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BMW 335xi review

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I got my new car at the beginning of November, it’s one of the first 2008s to come on the line in Munich. Here’s some of my thoughts on this vehicle. I got the lighter blue (monaco) outside, light tan and walnut interior, and premium, winter, as well as HD radio, USB/iPod and satellite radio packages.

Pros:

  • It’s fast, and handles like it’s on rails. Acceleration is smooth and powerful. Shifting pretty good.
  • With the packages and accessories I bought, this car is not lacking for gadgets. I just wish I knew how to use them all.
  • There is no difference in suspension and handling between the sport and non-sport package, only the seats, steering wheel and wheels look different. Specifically, I was not able to get the high-spoke-count wheels on the sport package, so opted for the non-sport package.

Cons:

  • The headrest on the “non-sport” package is somewhat uncomfortable. I like the seats with the adjustable “opening” on the sport package, so wish I had been able to mix and match.
  • There is no spare, no room for spare.
  • Run flat tires are expensive. There is only one winter run-flat tire for this model. Only two places in town will put run-flats on a car (Discount, BMW)
  • Winter tires are not nearly as good as the Michelin Arctic Alpins I had on my Audi.
  • Many of the gadgets are fairly counter-intuitive. Cases in point: The cruise control is fairly difficult to use, seat programming and door unlocking dismally documented, programming the garage remote borders on impossible.

By Dave

He was born in Canada, but currently lives in Boulder, CO up in Boulder Heights.

5 replies on “BMW 335xi review”

Hi, I own a 2006 325xi. I didn’t learn one thing from your review. Not to mention, gain any insight on the car’s performance, all wheel drive capabilities, etc. If programming the garage door and operating the cruise control are tough for you, I suggest going with another brand. Ridiculous how these type of things are being discussed more than the WAY THE CAR DRIVES!!

Sam Yazdani:

Fair comment. I’ve only driven it for a bit, so I’ll update the review (or comment like this) as I learn more about how it drives. I’m predominantly a gadget guy, more than a serious driver, so most of my reviews will be gadget-centric.

Interim comments, after a bit of snow driving: The AWD system and/or the tires are nowhere near as good in the snow as my Audi A4 2002 quattro with Arctic Alpin snow tires. Due to the run-flat tires, you can only buy limited types (Blizzak) and brands (Bridgestone) of winter tires unless you forego the run-flat, which is sketchy with no spare. What do I mean? I’m far closer to losing the road at the same speed and under the same conditions as the Audi. There are a lot of steep, icy and snowy winter roads around my house, so this might be a major problem. I have used the Hill Descent assist (HDC) feature many times which works very well, apart from the weird controls of the speed of the descent (uses cruise controls in an almost random manner, not the same as the highway cruise control).

For dry driving, the gearing is a little “high” for my taste, meaning 3rd gear won’t redline until 90 MPH. I almost NEVER get to use 6th gear, as I have a mountain drive into and out of the foothills to work every day. For the week I drove with the stock “summer” tires, handling was awesome, and way better than the Audi. The corners are stiff, and it never seemed to lose traction even on violent cornering at high speed. This is a little dangerous, as a friend pointed out, as it means that there will be an extreme loss of traction at some speed, which will go down as the tires wear down, so I need to be fairly cautious. Brakes are awesome and powerful, and provide for quick stopping on dry and wet pavement (of course, not icy).

It’s a noisy car on the outside, not so bad on the inside. Road noise with the winter tires is quite noticeable on certain surfaces.

I’m considering the Dinan upgrade to 384 HP. What a huge surprise when I found out that there is a fundamental and costly difference between the sport and non-sport package: The sport has a higher governor (limiter), and critical for me, an additional air-oil cooler in the right front wheel well. So this means, to upgrade my vehicle, I’ll have to add a $2K oil cooler (or plead with BMW to install one, this has worked for others) and a $2K upgrade to the ECM.

The radio has inexplicably “crashed” a few times, cycling on and off, sometimes emitting weird clicking noises on every channel. I’ll need to bring it in for service on this.

While I replaced the tires with winter tires, I had the headlights aimed up a little, because the auto-aiming was quite low from the factory, and provided no more than 50 feet of visibility. Now I have the other problem, which is that I’m constantly flashed by oncoming traffic for having my high-beams on, which I don’t. Not sure I can fix this, as the headlight bump to the right is aimed to “just” hit the license plate of a car I’m following 150-200 feet behind.

I’m in the process of installing a cell-phone repeater in the car. I have very poor coverage (read: none) on the way down the hill, so I need to get better coverage to make more of my 40 minute/day commute and the Bluetooth features of my phone. The car has a built-in AMPLIFIER, but requires connection to an RF connector through a cradle provided by BMW. My Blackberry 8310 does not have an RF connector on the back, to my knowledge, so I cannot avail myself of this feature. I may choose to simply buy a third phone which is permanently fixed into the car, but for now I’m installing the zBoost YX200.

Hope this helps, Sam

I hope I Don’t offend anyone with this. The garage door and the the cruise control? Were your high school classes of below average size, possible carpeted? Was your school bus shorter than the rest? Were you in special ED? What I mean to say is, you don’t even deserve to drive this car! For the record this car is awesome!!! Everyone who drives this car loves it. That is, unless your pulse is hard to find. Its reviews like this that solidify how skeptical you must be with someone else’s review.

Nick:

I’m not a fan-boy for BMW, but I do like the car. I’m not sure why I’m stupid if I don’t love every aspect of the car I drive. As to other reviews, I had not read any when I wrote my review, so I had no reason to be either skeptical or otherwise prejudge the car. The other AWD cars I was considering (for a tall guy) were:

  • Audi A4 quattro
  • Lexus Hybrid SUV
  • Volkswagen Passat AWD

After driving the BMW, it was clear this was the car I wanted. It definitely has the “wow” factor the others were lacking, and with the Costco discount, the overall pricetag was fairly reasonable for a performance vehicle.

In any event, I’ve been driving the car for almost a year. I’ve even tried a loaner 328xi and there’s no comparison (it was like being put into a Ford Escort).

Here’s the pros:

  1. Handles great on dry, pretty good on wet.
  2. Acceleration and power are awesome.
  3. Great fun to drive.

Here’s the cons:

  1. Handles poorly on snow and ice. (compared to Audi A4 quattro). I mean REALLY poorly, and my road is a good test in the winter.
  2. Radio (second one) crashes in cold conditions (reboots about 10 times). BMW has been unable to diagnose or fix this.

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