2011 BMW 335is Preview

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We've seen leaked spec documents and even early-release photos courtesy of BMW USA, but today we get the full monty on the 2011 BMW 335is. With a more powerful version of the familiar N54 twin-turbo inline-six, an aggressive look and even better handling, the new 335is finds a place in the lineup between the standard 335i and the M3.

Available exclusively in Coupe and Convertible body styles, the new 335is promises to deliver even more performance to the masses while leaving off some of the sharp edges found in the more focused M3. Output is rated curiously at 320 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, despite using the same engine as found in the Z4 sDrive35is, where it gets a 335-horsepower rating. It's still more than enough to have some serious fun, however, as the full 332 pound-feet of torque are available from 1,500 to 5,000 rpm thanks to the quick-spooling turbos. A special overboost function cranks things up even further, pushing peak torque to 370 pound-feet for short stints.

That heady output is enough to sling the 335is Coupe to 60 mph in five seconds flat with the optional seven-speed DCT dual-clutch gearbox, while the manual 'box adds a tenth at 5.1 seconds. The Convertible takes a bit longer due to slightly increased weight to brace the chassis, running to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds with either gearbox. A high-output cooling fan and auxiliary oil cooler help engine and transmission cope with the demands of hard use, making it ready for HPDE and track day events, while the M Sport suspension package sharpens responses while balancing a reasonable around-town ride.

2011 BMW 335is Coupe

2011 BMW 335is Coupe

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It sounds the part, as well, thanks to a special sport exhaust system. The extra noise will let the driver know the hounds are being loosed, but it's been tuned to stay at the lower end of the frequency spectrum to prevent excessive intrusion on the cabin's comfort--a balance struck between the regular 3-Series' quietude and the V-8-powered M3's wail. In addition to the sport exhaust, the 335is gets the same disc brakes found on the 335i, with 13.7-inch front and 13.2-inch rear units providing ample stopping power.

With its bite well proven, the bark is all that remains--figuratively speaking. You'll be able to spot the 335is at a distance thanks to its aggressive M Sport package, which includes front and rear bumper covers, side skirts, and a full slate of M aerodynamic tweaks. A high-gloss black kidney grille surround, Shadowline black window trim, wing mirror caps, and Ferric Grey 18-inch alloy wheels are also standard. Nineteen-inch alloy M wheels are available. The only difference--beside the folding roof--between the Coupe and Convertible is the deletion of the fog lights on the Coupe to provide better cooling, while the Convertible keeps them.

2011 BMW 335is Coupe

2011 BMW 335is Coupe

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Inside, the cabin is chock full o' M Sport upgrades, including aluminum Glacier Silver dark trim, an M Sport steering wheel, sport seats, anthracite headliner, M door sills, M driver's footrest, M gearshift knob, and stainless-steel sport pedals. Dark grey instrument dials are branded with the 335is badge, as is the passenger side door.

For first-drive impressions of the 2011 BMW 335is live from Portugal, check out Bengt Halvorson's article at TheCarConnection.

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