2008 BMW 335i Sedan Review

It’s good to be the king….

By Brendan Moore


A new 2008 BMW 335i 4-door recently stayed with me for a week and I cannot recall a more wonderful guest.

BMW’s new 3-Series sedan is of course better all round than the previous iteration, and also has a great new engine – an intercooled, direct injection and turbocharged inline six-cylinder that boots out a wonderful and creamy 300 HP. The car is also better-looking than the last 3-Series, which means it’s now far and away the best-looking vehicle in the BMW lineup. Of course, it must be said that a lot of the credit for that distinction must go to the fact that a lot of the current BMW line is considerably challenged in the looks department, but that is another article for another day.

My test car was equipped with some nice options, most notably the navigation system with iDrive, which drove up the base price of $39,300.00 USD a fair amount. Let’s start at the beginning with a quick overview of what you get before the options are piled on.

Performance and efficiency
3.0-liter dual overhead cam (DOHC), 24-valve inline turbocharged 300-horsepower 6-cylinder engine with twin-turbo technology, piezo direct injection, and Double-VANOS steplessly variable valve timing Electronic throttle control
6-speed manual transmission
EPA Fuel mileage ratings are 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway

Handling, ride and braking
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), including Brake Fade Compensation, Start-off Assistant, Brake Drying, and Brake Stand-by features, with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) Extensive aluminum componentry, including front suspension components (forged-aluminum lower arms, steering knuckle); subframe; steering rack; and brake components
Double-pivot type front suspension with dual forged-aluminum lower arms 5-link rear suspension with cast-aluminum upper transverse arms
Front and rear anti-roll (stabilizer) bars Twin-tube gas-pressure shock absorbers
4-wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes with Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) Engine-speed-sensitive, variable-assist power steering

17 x 8.0 Star Spoke (Style 159) light alloy wheels, 225/45R-17 run-flat1 all-season tires Tire Pressure Monitor
Xenon Adaptive Headlights with auto-leveling Halogen free-form front foglights
Heated dual power mirrors and heated windshield washer jets Chrome-plated exhaust tips

Interior seating
8-way power front seats with 2-way manual headrests and driver memory with 2 pre-sets for exterior mirror and seat positions Leatherette upholstery
3-spoke leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth® phone controls Front seatback storage nets
Dark Burl Walnut Wood interior trim

Audio system
Logic7 Surround Sound anti-theft AM/FM stereo CD/MP3 player audio system with 13 upgraded speakers (including 2 subwoofers), Digital Sound Processing (DSP), Radio Data System (RDS), Auto-Store and 3-channel FM diversity antenna; displays MP3 song title and artist Auxiliary audio input for portable music players
Pre-wiring for BMW center installation of 6-disc CD/MP3 changer

Comfort and convenience
Engine Start/Stop button Advanced Vehicle & Key Memory includes climate-control temperature and air-distribution settings, exterior mirror and power seat settings, audio tone settings and radio pre-sets with optional Navigation system, central-locking preferences, and lighting preferences
Automatic climate control includes micro-filter, automatic air recirculation, left/right temperature control, temperature- and volume-controlled rear outlets, windshield misting sensor, MAX A/C function, heat at rest, more powerful fan, and recall of individual user settings 2-way power glass moonroof with “one-touch” operation, sliding interior sunshade, and wind deflector
Front-seat center armrest with climate-controlled storage compartment Front passenger cupholders (dashboard-integrated)
Rear-seat center armrest with cupholders Tilt/telescopic steering wheel column
Power front and rear windows with “one-touch” up/down operation Dynamic Cruise Control
BMW Ambiance Lighting front and rear Courtesy lights include fade in/fade out, actuation from remote, automatic switch-on when engine is turned off, separately controlled left/right front and rear reading lights, front footwell lighting, and illuminated vanity mirrors
Ground-illuminating lights in door handles Locking glovebox
Electric interior trunk release Rain-sensing windshield wipers and Automatic headlight control
Pre-wiring for BMW center installation of mobile phone, alarm system

Instrumentation and controls
Service Interval Indicator with miles-to-service readout Check Control vehicle monitor system with pictogram display, oil status display, and Condition Based Service indicator
On-board computer with Check Control provides feedback on the vehicle’s operating status: oil level indicator and distance to next service appointment/oil change, as well as other detailed information, such as spark plug and micro-filter status. It also provides travel information travel range on remaining fuel, external temperature and more

Safety and security
Anti-lock braking system (ABS) Adaptive Brake Lights
BMW’s Advanced Safety System for integrated deployment of passive and active safety features Front and rear Head Protection System (HPS)
Driver’s and passenger’s front airbag supplemental restraint system (SRS) with advanced technology: dual-threshold, dual-stage deployment; and front-passenger seat sensors designed to prevent unnecessary airbag deployment Seat-mounted front side-impact airbags
Automatic safety belt pretensioners at front and rear outboard seating positions Front passenger seat-occupation recognition with Passenger’s Airbag Off indicator
Interlocking door anchoring system to help protect against door intrusion in side impacts Central locking system with center console switch (leaves gas filler door unlocked), double-lock feature and 2-step unlocking
Coded Driveaway Protection Automatic-locking retractors (ALR) on all passenger safety belts for installation of child-restraint seat
LATCH attachments on child-restraint safety installation Crash sensor that automatically turns on hazard lights and interior lights, and unlocks doors
Programmable Daytime Running Lights Fiber-optics-based MOST-Bus architecture for safety systems

Add the previously-mentioned navigation/i-Drive package at $2100 and the Premium Package at $3350, and the car was at $44,750. Which ain’t cheap, but there is a lot of goodness in the car at that price.

How much goodness?

As usual with a 3-Series, the car is an absolute delight to drive. Whether you’re motoring along in traffic, blasting down the straights or carving up corners, you feel at one with car. The BMW 3-Series doesn’t make it on everyone’s “BEST” list year after year without having a lot of performance chops. It’s so smooth, and so confident, and is able to sprinkle the same pixie dust on the driver of a 3-Series.

Which is why the car engenders such slavish devotion to it.

There are competing cars that are faster in some aspect of performance criteria and there are cars that are more attractive. There is even one competitor that enjoys both of those attributes simultaneously, the excellent Infiniti G37. But no segment competitor can match the overall blend of handling, performance, road feel, looks, luxury, etc. that is the 3-Series.

The car is not perfect; it has some annoyances. I don’t like the BMW i-Drive system, never have, even though it’s much better than in previous models. The interior is very well done, but it is a bit austere for a car costing this much. In that same vein, the sound system that’s standard could use a bit more performance, polish and flash.

This is where BMW fans jump in and say, “the money went into performance, not things that are of secondary importance”. Fair enough, but the 3-Series competes in a tough segment and BMW needs to meet as many desires as possible in this segment or risk losing some buyers along the way.

Alll in all, though, the best will triumph, and this is a case of that adage holding true. The BMW 3-Series is still the king in its market segment, despite the herculean efforts of some would-be usurpers. It is the car to have in this particular sandbox and the one that all the others aspire to be.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at .

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  1. More mindless praise for the BMW brand. An honest and unbiased critique would result in the emperor (king) having no clothes. You auto writers just can’t get enough of that BMW kool-aid, can you?

  2. It ain’t bragging if you can back it up, son. Don’t be hatin’ on the 3er just because it’s so good.

  3. I disagree that the current 3 looks better than the previous 3, especially the coupe. I disagree even more strenuously that the Infiniti G37 looks better than the 3.

    As much as I hate the reign of design terror initiated by Chris Bangle, I think the Nissan/Infiniti designers have lost their minds with their latest offerings.

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