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Test drove the 335is - wow!

Discussion in 'E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006-2011)' started by RBinDC, Aug 1, 2010.

    RBinDC guest

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    As I said, "wow!" It's one hot ride.

    The car seemed significantly faster than the 335i coupes I have driven but it seemed to develop its power in a nonlinear fashion, coming on really strong after about 3000 rpm. It was a bit unnerving for me, perhaps because I was not familiar with the car. I also did a full throttle launch from a standing start with the DCT in automatic mode. The wheels spun just slightly then hooked up. The tach ran right to the redline and the DCT shifted up crisply and decisively. Again a bit unnerving, not knowing whether it would run past redline.

    Maybe I'm just getting old (of course I am) or maybe it is just my unfamiliarity with the car but I can't imagine ever exploiting all this performance in everyday driving. The other negative factor is the exhaust note. This is not a quiet car - even at startup it is loud. Push down on the accelerator at normal highway speed and you get growl at partial throttle; at full throttle it turns into a wild animal snarl. This car has a raw meat side to it, almost approaching nastiness and well on the other side of lawlessness.

    Am I imagining all this? I would like to hear the reaction of others who have driven both the 335is and the 335i.

    I'm just about convinced that I should go with a 335i coupe, maybe with the M package. Still, I have to admit, I really like the DCT. It's the first "automatic" in forty years that I like.
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    bcweir

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    Um you do realize the DCT is not really an automatic transmission don't you?

    DCT = Dual Clutch Transmission. While it's not a true automatic transmission, it's not a true manual either.

    Those who have tried the DCT transmission are much like customers who tried earlier SMG transmissions (easily identified by shift paddles on the steering wheel). It's pretty much an even 50 - 50 split. Some love it, some hate it, only a very few are actually fence-sitting.

    To be fair, one should consider what would happen when this transmission eventually needs to be serviced, overhauled, or even replaced? BMW hasn't shown a tendency to actually service or repair these DCT transmissions, choosing instead to replace them outright, at a cost (to the owner, if out of warranty) at somewhere around $10,000 to $14,000. At that point, you may be faced with the dilemma of whether to keep the car and take the steep hit in the pocketbook, or bail out of the vehicle for another one.

    BMW hasn't exactly had a whole lot of success with traditional automatic transmissions in terms of reliability in the 3-series. Opinions about SMG and DCT transmissions are pretty evenly split.

    Thankfully, the simplest option, and this seems to be the option that again, thankfully, many American BMW enthusiasts arent willing to let go of yet: a traditional, three pedal, manual transmission. These transmissions haven't changed much in their basic functionality, and are still overwhelmingly popular with the diehards in the BMW community. They are also the easiest to repair and replace.

    Just my $20.02

    RBinDC guest

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    The reliability issue crossed my mind. It is hard to beat a manual transmission for longevity. Since 1960 that's all I have owned and never had a problem with a transmission.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    So what am I, chopped liver?!

    I thought we pretty much explained the whole 335is deal in Roundel several months ago. :eek:

    Exhaust? Yes, it's um well er sorta kinda rumbly. I thought that was a GOOD thing!

    Yes, it has a few more ponies than the 335i.

    For longevity, remember that the 335is is still the twin-turbo N54 engine; the N55 single-turbo in the 335i may prove to be less problematic in the long run. . .

    Doesn't anybody read the magazine?!
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    bcweir

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    I'm sorry, were you saying something, Satch?

    We have a magazine????

    RBinDC guest

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    The 335is performance is all out of proportion to a 7 % increase in hp. Not sure why. It seems to have a lot more mid-range torque.

    What's with this N55 engine? I thought all of the 335 models had the twin turbo N54.

    ForcedInduction guest

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    N54 is bi-turbo. N55 is twin scroll single turbo. 2011 135/335 models except the 335is get the N55 engine. The 335is still has the N54 engine as Satch pointed out.
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    az3579

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    It's not a magazine, it's a PERIODICAL!!!

    A snarly exhaust note is a GOOD thing!

    And if it doesn't have a third pedal and has an automatic mode that requires no user interaction to shift, IT'S AN AUTOMATIC, no matter HOW you slice it!!!

    RBinDC guest

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    I didn't know that. The BMWUSA website describes the 2011 335i as powered by "twinturbo power."

    This puts a new wrinkle into the decision. I have only driven the 2010 335i coupe. Typically a single turbo has more lag than twin turbos. Can anyone that has driven an N55 comment on this?

    If the 335is exhaust note was more toned down....
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    bcweir

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    When Round-Earth believers meet Flat-Earth believers, expect pandemonium.

    From dictionary.com

    mag·a·zine
       /ˌmægəˈzin, ˈmægəˌzin/ Show Spelled[mag-uh-zeen, mag-uh-zeen] Show IPA
    -noun
    1.
    a publication that is issued periodically, usually bound in a paper cover, and typically contains essays, stories, poems, etc., by many writers, and often photographs and drawings, frequently specializing in a particular subject or area, as hobbies, news, or sports.


    You must have missed Peter Egan's excellent article on the DCT-equipped Z4 SDrive 3.5. Had you read the article, you would have realized that the DCT is neither a manual transmission, nor is it an automatic transmission. A shame you apparently overlooked it. It was an excellent article, complete with a sub-column technical feature explaining exactly WHAT the DCT is.

    I refer you to the June 2009 Roundel issue, page 60, second to last paragraph:

    Mr. Egan can take some comfort in knowing he wasn't the only one fooled into thinking a DCT was an automatic transmission.

    A DCT isn't the only, or the first transmission to "blur" the line between manuals and automatics. SMG transmissions and CVT transmissions also confuse those boundaries. In fact, a CVT doesn't even have conventional gears, allowing for a near-infinite number of ratios.

    You are of course free to adhere to the antiquated, if inaccurate categories of manual and automatic transmissions. However I should point out that we no longer have to use a metal bar manually cranked under the front radiator to start our vehicles anymore. :D
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    Zeichen311

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    Close: They call it "TwinPower Turbo," which is irritating marketing gobbledygook for "single twin-scroll turbocharger."

    You needn't worry. A twin-scroll turbo effectively is a twin turbo. Instead of having two separate turbochargers each fed by one bank of cylinders, a twin-scroll combines the geometries of two separate turbines (tuned for low and high RPM operation and/or fed by separate cylinder banks) in a single housing to drive a single compressor. The potential advantages include simpler packaging and plumbing, lower manufacturing cost, lower repair cost and (all else being equal) greater reliability because there are fewer parts to fail.

    The N55 also brings Valvetronic (variable valve lift; no throttle butterfly) to the table, pushing the bottom end of the torque plateau even lower (300lb-ft @ 1200rpm vs 1400rpm in the N54). If turbo lag in the N54 could be described as "negligible," in the N55 it is for all practical purposes non-existent.

    BMW stuck with the N54 for the 'is' models because they have more engineering data on that engine with respect to tuning it for higher output.
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    granthr

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    Remember loud exhausts are for safety. :D I don't even have a muffler on my 318i, which believe it or not is quieter than my 325ix with a B&B exhaust! :cool:
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    az3579

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    From dictionary.com

    pe·ri·od·i·cal   /ˌpɪəriˈɒdɪkəl/ Show Spelled[peer-ee-od-i-kuhl] Show IPA
    -noun
    1. a magazine or other journal that is issued at regularly recurring intervals.
    -adjective
    2. published at regularly recurring intervals.
    3. of or pertaining to such publications.
    4. periodic




    In other words, I was being facetious. :p

    Yes, yes I have. That's because I haven't had the time to read any of the new Roundels for the past FEW MONTHS. That's right, MONTHS.

    This can be compared to guns, for example. What I am talking about here is how manual the labor to fire the gun is. Take a old-school revolver, single shot type that you have to cock each time you fire, with no choice of automatic firing; you have to fire each round yourself, like having to select each gear yourself. That is a manual transmission, so consider the cocking action the clutch operation.

    Then take a modern handgun, say a Glock 18. You have a choice of semi-automatic mode (cock it once to put it in gear, like moving it to a forward position on the gear stick) and you control when you want to fire (or shift) by squeezing the trigger (pressing a paddle or moving the gear stick +-). It automatically cocks (no clutch pedal), making it easier and less involving. Then, you have the automatic fire mode, where if you don't feel like constantly pressing the trigger (shifting), so you just let it rip (putting around in automatic mode where no shifting is done on your part). Finally, you have the M249 SAW, which is fully automatic only; this is a standard non-steptronic automatic transmission.

    Do you see the difference here? Just because you shift gears manually doesn't make it a manual transmission; if it's got an automatic mode, I'm willing to bet a vast majority of people are going to drive them in automatic mode. The same goes for a steptronic transmission; the vast majority of those who have it don't use the manual mode, and many times don't even know it exists or what it is. Yes, you've got the percentage of people who buy the 335is and are enthusiasts, who will likely use the manual mode at some point, but keep in mind enthusiasts are actually a small part of BMW's market, so that percentage on a whole becomes small. As a result, those who buy the DCT over the manual are most likely going to get it because of its ability to go into an automatic mode, and less likely will get it only because it shifts faster. Someone who drives a manual is ALWAYS going to be in a manual mode because there's no choice, therefore it is a real manual. I just don't know how you can argue this FACT!

    I'm sorry, I just spent my little free time responding to your post, so I'll have to get to that some other time. :p

    He wasn't fooled. To me, it will always be an automatic if there's ever an option for an automatic mode. If it was 100% manual mode ONLY, then I'd consider it a manual, but it just isn't. It's more electronics than manual labor.

    DCTs, SMGs, and automatics (with manually selectable gears) are generally in the same category due to their behaviour, the difference being that DCTs are superior due to their performance.







    It's always fun debating with you Brian. :D
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    granthr

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    Amen! :D Now lets talk to Brian about that 850i six speed trans swap he was thinking about! :D
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    I have to set the record straight. . .

    In the June 2009 story on the Z4, it was not Peter Egan who was confused, it was. . . um. . . moi. Egan did say the six-speed manual transformed the car, however. I was the one who assumed, because of the selector thingie, that we were driving an automatic. But I drove it in the "manual" mode regardless, because I like to pretend I am a hot-shoe driver.

    As for automatic versus DCT, my final verdict on why I need a manual came in my story on the 335is (June 2010? I'm guessing). You NEED a clutch if you're going to depress it and rev the engine BRABBA! BRABBA! in the tunnels.
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    330indy1

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    agree 100%
    throttle control
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    bcweir

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    Thank you for the clarification, Satch

    I still think the DCT has created a category all its own -- not a manual transmission, but not quite an automatic either.

    In my view, trying to pigeonhole a DCT in either category either misses the point, or does the technology a complete disservice by miscategorizing it. Calling a DCT an automatic transmission is just as incorrect as calling it a manual transmission. It's like telling someone that they can't enjoy more than one flavor of ice cream. Preferring chocolate doesn't mean I can't also appreciate a bowl of Neopolitan or Butter Pecan.

    A true (or traditional) automatic transmission requires a torque converter of some kind in lieu of a clutch in order to temporarily disengage the engine from the rest of the drivetrain. A DCT has no torque converter because it doesn't use one, and the dual clutch design doesn't meet the definition of one either any more than it meets the definition of a conventional clutch on a regular manual transmission.

    It's not quite an automatic, and not quite a manual transmission. What is it, then? It's a dual-clutch transmission or a DCT. DCT seems to do as much to properly identify the transmission itself as it does to identify what family of transmissions it belongs to.

    Another example. I have red hair. You can't say that because I'm not a blonde, I must be a brunette; or that because I am not a brunette I must be a blonde. I'm neither. I'm a redhead, born and raised. A redhead is its own category of hair color.
    Oh my! I backed out of that a few YEARS ago for two reasons: a) I consulted a few other e32 owners who had done this swap that said that while this swap is definitely doable, the clutch effort (the amount of leg pressure needed to engage the clutch, releasing the engine from the drivetrain) is a bit of the heavy side, resulting in an occasional leg cramp after long periods of driving. b) That and it was determined that manual transmissions aren't always the greatest in heavily urban environments or stop and go traffic, both of which describe my driving environment. Manual transmissions truly shine at their best on open roads where the car can truly "stretch out its legs and run."

    The electronically controlled four speed automatic in my 750iL actually had more going FOR it than AGAINST it. In the end, I decided to keep its transmission configuration just the way BMW intended.

    By the way, the transmission in the E32 750iL does have a manual mode, engaged by a three position slide/push switch on the base of the console, near the shift lever. When in manual mode, the electronics will hold the transmission in any of four manually selected gears along the gear selection track. In this fashion, the transmission will function very much like a clutchless manual transmission.

    Maybe if more people realized there are more than two choices of anything (Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, black or white, chocolate or vanilla), we'd have a much more open minded and enlightened society.
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    330indy1

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    oh yeah, here's another one:


    conventional oil .... and.....

    wait for ... it.........

    synthetic!



    bwahahahaha:D

    ojhengen guest

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    is engine output

    --------------------------
    IRT your comment, I noted that the spec page in my operator's manual lists the HP as 335, not 320. Is that an error? I traded my '10 328 for the 335is on Thursday. I loved the way the 328 drove, but the acceleration seemed lacking. Probably due to my experience with three Corvette Stingrays, two 911s and a few lesser sports cars. And my 1200RT. The is reminds me of my 911s; world-class touring cars. It seems extremely responsive, but until I get a couple of thousand on it, I won't open it up. Then I will know... I'm optimistic, and believe this car will be with me for a very long time.

    I love the exhaust, BTW. If that sort of thing bothers you, it shouldn't. At cruising speed I doubt it will even register in your consciousness. It is SO hard to keep it under 80!

    Orv Hengen
    Canton, GA

    Syrupflow guest

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    The exhaust note


    I would have to agree with the others. The sound of the 335is exhaust sealed the deal for me. I just bought mine last month. I'm not sure how much faster it really is over the 335i, but it certainly feels more powerful.

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