BMW 335i M Performance joins the RPM TV long-term fleet
With the departure of our BMW M135i a while ago, we felt that there was something missing from our long-term fleet; specifically something blue. So we are not only overjoyed that our new BMW 335i long-termer has arrived, but also that it is indeed wrapped in blue.
To be fair, this is not just any old hue of blue, or even the signature electric blue that is so often seen on the latest F30 3-Series. No sir, this is a very particular, very special shade of blue called Laguna Seca Blue – and it can only be specified with the M Performance Edition version of the 3 Series.
Which is exactly what our 335i is: a M Performance Edition 335i.
For an extra R50 000 over and above the R672 900 asking price of the 335i A (Sport) with M Sport pack, our 3 Series comes draped in that unusual shade of blue, and rides on 19-inch wheels with mixed-size tyres.
It also gets M Sport brakes with blue calipers and “M” badges, an M Performance aerodynamic package (front and rear), M Performance sills, an M Performance carbon rear spoiler, M Performance carbon exterior mirror caps and an M Performance grille in black.
The combination of the bold blue coachwork alongside the flat black sills and carbon fibre accents creates a look that is almost as menacing as that of a full-blown M3. However, you’re likely to see more M3s than this car on local roads – BMW has only produced 500 M Performance Editions locally, meaning that the chance of us running into another one on our roads is quite low. So far it hasn’t happened, making us feel very unique indeed!
The 335i might have a nominally similar engine as the M3’s straight six, but it doesn’t come close to the M3’s 317 kW and 550 Nm, coming in at 225 kW and 400 Nm respectively. We have a plan for that shortfall later in the BMW’s life, but we will get to that as we spend more time with the car.
In the meantime, the 335i is actually more usable than the manic M3, which only really feels at home on a track with wide run-offs that allow you to exploit the car’s chassis and engine to the full. For the daily commute and occasional blast of power, the 335i is perfect, as I have discovered driving it back and forth between Johannesburg to Pretoria.
It is not the most frugal of things, as I’ve only managed an average ‘urban runabout’ consumption rate of 13,3 l/100km so far. But with EcoPro mode enabled and a 50/50 spilt between highway and urban driving, I suspect that the current average will come down quite sharply.
More than that, the 335i is just a pleasure to drive on the open road or in traffic, thanks to the amount of space inside the car. It feels as well endowed as a 5-Series in the front, and equally luxurious.
It might not have the break-neck acceleration of our previous, manual-transmission M135i long-termer, or the track-day usability of a M3, but what the 335i does offer is everyday enjoyment, which applies to 98 percent of the time I spend behind the wheel.
It is only just the beginning, but I can see that the 335i M Performance Edition and I are going to get along just fine.