me feel like I was right there with Psy in the studio when he was recording his ‘Oppa Gangnam Style’ song.
My favourite feature of all had to be the contactless boot lid opening, which I’m very thankful for as it proved to be a great help. I’m always having so many things to carry around and sometimes the ground is so filthy that you don’t want to put your belongings down on it.
Other than the 335i, the 3 Series Singapore offering includes the 320i and 328i sedans; 320i, 325i and 335i M Sport coupes; as well as the 320i, 325i and 335i convertibles. With various trim levels and equipment options, it will be surprising if there isn’t a configuration to your preference.
I will have to write plenty of car reviews to be able to afford a BMW 3 Series now, but I do hope that the day will come when I can. Hopefully that time will come not too far away, so that my mother is still able to drive it herself and enjoy it!
BMW 335i Sport (A) – Technical Specifications
Engine: 2,979cc inline-6 24v twin-turbo
Transmission: 8-speed Sport automatic transmission Steptronic
Max Power: 306bhp at 5,800-6,000rpm
Max Torque: 400Nm at 1,200-5,000rpm
0-100km/h: 5.5 secs
Top Speed: 250km/h
Price: SGD 323,800 with COE
Distributor: Performance Motors Limited