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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 11-13-2013, 12:29 PM
smalldog smalldog is offline
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335i GT (F34) initial impressions

So I took delivery 2 weeks ago of a 2014 BMW 335i GT (F34), and here are initial impressions...

First, in terms of options that affects how it drives, the car I bought has M Sport Pkg w/optional (blue) M Sport brakes, Dynamic Handling Pkg (Variable Sport Steering "VSS" and M Adaptive Suspension), and optional 19" wheels.

Second, in terms of past experience, my previous car was a 2011 BMW M3 Convertible (E92) w/M-DCT transmission and all the other performance and variable/adaptive this/that options offered, including 19" wheels (though I had the 18's, too, which I used in winter). Before that, I drove a 2007 BMW 335i Sedan with Sport Pkg and manual transmission (E90). Earlier still, I had a 2002 Porsche 911 (996), and 2000 BMW 328i (E46) with Sport Pkg, all with manual transmissions.

So, how does the GT drive?...

In daily driving, IT FEELS FASTER THAN THE M3. That is, it squirts around in traffic more effortlessly and accelerates better off the line and from normal speeds. I can feel this obviously because of the better torque of the turbo six engine vs. the naturally-aspirated V8 in the M3, which had a manic-depressive personality, in my opinion. The E9x M3 really didn't come alive unless you revved it in the 4000s or higher, but the 335i accelerates nicely from 1500-2500rpms.

The 8-speed auto transmission, especially in Sport mode, feels far, far smoother than the 7-speed M-DCT did in the M3. Although the M-DCT had 5 settings for aggressiveness of the shifts, I could never find one I really liked. In anything short of 4, it felt sluggish combined with the low-torque engine, and in 4 or 5, it was jerky, especially on shifts at lower around-town speeds. I don't think the 8-speed auto gives up anything that I would care about giving up in terms of sportiness for all its smoothness. I do still miss the old 6-speed manual, though, which sadly isn't available on the 335i GT in the U.S.A.

The suspension with the M Adaptive Suspension that I have is excellent. In Sport Mode, it's tight and nimble enough, not bouncy and doesn't lean to much around the bends. In comfort mode, it's really smooth and comfortable, like a luxury car. I test drove a 328i GT that didn't have the M Adaptive Suspension, and I didn't like it.

Space-wise, it's a REVELATION. The car is extremely roomy vs. a regular 3-series or other cars in the same class. My wife drives a 2013 Audi S4, which felt very roomy vs. my M3. After driving the 335i GT a few days, getting back into the S4 felt like cramping into a clown car, space-wise. Seriously, this thing has far more usable room—and sense of space—than a 5-Series sedan. The legroom in the back seat is cavernous for passengers, even with the front seats set back as far as I could possible want, and I'm not small.

The headroom is terrific, and the panoramic moonroof, which I leave open, makes the thing feel light and airy, reminding me of how much I like the glass top of my old Porsche 911 Targa.

The hatchback is excellent in terms of class and usable space. It's so nice to have the electronic opening and closing hatch vs. the regular trunk, since I frequently put my computer bag there. Before, I'd always get my hands dirty opening and closing the trunk and leave marks on it from my fingers. No more.

BMW has a winner here. Like the iPad mini, though, I think it may canabalize sales of BMW's larger models. Seriously, this thing is a better 5-Series.
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2013, 12:46 PM
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krash krash is offline
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Looks great. Congratulations!
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  #3  
Old 11-13-2013, 12:49 PM
davidc1 davidc1 is offline
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Outstanding review. Thank you.
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  #4  
Old 11-13-2013, 12:50 PM
smalldog smalldog is offline
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Few other thoughts, continuing...

Compared to the Audi S4, my 335i GT is not as fast or nimble, but it's close enough and has dramatically more luxury and space.

Compared to the S4, BMW's 8-speed auto is not as sharp as Audi's 7-speed DSG (S-Tronic, in Audi-speak), but it's at least as smooth. If only BMW could make its M-DCT transmission as good as Audi's DSG, but I digress...

Compared to a 335xi Sedan (not GT) that I test drove a few months earlier, which had the M Sport Pkg and 19" wheels (though NOT the M Adaptive Suspension), 8-speed automatic, and otherwise similar options, I'm very happy I went with the GT. The regular F30 sedan is a fine car, but the space inside is much tighter.... A lot of the press has focused on the extra length of the GT vs. the regular sedan, which is what gets you all the extra legroom in the rear seat. But the biggest difference you notice—especially as a driver in the front seat—is the extra height. There is just so much more VOLUME inside the GT. Yet, despite all the extra length, height, and volume, there doesn't seem to be much of a penalty in terms of how it drives, at least in normal around-town driving, which is what I do. I suppose if I took them both to a road track, the differences would be more pronounced, but seriously, how often does one do that?

Compared to the E92 M3, the 335i GT is a much better all-around car. Better day-to-day performance, comfort, space, gas mileage. I even think the GT looks great, at least with the M Sport Pkg, blue brakes, 19" wheels and in the right color combo. Speaking of colors, the Coral Red leather looks very sharp. I like to 2-tone color scheme with black elements and aluminum accents. It'd look awful with wood trim, in my opinion.

Surprisingly, I've had as many car guys stop me and ask about the car and compliment it as used to with my M3.

Lastly, compared to a 5-Series... I've test driven a 535i before. It's a very large-feeling luxurious car. It just feels BIG in terms of sitting down inside it, the length of the hood, etc. Yet the actual room inside doesn't feel so cavernous. Head height and legroom aren't as good as in the 3GT. Trunk space is probably about the same as in the 3GT hatchback, but it's less usable in my opinion than the hatch. The 535i isn't as fast because it's a lot heavier with same engine, and the 535i gets worse fuel economy.

About the only thing the 5-series does better than the 335i GT is LOOK better. And I agree, the 5-series—especially kitted out with the right packages—looks very sharp indeed. But in the end, a 5-series with all the goodies I'd want would be pushing $80K, or about $20K more than sticker price of the 335i GT that I got. And for what?

I suppose one might have the same rationalization for a 5GT vs. a 7-Series, and I suppose that's the point. But at least the 3GT has better styling vis-a-vis its 3-series roots than the 5GT does vis-a-vis a regular 5-Series.

I was VERY close to buying an Audi S6 or S7 instead before the 3GT came out. I'm glad I didn't. Those cars are sharp-looking and perform terrifically well. But they cost $80K-$90K optioned out well. And they have less room and practicality than the 3GT, too. Only an Audi A8/S8 is noticeably more roomy, and I test drove an S8. While it was kind of fun, it also felt very BIG, too big.

Audi would do well to follow in BMW's footsteps and come out with some 3GT-like take on its A4/S4. Like a lot of people, I think, I'm not the least bit interested in a truck (SUV) or an SUV-trying-to-act-like-a-sports-coupe (a.k.a. BMW X4, X6), which neither has the utility of an SUV or the driving chops of any regular car.
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  #5  
Old 11-13-2013, 01:06 PM
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Capobranco Capobranco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smalldog View Post
.....Compared to the E92 M3, the 335i GT is a much better all-around car. .....
Congrats! Very sharp color combo!

As to a 335i GT being a being a "much better all around car"....well...to each his own....it really depends on one's priorities.
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  #6  
Old 11-13-2013, 02:17 PM
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beden1 beden1 is offline
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The OP only lists having a 2000 328i?

I'm glad you like your new 335i GT, but comparing it to an M3 is a stretch.

I was at my local BMW dealership yesterday having our winter sets of wheels/tires installed on our BMWs. I had some time to look at a new 335i GT. I thought it was a very nice vehicle but felt the rear storage is too narrow to be practical. It did have decent rear legroom, however. I was excited with the anticipation of seeing the 3 Series GT, but after doing so, it's nice but not for me. It does not offer enough storage as compared to my Tahoe.
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Last edited by beden1; 11-15-2013 at 12:11 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-13-2013, 05:06 PM
smalldog smalldog is offline
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Honest, I'm not trying to diss the M3. I bought one, didn't I? I probably would have been a lot happier with an M3 Sedan or even an M3 Coupe vs. the M3 Convertible that I had. Either one would have been more comfortable inside, lighter, more rigid, and better performing. I also would have been a lot happier if my M3 had had the 6-speed manual transmission. I really did not like the M-DCT and feel it ruined the experience for me. It was neither fun and involving like a manual nor smooth and comfortable like an automatic. It was probably only truly better on a race track, which I never did with my M3.

I'd have been VERY interested in a new 2014 M3 Sedan, but alas, the timing of my prior lease expiration forced me to get a new car before the new M3 is announced, much less is available. The new M3 will probably address most of my gripes about the old M3... Namely it will have a turbo 6 that will have much more usable low-end power and that will get better fuel economy too. It will have all the F30 platform improvements, namely more space, while lacking what people don't like about the F30, namely its softer suspension, steering, etc. The new M3 will also, of course, be available with high-end optional interior leathers and cool finish touches, which I am all about.

But, for someone like me, who has a wife and child and who has to occasionally drive clients around in my car, the 3GT body style is really a game changer. It gives me just about everything I've always liked about a 3-Series (and this is my 4th 3-Series car since 2000, so I think I've earned the right to have a say...) while having literally all the utility of a 5-Series-in fact, more utility-or even an X3, truth be told-while paying less.

If BMW saw fit to offer an M3 GT, well, then I'd be happy to pay $80K for that immediately. BMW, please consider this my formal request to do so.
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  #8  
Old 11-13-2013, 06:32 PM
davidc1 davidc1 is offline
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Ditto on M3 GT.
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2013, 09:35 PM
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GTitis2013 GTitis2013 is offline
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Congrats! Great review.

We're similarly happy with our 335 GT (except an issue with the pdc sensors, which is unlikely F34 specific).

We also feel that the 3GT package seems very well thought through. It doesn't have many weaknesses. I drove an F10 for about 6 weeks and recently for 1 day as a loaner and also came to the conclusion that it doesn't have much more usable space (if any) than the 3GT; rear seating space certainly is more cramped in the F10. In comparison it trumps the F34 in areas such as quality/comfort of the seats, interior materials, sound insulation and overall driving comfort. But it feels much bigger and driving is less involving and there is a significant price difference for a similarly equipped car.

I think the 3GT complements the line-up well. It will probably stay somewhat of a niche car though. If you like the design (I love it) it makes a lot of sense as a family car.
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2013, 09:38 PM
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GTitis2013 GTitis2013 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidc1 View Post
Ditto on M3 GT.
That's really unlikely. Even more unlikely than a 4GC M, which would be the replacement for my S4 if it became available.
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2013, 10:09 PM
m8o m8o is offline
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I'd be interested in knowing your avg. MPG after a few thousand miles are on the odo.
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  #12  
Old 11-14-2013, 11:08 AM
U_LIV_1_X U_LIV_1_X is offline
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smalldog: Congrats, really beautiful car
since you are in the audi too, wondering if you drove the S5 ?
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  #13  
Old 11-14-2013, 12:37 PM
EC7 EC7 is offline
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That is a great looking 3GT, in particular due to the optional 19" and exterior color. The larger set of wheels balances the proportions of the car, thus preventing it from looking awkward.

I think anyone considering the 3GT should get this 19" wheel option.
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  #14  
Old 11-14-2013, 02:54 PM
ebloom ebloom is online now
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Quote:
I'd be interested in knowing your avg. MPG after a few thousand miles are on the odo.
335GT Lux Line ... 27.5 MPG in a bit over 3000 miles. Mostly highway miles, only had it a little more than a month.
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Old 11-15-2013, 07:31 AM
m8o m8o is offline
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335GT Lux Line ... 27.5 MPG in a bit over 3000 miles. Mostly highway miles, only had it a little more than a month.
that's pretty amazing. thanx.
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  #16  
Old 11-15-2013, 07:54 AM
gstnewman67 gstnewman67 is offline
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Originally Posted by EC7 View Post
That is a great looking 3GT, in particular due to the optional 19" and exterior color. The larger set of wheels balances the proportions of the car, thus preventing it from looking awkward.

I think anyone considering the 3GT should get this 19" wheel option.
After reading your comment I compared a picture of my 18" equipped 3GT Sport Line to the 19" wheels. I hate to admit it but there is a difference, the 19"s look better.
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  #17  
Old 11-15-2013, 08:22 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beden1 View Post
The OP only lists having a 2000 328i?

I'm glad you like your new 335i GT, but comparing it to an M3 is a stretch.

I was at my local BMW dealership yesterday having our winter sets of wheels/tires installed on our BMWs. I had some time to look at a new 335i GT. I thought it was a very nice vehicle but felt the rear storage is too narrow to be practical. It did have decent rear legroom, however. I was excited with the anticipation of seeing the 3 Series GT, but after doing so, it's nice but not for me. I guess I don't get what it's trying to be?
Keep in mind he's talking about an M3 E93 which weighs over 4100 pounds. Quite a different animal from an M3 E92 at 3700 pounds.
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:02 AM
PhilH PhilH is offline
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Thanks for the nice write up. Great comparison with other BMWs you've owned and the S4, which I can relate to.

The 335GT is a real candidate to replace my wife's aging X3. I like the fact the GT is offered with the 6 cylinder engine, which you can't get in the F31 wagon.
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  #19  
Old 11-15-2013, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
Keep in mind he's talking about an M3 E93 which weighs over 4100 pounds. Quite a different animal from an M3 E92 at 3700 pounds.
Our E90 M3 (sedan) is listed at 3,726 lbs. (curb weight). 400 lbs. difference is something you can definitely feel in the seat of your pants. I had an E93 M3 and it felt very heavy.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:50 PM
johnnymacgk johnnymacgk is offline
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Thanks for the great review - can't wait to get mine (currently sitting at exit port).
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  #21  
Old 11-17-2013, 05:38 PM
smalldog smalldog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U_LIV_1_X View Post
smalldog: Congrats, really beautiful car
since you are in the audi too, wondering if you drove the S5 ?
Yes, I did drive the S5, and yes, it was on my short list. After the test drive (S5 with manual transmission, standard (sport, non-adjustable suspension)), my words were "it's perfect". That is, I really, really liked it better than any other car I'd driven—from a driver's perspective. It was smooth, sporty, exciting, luxurious, and very good looking. Also get's decent fuel economy an has the nice big glass moonroof reminiscent again of the Porsche Targa. Price, too, was good... about $60K loaded up with all the options I'd want.

Problem is, it's another 2-door coupe that just isn't practical for having a rear-seat passenger. I have an 8-year-old child who can no longer comfortably get in and out of a cramped rear seat, and certainly it's no go for driving around clients (I'm a Realtor) when they are a couple. So I had to rule it out.

An S4 is pretty much the same thing as an S5 with 4 doors, but it seemed silly for me and my wife to drive two S4s.

In the end, I'm pleased with the BMW 335i GT in terms of a good compromise overall. I'd still enjoy an S5 or, maybe, a BMW 435i (though I haven't tried one yet, or even sat inside one for that matter). But that would only be if it were a second car for fun. And in that case, truth be told, I'd probably be considering a Porsche Cayman.
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  #22  
Old 11-17-2013, 05:46 PM
smalldog smalldog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gstnewman67 View Post
After reading your comment I compared a picture of my 18" equipped 3GT Sport Line to the 19" wheels. I hate to admit it but there is a difference, the 19"s look better.

Yes, the GT looks awkward with anything other than the 19" wheels and M Sport pkg, in my opinion. It's not just the wheels, the front and rear facias (bummers, I suppose) just don't cut it for me on anything other than the M Sport trim.

Colors, too, are critical with this car. I've seen several of them in blacks and dark grays, which I just don't think suit this car. Silver and white look best, in my opinion, on this car. I considered Estoril Blue, too, which I think would be nice. But then interior color also played into it... Black interior is just too much black. Beige is boring. Wood trim is out of character. So only striking two-tone color combo was coral red. I nearly ordered Estoril Blue with Coral Red ("superman"), but then got scared of it being too gaudy.

White would have been nice, too, with the same red interior. But my last BMW (M3) was white with red interior, so I guess I just picked Silver because it was a bit different from my last car, it also goes nice with Silver, and the pics of the M Sport model from BMW all showed it in silver, which looked really good. I suppose I'm also an Ohio State Buckeye fan, too, so what the hell!?
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  #23  
Old 11-18-2013, 10:55 PM
g530 g530 is offline
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Congrats OP and an excellent review. I am in total agreement with you. My wife has the F30 328i which we love it due to the efficiency of the power plant and its power to weight ratio. It is also comfortable, nimble and has great mpg. The F30 335i sedan would be rocket-like, but would lack the rear seat room needed for a family car. Hence the 335i GT would offer the best of all worlds for a growing family: much lighter than the F10. Motor Trend review stated it has rear seat room of a 5 and leg room of a 7 at the price of a 3. I already mentioned the weight advantage. Didn't like the styling initially, but with the right color combo, M package wheels & suspension as you said. I am willing to sacrifice F30 335i sedan for my growing family. This is an ultimate family hauler and currently our first choice.

Last edited by g530; 11-18-2013 at 10:57 PM.
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  #24  
Old 11-19-2013, 09:16 AM
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chris328 chris328 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smalldog View Post

In daily driving, IT FEELS FASTER THAN THE M3. That is, it squirts around in traffic more effortlessly and accelerates better off the line and from normal speeds. I can feel this obviously because of the better torque of the turbo six engine vs. the naturally-aspirated V8 in the M3, which had a manic-depressive personality, in my opinion. The E9x M3 really didn't come alive unless you revved it in the 4000s or higher, but the 335i accelerates nicely from 1500-2500rpms.
i always felt this way about the N55.
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  #25  
Old 11-19-2013, 03:01 PM
EC7 EC7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g530 View Post
This is an ultimate family hauler and currently our first choice.
Speaking of family hauler, is the back seat raised high enough thus making it easier to get a baby/toddler/child in and out of its car seat?

I still have not had a chance to check this car out in person.
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