With the top up, the driving experience was unlike any convertible I’ve driven before. The view wasn’t blocked as much and the road noise was more consistent with a genuine coupe compared to an actual convertible. It hits expansion strips on bridges and gaps in the road with a thud with zero cowl shake. You can’t really hear the exhaust of this sweet inline-6 N55 until you put the top down, which is a pity because it sounds great.
The seating position was easy to perfect with the power adjustable seats which contain a side impact bag and seatbelts. The M-Sport steering wheel with the optional sport shift paddles were perfect. God, I love hydraulic steering. I hate that the trend is to get rid of it. With the paddle shifts, it was easy to change gear the way you wanted to, when you wanted to. Just looked it once and I was good to go. This is so unlike the cumbersome thumb push button wheel shifter that Porsche does the PDK on their cars. The last PDK I drove was a 2012 911S and I found it annoying and even counterintuitive. Porsche does offer paddle shifters but you loose the multifunction steering wheel. Not so with the BMW models where you can have your multifunction wheel and keep your shifter paddles.
The acceleration was impressive with the 335i’s early onset thrust from the 300 ft-lbs of torque from a ridiculously low 1,200 rpm pulling hard all the way to 5,000 rpm. The tip into the throttle to rapid acceleration is simply awesome. Only occasionally would I hear the turbo spool up when something would reflect the sound back. Though this six speed automatic is one of the oldest in BMW’s lineup, it shifts rapidly and crisply and complements the car well. I found myself some what apprehensive while modulating the throttle when approaching the handling limits. I realized this during a series of my favorite clover leaf interchanges that I take over and over. I just think the nature of a turbo motor makes it more difficult to throttle steer than a naturally aspirated screaming V8.
Brakes were very stout hauling the 4,000 lbs down quickly allowing me to go deeper and deeper with confidence in the clover leaf. Powering out the corner I did notice some body rolling motion, that I’d prefer not have existed but absolutely no cowl shake or flex that I could sense. I don’t think a little body roll on extreme cornering a bad thing since otherwise it has a great solid ride. If this were the M3 convertible, it might be unforgivable, but this is aimed at those who enjoy a sporting solid BMW feel whom I doubt have little intention of going to the track. I could easily see this being someones year round, daily driver car.
Criticisms? Not many, but I would point out that in a killer looking interior of the 335i convertible, the “1999 era” Steptronic gearshift looks out of place. The sleek new DCT gearshift used in the 335is model looks much much better and is used in other BMW’s that are automatics, such as the X5. However, with the fantastic M steering wheel and mounted paddle shifters, I quickly forgot about it.
And being a typical German car, the cup holders SUCK. They may as well call them Starbucks coffee flingers with those big fulcrum arms amplifying the cars motions.
And then there’s the 4,000lbs. There’s just something spooky when you look at a 4,000lb weight listed on this car when the E30 325 Convertible was less than 3,000lbs per E30world.com. On paper and in theory it bothered me more than driving it. I just cant figure out how BMW makes these cars handle so well with all that weight, but they do time and time again.