2011 BMW 3 Series Coupe, Convertible: First Look

Bmw3series
  • Competes with: Audi A5/S5, Infiniti G37, Cadillac CTS Coupe
  • Looks like: The outgoing 3 Series mixed with a bit of Z4
  • Drivetrain: 230-hp, 3.0-liter six-cylinder or 300-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder with six-speed manual or six-speed automatic; rear- or all-wheel drive.
  • Hits dealerships: Spring 2010

On Sunday BMW released information about its nominally updated 3 Series coupe and convertible. In 335i form, both models receive an updated 3.0-liter turbo engine. It makes the same 300 horsepower and 300 pounds-feet of torque, though the latter figure comes 200 rpm lower – at an incredibly low 1,200 rpm, not the previous 1,400 rpm.

BMW says the engine, which now uses the automaker’s throttle-free Valvetronic system, is “more responsive, more fuel efficient and cleaner running” than the existing 3.0-liter turbo. We’ll have to drive the car to tell the difference. Neither BMW nor the EPA has published gas mileage figures yet, but we’d expect a nominal increase over the 335i’s current mileage — 16/25 mpg city/highway — to 17/26 mpg, depending on transmission and rear- or all-wheel drive.
 
The 328i’s 3.0-liter naturally aspirated engine carries over; it makes 230 hp and 200 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines work through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, and either coupe can be equipped with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive.
 
Changes for both cars include updated LED headlight rings, new taillights and side mirrors, an updated grille and a reshaped hood. The front bumpers adopt a single, wider air dam with strakes similar to the redesigned Z4’s. Inside, left-right paddle shifters for the automatic transmission replace the previous push-pull design, and it appears the automatic gets BMW’s new electronic shifter. Here’s hoping it feels more natural than the less-than-ergonomic gearshifts in BMW’s other cars that went that route.
 
The 2011 3 Series coupe and convertible hit dealerships this spring. There’s no word on whether the sedan will receive similar changes; it last saw a number of updates for the 2009 model year. BMW hasn’t announced any pricing yet, but we’d expect the coupe and convertible to start near their current prices of $36,200 and $45,000, respectively.

More photos below.

By Kelsey Mays | January 19, 2010 | Comments (28)

Comments 

Zack

They went from twin turbos to a single turbo due to complaints about horrible turbo lag. It's great that this high priced junk has been updated, but for the price they charge it should be right the first time.

zack,
as someone who has driven the twin turbo in many a car, turbo lag wasn't really an issue. In fact it's an engine I point to regularly as being almost without any noticeable lag.

Rich

I love BMWs but... Not enough "new" about these vehicles. And WAY too expensive as starting point prices. In typical BMW fashion, you'll pay through every oraface to get desired equipment packages that are standard on competitor's vehicles.

H

The whole point of a twin turbo design is to minimize turbo lag by having one turbo sized to operate at lower engine speeds and one sized to operate at higher engine speeds.

Stylus

"It's great that this high priced junk has been updated" - Zach

You can always spot the low-wage earners like Zach who will never be able to afford a BMW.

H

Stylus, what's the difference between a porcupine and a BMW owner?

Belly

H - Is it that you are the pr**k on the inside?

Zack

H,
your logic is impeccable on the reason for twin turbos. Maybe the story I read was inaccurate, but assuming the rest is accurate about going from twin turbos to a single one, there must have been some reason. A professional tester like Dave doing timed tests might not have the same experience of a day-in, day-out driver who gets flat footed when he asks for partial throttle boost. The story didn't say there were problems with the twin turbos, only that BMW had received complaints about excessive turbo lag. If I was an automotive journalist, I would probably call BMW and ask why last year's ultimate driving machine wasn't as ultimate as it should have been.

bmwX

No where does the story indicate that BMW received complaints about turbo lag. A little reading comprehension goes a long way junior.

Zack

bmwx
Don't be concerned about BMW dumping the twin turbos they've been selling as the ultimate setup, or the fact that you don't look at any other sources of news...just keep that second job to pay off your '85 325.

bmwX

Zack,
To quote you, "The story didn't say there were problems with the twin turbos, only that BMW had received complaints about excessive turbo lag."

The story didn't mention anything about BMW receiving complaints about excessive turbo lag. You lied and I corrected you. Now run along junior and brush up on your reading comprehension.

Don

I once had a '06 3 series as a company car and can attest that it really is the ultimate driving machine. Even with the new updates the 3 series still looks attractive.

I think Zack is saying that he read somewhere on the Internet that people were complaining about turbo lag. I and about every auto journalist on the face of the planet have pretty much lauded praise on this engine. I think it even won awards from Wards et al. So no, there is really no issue with turbo lag if the engine is working properly. perhaps some owners are experiencing a problem with their 335s, I'm not sure. A link to the story he is referencing would help.

My guess on the switch to a single turbo is that its likely cheaper and they've managed to get the lag out of it as well. It also leaves a slot below the M3 for another engine choice.

H

I recall reading about early owners complaining about turbo lag which newer owners were not experiencing. I believe BMW issued a firmware update to rectify the earlier editions.

Zack

The report I read was on Autoblog.com and included this: "...The revised engine, dubbed N55, has recently been launched in the 740i and the 535i Gran Turismo. The twin scroll turbo has dual exhaust inlets that allow the engineers to better balance the pulses coming in to spin up the turbine faster. This is expected to reduce the turbo lag that some drivers complained about with the outgoing twin turbo setup."
Today there was an updated report that BMW is keeping a modified Twin turbo engine for their top of the line 335is, so Dave's right it's probably a cost saving issue.

Zack

Base price for the Civic Coupe, I mean 335is, is $50,000 - and $59,000 for the convertible. No joke, the actual prices quoted on another web site. Wow what a value (that is a joke).
bmwx can't wait to buy one so he can drive around listneing to his Carpenters cassette turned up real loud.

mel

i'm a previous 550i owner
and really miss my car. so
am looking into either a 335i or 650i. so i thought i'd check out the comments.
thank god i'm a girl that
just enjoys driving a nice car & who doesn't
let EGO get in the way.
you BOYS should just compare your male genitalia
to see who wins the pissing
contest. yeah, size does matter, girls just say it
doesn't because they don't
want to hurt your feelings.....

Furi-us

I just bought the 2011 335iCV last Thursday.I is truely a beautiful peace of machinery. I traded in my 07 328ix, which was a really nice vehicle. Unfortunately for me, the "service engine soon light" came on before I could put 100 miles on the car. It has been in the service department since last week and BMW is scratching their heads, trying to figure out why. A service adviser informed me that they have been discussing the issue with BMW but even BMW hasn't a clue. So for me, I have a beautiful, shiney black convertible, with all of the bells and whistles that I have to visit at the dealership. Oh yeah, did I mention the MSRP on this unit was $62,050. I called BMW to complain about this, a case manager at BMW North America told me that it was because the car was so new that no one really understands the new engine on the 2011 335i, of course, this was of little comfort to me. This is my 3rd Bimmer, I love the way that they handle when they are functioning properly; however, I must admit that I will be reminded of this the next time I decide to buy.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with the new 335i engine?

Zack

Furi-us,
Sorry to hear about the issues you're having. It would be nice if the BMW dealers were up on the new models, but I have other friends who have literally waited six weeks for parts for their nearly new BMWs. Not engine problems but other stuff you wouldn't expect, like defective sunroofs, etc. Hope they figure it out soon...

Furi-us

Thanks, Zack! If I may offer a word to the wise based on my own personal experience. I live in the Baltimore area and purchased the vehicle from North West BMW in Pikesville, MD. (Do not take your vehicle to that service department, whatever you do!)I had a very positive experience with the Sales Manager that I worked with, while buying the car. The saleman was merely just there and did very little. I was given a very fair deal by this particular Sales Manager. The most awful part of the whole experience is that when I took the vehicle to the service department at North West BMW, immediately after noticing the light, turns out that they only reset the light. Of course, the light returned a short while later that evening due to the lack of due diligence on behalf of the North West Service department to actually research the problem. Upon realizing that the service department at North West BMW was staffed with dangerously incompetant technicians that I wouldn't entrust my lawn tractor with, I decided to take the vehicle to another BMW service department in the area. It has been there all this week, I was told today that they (Russell BMW) had to order a part from New Jersey and that it should be in by tomorrow, which I seriously doubt. However, at least they are actually trying to get to the heart of the problem, for that reason, I am grateful.

Cdruse

Furi-us, I had the same problem. Bought a 335i X-drive at the end of June. Service engine light has come on at 300, 600, 900, and 1200 miles. It's a faulty tank valve of some type. Either way, they couldn't fix my car and have declared it a lemon. The rental I have it also a 335i x-drive, with 1500 miles on it, and the service engine light has come on in it now too!! This is my first BMW and I am soooooo disappointed. E-mail me if you can, I'd love to talk to you about this and see if your vehicle is having the same problem. Thanks!!

Cdruse

My email address is cdruse@gmail.com if anyone else is having these problems with the 2011. Thanks!

Janaina Sa

Had a 328 and just bought the convertible.

I don't care what anyone who doesnt have a BMW says.... MY CAR IS AWESOME!

But it really isn't for everyone, just for people that truly loves driving. After all it really is the driving machine!!!

Mmello

I got the "Service engine soon" light with 2400 miles... and I have a 2011 335ic.

Zack

I just read the review of the new 5 series and it was reported that BMW went from two turbos down to one on their six cylinders to improve throttle response, so turbo lag was definitely an issue with the previous engine. Too bad for all the folks who shelled out 50k for those "ultimate" driving machines that weren't ultimate at all.

Mmello

I got the "Service engine soon" light again!!!! first with 2400 miles seconf with 2750 miles... I have a 2011 335ic.

Zack

I'm going back to my original opinion about "high priced junk" from my first post at the top. Today, a class action suit was filed by owners of the twin turbo BMW engines being replaced with the single turbo for 2011, because of problems including reduced performance and turbo lag. BMW has acknowledged problems with the fuel pump on the engines and is offering an extended warranty. Ultimate Driving machine? you decide.

Zack

I just saw the story on Nightline involving BMW's recall today of 130,000 models with the defective N54 engines. ABC reported that customers have been having performance problems with the twin turbo engine for three years. Maybe the new single turbo engine will be better. I feel bad for all the folks who shelled out major cash for N54 equipped BMWs.

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