In Los Angeles, BMW's 3 Series is more common than breast implants-we're surrounded by them. Most of them look the same, a sort of cookie-cutter eye candy that's pretty enough, but leaves ephemeral impressions. The new 335i aims to change that. Sporting dual exhausts and a rakish profile, the 335i promises to be different; it's a 'real' car you want to know. Word is out-BMW's 335i is the hot car, the first turbocharged BMW in decades. We caught up with the folks at Vorsteiner and Supreme Power one Thursday afternoon as the temperature surpassed triple digits. With the asphalt near 150 degrees, we figured it would be a quick shoot-boosted cars die in this kind of heat. We figured wrong.
Wearing the latest in Vorsteiner athletic gear, this 335i was augmented with a new front spoiler, lower valance and rear deck lid. These parts are manufactured in Vorsteiner's state-of-the-art facility, featuring aerospace materials rendered to exacting specifications. Though fairly expensive, Vorsteiner bits are as good as it gets for carbon fiber, their fit and finish are excellent.
Those striking gold wheels are from Dynamic Performance Engineering (DPE), three-piece forged rims measuring 8.5x20 and 10x20, front and rear, respectively. The in-the-weeds ride height comes courtesy of Bilstein PSS9 coilovers. These compression- and rebound-adjustable suspension components lend a decidedly sporty ride, a sensation akin to the factory's M werks.
This 335i's N54 twin-turbo engine is augmented with an Active Autoworks performance computer, a simple plug-and-play box good for a reported 40 hp. Active's XEDE processor is known as an 'interceptor' computer; it intercepts information and revises it before sending it on to the factory computer. The XEDE box allows Active to modify fuel and timing and enable the car to run upwards of 14 psi, almost twice the stock boost level.
However, unless the charge air is sufficiently cooled, heat will simply reduce its density and ultimately reduce power. Eric Nareshni at Supreme Parts knew this and subsequently fitted the car with a front-mounter intercooler. Simply using the larger intercooler enabled the car to see another 20 hp and retain boost where the stock intercooler became ineffective. Built by Race Precision, this intercooler is well crafted, featuring all-aluminum construction, multiple cooling rows and gusseted mounting brackets.
The exhaust is from Britalman, a stainless steel unit with a balance pipe, 2.5-inch tubing and sport mufflers. Weighing some 30 pounds less than the factory system, the Britalman sport exhaust is also said to make an additional 8 to12 hp. On Eurosport's Dynojet, a stock 335i makes 270 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. This car put down an impressive 320 hp and 347 lb-ft of twist. Not bad for simple bolt-on modifications.
There's no mistaking this car from a stock 335i, especially mid-range, when the boost builds quickly. We left a stock 335i Convertible in the dust as we raced through our test loop. Granted, the car was a bit heavier, but still... the delta between the two was significant. Hell, imagine a convertible 335i with the same treatment. That would make for a very fast tanning machine.
Perhaps our only concern here is heat, specifically heat created by the two turbochargers. The stock 335i saw oil temps spike beyond 340 degrees and caused the car to go into 'limp home' mode. Why didn't the modified car? Did the larger intercooler make that much difference? You might want to read our intercooler buyers guide (starting on page 86) before squeezing your 335i.Or not.
2007 BMW 335i
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
3.0-liter in-line six, dohc, 24-valve, turbocharged and intercooled, Active Autowerkes software, Race Precision intercooler, Britalman exhaust
Bilstein PSS9 coilovers
Brembo GT assemblies
Wheels and Tires
DPE S20, 8.5x20 (f), 10x20 (r)
Toyo T1R, 245/30 (f), 285/25 (r)
Peak Power*: 320 hp @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque*: 347 lb-ft @ 3250 rpm
Quarter-mile: 12.8 sec. @ 108 mph
*measured at the wheels