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      06-27-2013, 12:27 PM   #1
Desert_Fox
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Did BMW screw-up by offering the 335i?

First off, I do NOT mean to offend anyone or start a flame war by this question. I also do not mean to come off as ignorant if anything I say is incorrect, im just going off of what I have seen personally on here and on the road. I also apologize as I realize this has been talked about before, I just couldn't find a recent thread and wanted to see current opinions on this.

I've wondered with my friends and other enthusiasts about the contrast between the 335i and M3. I will never argue the 335i is the better driver's car against the M3. However, do any of you think perhaps BMW screwed up by offering a Turbo'd I6 with the top of the line 3 series, and putting in a V8 for the M3? Personally, I have heard of so many people opting for the 335i even if the M3 was in their budget within this generation. This seems like the first 3 series that has ever done that, I can't imagine anyone choosing the 330ci ZHP over an e46 m3, or an e30 325i over an e30 M3. The 335i is more easily tunable, and it seems like a $500-$700 investment will allow the 335i to overtake the M3 in strict terms of acceleration and speed. Granted it's still going to lack in terms of handling, but it seems with a fair investment you can fix that as well. Why is it then that BMW would offer a little brother that can be somewhat cheaply modified to overtake its brother, they must be smart enough to see that.

I personally don't think it'll be until the F82 M3 that anybody will have a reason to buy a 335i if budget isn't a large concern but performance is. It almost reminds of the debate on why Porsche released the Cayman, an arguably better car than the 911 at a cheaper price point. It seems silly to allow their premier car to have its sales cannibalized in some form.

When I say these things I have the e90 and e92 in mind. When I think about the convertibles, e93, then I really don't understand why someone would buy the M3. The whole advantage of the M3 is it's track ready features and handling, but the e93 by nature is a cruiser and sometimes can't even be raced on the track. I could have upped my budget a bit and ordered an e93 M3 instead of the 335is, but for everything the convertible does, the n54 seemed like the better motor. The torque is just so intense and for a car that is designated for the streets, it seems much more useful to have.

What do you guys think?
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Last edited by Desert_Fox; 06-27-2013 at 12:49 PM.
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      06-27-2013, 12:57 PM   #2
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You have to cannibalize yourself, otherwise, somebody else will do it. If it weren't the 335i, it would have been the G37 or an AMG or something else that competes with the 335i.
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      06-27-2013, 02:01 PM   #3
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I have both the 335i and M3, also had a 328i before all in the e9x family. I can say they are completely different cars. The 335 is a great daily, plenty of torque low in the rpm range, easily modified to silly performance figures but the turbo engine just isn't as smooth as a N/A engine nor does the 6at box shift the way m-dct does (if manual it may be a different story and I don't have a 335is so i can't comment on how the regular DCT shifts). For the price of the 335i/is, there isn't any other cars that will perform better.

As for the M3, the moment you start it up it just sounds and feels different from the 335. I must admit, at normal city speeds it felt very similar to my old 328; however, once you press the "m" button OR rev the engine past 4000rpm, it just turns into a whole different animal. I also really like the EDC feature being able to switch between comfort, normal, and sport.

In the 335 revving past 5000rpm almost seem pointless as it drops out of the peak torque range. The M3 just keeps feeling more and more powerful all the way to 8000rpm. The first few weeks/months of driving I would shift and end up realizing i still had another 1000rpm to go and when I started to take advantage of the entire rpm range, no words can describe it (this is one thing that each individual driver have to feel to know it).

So at the end of the day, I use to think exactly like the OP that the 335i/is is the better all round performer than the M3, but after one test drive in the M3, I immediately put a deposit down and I just had to have it. I was COMPLETELY wrong in thinking that 335i > M3.

To the OP, I would suggest you to drive the 335i/is and M3 back to back on city roads and highway. On paper, the performance figure isn't all that different but it real life, BMW did not make a mistake/screw-up in producing two amazing cars in the 3-series range but they created two completely different cars to cater to different drivers.
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      06-27-2013, 02:05 PM   #4
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Simple...

because some people still do prefer a NA engine over a FI induction engine (myself included).

if I had the money to choose between a 335i or an M3, I go M3 all day everyday. So what if a 335i with small mod can take me.

If I can afford an M3, I can not only afford the gas and, reasonably speaking, I can afford the mods to it to make it go even faster. This is of course I am going in with the mind set to mod the car.
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      06-27-2013, 03:10 PM   #5
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I can't find the source anymore but I read that cayman s and base 911 have completely different customer segments. Cayman s buyer is more about performance and base 911 buyer wants the prestige. not much cannibalization

My initial reaction is that if people said M3 was in budget and they ended up with 335 then the M3 wasn't really in budget
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      06-27-2013, 10:29 PM   #6
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When i buy a car, i like the idea of there being a lot of untapped potential beyond what I get stock. Sure you can supercharge (or soon twin turbo) an M3 for $$$$ but I like being able to add a little bit at a time and see meaningful results. It keeps things interesting.
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      06-27-2013, 11:42 PM   #7
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What a lot of people don't understand is that there is a lot more to a car then straight line speed, you can modify a civi to be faster then a Carrera S, do you really want the civic?

Those that own the M3 understand what they purchased, sales are great, thats all that matters.

Nothing wrong with the 335i I love the car, its just not a M3, own one and you will understand.
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      06-27-2013, 11:54 PM   #8
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The tuner/enthusiast community is a small population compared to the overall community of people who buy BMW. Those who are not enthusiast buys the car as is and do not tune the car to what they like. That is why there is the M division and AMG because they come stock to the general community and it's to their liking.
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      06-28-2013, 11:19 AM   #9
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I agree with what 335beast is saying..for the tuner community, the fact that there is a lot of potential in the 335 puts in question the logic behind the M3 but for somebody like me, who doesn't plan on tuning I like the out of the box performance and handling of the M3...

This is from somebody with both a 335i and M3 in the yard so believe me both cars are definitely amazing and as some have mentionned totally different in their purpose and delivery, which is what makes them both fun!

Either way a car guy or girl is lucky having one or the other of these amazing machines to drive!
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      06-28-2013, 11:25 AM   #10
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The lack of an LSD for cars with the N54/N55 really handicaps them when compared to an M Car, at least for track use. The F8x likely addresses the tuner friendly mods that the N55 cars have seen recently too.
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      06-30-2013, 11:08 AM   #11
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I would just like to point out that the supercharger kits for the M3 put out performance that challenge supercars, so I think the M3 surpasses the 335i in tuning potential.
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      06-30-2013, 11:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1k1ng01
I would just like to point out that the supercharger kits for the M3 put out performance that challenge supercars, so I think the M3 surpasses the 335i in tuning potential.
But isn't that expensive as hell? It takes under a grand to really boost the power in a 335i, how much is this kit?
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      06-30-2013, 01:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keepittrill View Post
But isn't that expensive as hell? It takes under a grand to really boost the power in a 335i, how much is this kit?
over $10k
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      06-30-2013, 02:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keepittrill View Post
But isn't that expensive as hell? It takes under a grand to really boost the power in a 335i, how much is this kit?
Yes, but strictly speaking once you change the conversation of stock unmodded vehicle performance to what you can do once modded everything you do is applicable, in terms of performance. With that logic the I6 in the 335i is pretty much limited to simple chip tuning whereas the V8 doesn't even have forced induction, and is more powerful stock. And if you can spend the money to buy an M3, $10k is really just a drop in the bucket.

That said, my point is that these two cars really aren't comparable because of what they cost and what you can do with them.
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      07-01-2013, 11:41 AM   #15
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Having owned a 335xi and driven many M3s, I can say they are two different cars in 2 different price points.

If I could have afforded the E92 M3 when I bought my E90 335, I would have gone M3.

Loved my 335 & they are cheaper to make fast if that is your goal. When I had the cash to buy the M3, I was no longer shopping for one. I was looking at an E60 M5 or C6 Vette & went with the Vette.
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      07-01-2013, 12:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Bread View Post
The lack of an LSD for cars with the N54/N55 really handicaps them when compared to an M Car, at least for track use. The F8x likely addresses the tuner friendly mods that the N55 cars have seen recently too.
Honestly, that's the only reason I didn't and won't get a 335i.
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      07-01-2013, 01:29 PM   #17
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I bought a brand new 2008 335i and drove it for 10 months/8k miles then I got rid of it to get a 2008 M3. It's completely different car in terms of drivability.

You just can't judge by #s and what paper says.
You need to drive both and see what's more close and deliver what you're looking for.
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      07-01-2013, 02:05 PM   #18
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Intercooler + tune, $800-2000, should put you over crank power of the V8 and lots more torque, still emissions legit in 49 states
LSD $3500 (for a manual)
M3 front control arms, rear subframe bushings, $1200 (ish? I'm not looking this up)
Wheel and tire upgrade $2000-2500
Labor $0-500

With those upgrades, yeah, a 335i or better yet 135i is really in line with a V8 M3 and easily surpassing an E46 on objective terms. But that stuff all adds up quick! #bmwtax
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      07-01-2013, 03:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freon View Post
Intercooler + tune, $800-2000, should put you over crank power of the V8 and lots more torque, still emissions legit in 49 states
LSD $3500 (for a manual)
M3 front control arms, rear subframe bushings, $1200 (ish? I'm not looking this up)
Wheel and tire upgrade $2000-2500
Labor $0-500

With those upgrades, yeah, a 335i or better yet 135i is really in line with a V8 M3 and easily surpassing an E46 on objective terms. But that stuff all adds up quick! #bmwtax
All of which adds absolutely ZERO value to your car. Best option is always to go with the best car you can afford. If you plan on modding, then your best bet is to put that money into getting a better stock car.

Did bmw mess up by offering the 335i... not at all. It was a great success that targeted two different markets.

I'm not really a fan of forced induction and the 335i reliability scares me. Therefore because I couldn't afford an M3 and a 328i just seemed way too underpowered for me, the g37s was a great alternative.

Different strokes for different folks.
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      07-01-2013, 04:11 PM   #20
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My biggest thing that made me go for a new 335xi over a used M3 was AWD. Simply put, if BMW offered their x-drive train in the M3 I would be driving one now. That said, if it wasn't the AWD that made it a make or break factor for me then it probably would be an M3 for me.
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      07-01-2013, 10:36 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1k1ng01 View Post
Yes, but strictly speaking once you change the conversation of stock unmodded vehicle performance to what you can do once modded everything you do is applicable, in terms of performance. With that logic the I6 in the 335i is pretty much limited to simple chip tuning whereas the V8 doesn't even have forced induction, and is more powerful stock. And if you can spend the money to buy an M3, $10k is really just a drop in the bucket.

That said, my point is that these two cars really aren't comparable because of what they cost and what you can do with them.
True.

Here's my 2013 M3 with the ESS VT2 S/C making 5.0 psi racing a full bolt-on n54 335 with an e85 fuel-system conversion making 20+psi. So basically this is one of the fastest stock turbo 335's in the world. Let's see how it stacks up to an M3 with 5psi:



Oh, and the beating would be worse if it was a stock M3 vs stock 335.
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      07-01-2013, 11:55 PM   #22
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