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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #1  
Old 10-01-2012, 12:09 AM
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cantona7 cantona7 is offline
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Finally drove 328i and 335i...first impressions

So my wife and I headed out to spend some seat time in the F30 this afternoon.

Some context: We've been thinking about getting a second car that would be a tad more practical than our E46 M3 (6MT). My wife drives to client meetings around NorCal and she's got a bum left knee, so we're thinking this car will probably have to be an AT. We've owned a number of BMWs over the years, all manual: E46 330Ci, E30 325is, E24 M6, and an E85 Z4. Last week, we test drove the X1 28i and 35i M Sport and found them to be fairly enjoyable cars.

We walked into the dealership lot and the first thing we saw was a minor miracle: Estoril Blue 328i M Sport with 6MT. Crazy...I never thought we'd see a general inventory car with 6MT at any Bay Area dealership. Fast forward a few minutes to get our DLs zapped and we were off to spend some alone time with the car. I must say, we both came away hugely impressed with the 328i. The car just feels right. At first, the steering totally freaked me out because it was so light. Then I realized it was in Comfort mode. Sport+ fixed that. I see no reason to ever drive this car in anything but Sport+. Overall, I find the personality of the 328i to be pretty delightful—very eager feeling car, pretty sharp response, and not all that dissimilar to my M3. One very pleasant note: the feel of the 6MT shifter in this car is probably the best I've felt in a BMW. Reminds me of the Mini Cooper S in terms of feel. The throws also felt a tad shorter than my M3's. Clutch pedal also feels very light, although the engagement point is sorta typically vague in a BMW sort of way.

While we would have loved to have a 335i with M Sport to directly compare against, the only free car was one in Luxury Line. We drove that in Sport mode of course. Very nice car, but totally different feel. The dynamics just feel completely different because of the extra weight (we both found this noticeable.) But the extra oomph of the N55's power is very nice. Even so, when that big kick of the power band engages, I just feel like it's pushing a much bigger beast. There are certain situations, like long sweeping left handers, where my wife and I both loved the solid, planted feel that the 335i served up. Overall, it feels very much like a stately, speedy sports sedan. I can totally live with this car, even with the AT (non-sports).

Bottom line: We loved the 328i. My wife was tempted to buy the one we drove and abandon our actual plan to do Euro delivery. This was the most fun we've had on a test drive in a very long time—and that includes all the E9X cars (yes, M3s as well.) We'll probably look for a 335i with M Sport to test drive next, or at least Sport Line. But when it comes to ordering, we're definitely in for M Sport—the car just looks right that way.

Question: Why are the N20 and N55 rated with the same fuel economy numbers? I don't really understand how this could be so.
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2012, 05:00 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantona7 View Post
Why are the N20 and N55 rated with the same fuel economy numbers? I don't really understand how this could be so.

Odd that....3-4 mpg diff manual trans;about same automatic. ~190 lb & 2 cyl diff.

Expected 1-2 mpg diff both transmissions. Dunno.
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  #3  
Old 10-01-2012, 06:00 AM
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To the OP. I had kind of the same reaction when I first set out to choose between the 328i and the 335i. Having had a E90 328i really the power and the delivery of that power of the N20 puts to shame the N52. its as simple as that. To the point where you first ask yourself why do you even need a 335i. But after driving both again and really focusing not to compare the F30 328i to an E90 328i but to the F30 335i i I started noticing the subtle differences. its funny how you noticed the 6-MT Sportline 328i is so much more fun than the 335i Luxury. The 335i luxury is what I drove in the USA BMW event and honestly didn't like it at all even in sport mode. Compare apples to apples. a 335i MT to a 328i MT, sportline models, or both ATs to see what the difference is.

Then make your choice. You are about to spend some big bucks, take your time and make sure you get the car you want.
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Last edited by windsor027; 10-01-2012 at 06:02 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-01-2012, 07:14 AM
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I drove the 328i and 335i quite a bit, including two back to back test drives. The engines, at least at the altitude I live at (6000 feet) are pretty close but the 335i does have slightly less turbo lag and a little more punch.

I drove both cars through the canyons west of Littleton and I thought the 328i handled a bit better it just felt a little more nimble.

You can't go wrong with either one, I picked the 328i and even with the extra weight of x-drive the car is a blast to drive hard.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:20 AM
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Nice to hear from someone used to old BMWs.

There's a lot to be said for removing a lot of weight above the front tires - that's probably what you liked so much about the 328i in terms of handling. The inline six, god bless it, is a heavy motor.
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  #6  
Old 10-01-2012, 02:13 PM
zenyo5 zenyo5 is offline
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Hey Cantona were you at the Stevens Creek BMW? As you explained the background, it is very familiar with what I saw in the same dealership.
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  #7  
Old 10-01-2012, 02:25 PM
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cantona7 cantona7 is offline
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Originally Posted by zenyo5 View Post
Hey Cantona were you at the Stevens Creek BMW? As you explained the background, it is very familiar with what I saw in the same dealership.
No, I was at Sonnen. SC is too far from where I live. Do you happen to know if they have a 335i 6MT there? I'm looking for one to test drive.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:29 PM
zenyo5 zenyo5 is offline
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Yeah, I saw one in their show room about three weeks ago, however, I am not sure if they still have it. It's a 2012/13 335i M-Package Blue Color. Go check their showroom/inventory page on website.
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  #9  
Old 10-01-2012, 02:34 PM
Sharp_Cai Sharp_Cai is offline
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I ordered my EBII 335i at Stevens Creek BMW last week. Didn't see a EBII 335i only 328i with that color. They have a nice 12 GT-R there. lol
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  #10  
Old 10-01-2012, 02:59 PM
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cantona7 cantona7 is offline
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Originally Posted by Sharp_Cai View Post
I ordered my EBII 335i at Stevens Creek BMW last week. Didn't see a EBII 335i only 328i with that color. They have a nice 12 GT-R there. lol
Did you get a 6MT or AT? It's still early days for us, but right now I'm leaning 328i. Price difference doesn't really matter, as I've configured cars with both motors to within $1500, give or take a few options. The main thing is that the 328i felt a bit more dynamic to handle and we liked the braking character a bit more. But the 335i does have its charms...
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:18 PM
Sharp_Cai Sharp_Cai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantona7 View Post
Did you get a 6MT or AT? It's still early days for us, but right now I'm leaning 328i. Price difference doesn't really matter, as I've configured cars with both motors to within $1500, give or take a few options. The main thing is that the 328i felt a bit more dynamic to handle and we liked the braking character a bit more. But the 335i does have its charms...
Well, it all depends on your daily needs. U can buy a 328i well loaded for 50K with M sport pkg, it has plenty power for daily use. For the 335i, I think it's a different level car than 328i. Plus, my wife doesn't wanna drive a 328i, because most of her coworkers are driving it. lol Woman likes to be special.

PS: My 335i is AT, wife is going to drive it at the most of time.
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Last edited by Sharp_Cai; 10-01-2012 at 03:26 PM.
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  #12  
Old 10-01-2012, 03:26 PM
Lorenzzo Lorenzzo is offline
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I had similar impressions to the others. They feel like different cars, the 335i is more of a cruiser while the 328i is IMO overall more fun because of it's fantastic handling dynamics and minor acceleration deficit.

The 328i Sport is the most fun car I've ever owned and the technologies are very impressive. I loved my prior M3, this is more enjoyable than I remember the M3 being.

It may take a little while to understand their concept, the steering and the engine. The engine by the way is awesome and I wouldn't be surprised to find both the engine and the car become classics. If one can't get over the 4 cylinder thing no matter how good it might be, this car isn't for them.

One complaint: The tech toys are fun and can distract from the driving which when undistracted is more fun.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:21 PM
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cantona7 cantona7 is offline
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Yeah, the tech toys are a nice little gimmick. My wife and I both had a great time seeing HUD in action, but after the first 5 minutes we both agreed that we could go without. Same goes for the driving modes: I'd rather just have Sport+ be the default, with EcoPro the only other option (for stop-and-go traffic situations.) That said, it's nice to have options. Our M3 is pretty sparsely optioned and we've been fine with it. We've previously had another pretty loaded E46 and our Z4 had a lot of options too. In the end, the only thing that really matters is how enjoyable the car is. People are always surprised when I don't have my iPod/iPhone hooked up in the car; they look at me like I'm crazy when I say I'd rather have the window down and listen to the engine. Of course, that might change with the 328i and its super-quiet motor.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:30 PM
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hope the 335 is as fun to drive as my 328. i think it will be
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:38 PM
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cantona7 cantona7 is offline
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Wait...you're already upgrading from the 328i to 335i?? Wow, that was a short ownership!
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:44 PM
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Wait...you're already upgrading from the 328i to 335i?? Wow, that was a short ownership!
love my 328 but dealer is replacing it due to the steering wheel vibration issue. figured i would give the 335 a try
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:58 PM
Lorenzzo Lorenzzo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantona7 View Post
Yeah, the tech toys are a nice little gimmick. My wife and I both had a great time seeing HUD in action, but after the first 5 minutes we both agreed that we could go without. Same goes for the driving modes: I'd rather just have Sport+ be the default, with EcoPro the only other option (for stop-and-go traffic situations.) That said, it's nice to have options. Our M3 is pretty sparsely optioned and we've been fine with it. We've previously had another pretty loaded E46 and our Z4 had a lot of options too. In the end, the only thing that really matters is how enjoyable the car is. People are always surprised when I don't have my iPod/iPhone hooked up in the car; they look at me like I'm crazy when I say I'd rather have the window down and listen to the engine. Of course, that might change with the 328i and its super-quiet motor.
I almost sprang for a simple unloaded vehicle because my loaner was that way and provided less distracted driving. Even the standard vinyl seats are fine. But then I found one loaded with 1,100 miles on it I could drive home. It's been love ever since.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:34 PM
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I had a base model rental 2012 in SoCal and there was no way I was going to scrimp on my special order. I optioned nearly everything. The difference on a lease between stripped and loaded is like$150 a month.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:24 PM
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If it's like the E90 335i, I think you have to push the car more toward it's limit to get at the fun, it's a bit distant at normal driving speeds.

Haven't driven an F30 but the 328i sounds more accessible, thanks to the much lighter motor.

I guess it's kind of like when people used to replace the four cylinder in the E30 with a six - car took on a totally different character.
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