Long-term Update: BMW 335i M-PE Power Kit
Power kit on – now what?
It has been close to nine months since the BMW 335i Performance Edition joined our fleet at RPM TV headquarters, and to say that its been a pleasure is to underplay it greatly. Simply put, the 335i has been near perfect.
As we’ve said in the previous updates its appetite to eat up the kilometres on long journeys, coupled with the ability to turn that cruiser into a hotrod is incredible. It also has four doors for practicality (although a station wagon would have been better) and the slick Laguna Seca Blue paint job and Performance Edition black and carbon bits make it look super cool (for which the station wagon would not have been better).
But we wanted to see if the 3 Series had any more to give, if it was given the chance. We know that at the most basic level, it shares an engine with the new M3 where it produces 317 kW, quite a few kilowatts more than the 335i’s 225 kW.
BMW has a solution to this called the Power Kit. It forms part of its BMW Performance Parts, where you can purchase items such as a Shorte Shift Kit, Brake Kit, Air Intake Kit and our weapon of choice, the Power Kit.
It can be fitted to either the 135i or 335i on the petrol side, or the 120d and 320d on the diesel side, giving each model a little more power to play with. On the petrol side the turbocharged 3,0-litre straight six engine gains an additional 15 kW and 30 Nm (50 Nm if its an automatic) of torque for a total output of 240 kW and 430 (450) Nm of torque.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine gains a similar 15 kW and 40 Nm of torque, for a total of 145 kW and 390 Nm of torque if you bring them a 120d or 320d.
Our 335i has the eight-speed automatic gearbox so it received the full 50 Nm upgrade, but quoting numbers on a spec sheet is one thing – can you actually feel the difference?
Oh yes, very much so!
Under normal operation the car feels as it always has. Easy going with effortless acceleration and no hint that anything has changed. Fuel economy is also not affected with the Power Kit, which makes no sense until you realise that the changes to the engine management only take effect at higher revs or when you whack the accelerator.
That is the great part of this power upgrade; it doesn’t cost you anything in terms of everyday fuel economy.
But if you do flatten the accelerator and push the engine, there is a different sort of surge of power that occurs. Previously the 335i PE was quick to respond to these inputs, but I felt that it didn’t quite have that roaring lion feel to it. Now it’s surpassed a lion and has gone straight to a chimera, which is fitting because there is bite waiting for you if you don’t respect the upgrades.
I was quite used to how the BMW built its power and at what point the rear wheels were about to be overpowered by the engine, but with the Power Kit it’s back to school because that has all changed. The rear wheels are no match for the extra 50 Nm of torque which is available in full from 1 500 rpm, causing the traction control to jump in far more often if you have a heavy right foot foot off the line.
There is also a bigger shove of power as you change gears which plays havoc with the car’s balance if you are not used to it.
These might sound like negatives but in reality they show that the Power Kit is actually able to transform the 335i into a different car. It looks the same and feels the same when you’re not trying but I now know that there is something a little more special under that blue bonnet.
Since we got the Beemer I felt that it could have done with just a shot of more lunacy, and the Power Kit serves that up in a pitcher, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just enough to engage you, and unlike the M3 it doesn’t get in the way of driving normally.
At R15 670 it’s more than R1 000 per kiloWatt, but if you feel that your 335i or 135i is just falling short or maybe starting to feel boring, its well worth the investment.