Saturday, March 28, 2015

10k: 2 Turbos & 6 Speeds: 2008 BMW 335i E90

 When the N54 powered E90 generation BMW 335i was released in 2007, I said to myself: "Self, you are going to buy one of these cars when they get cheaper."  Around 2010 prices for '07 models were looking good in the $20k range, but I thought they should drop a bit more before being seriously considered.  But a weird thing happened, the plummeting prices stabilized and the 335i didn't drop much in price from 2011, 2012 or 2013.  Only recently have you been able to get a 335i with manual transmission in the teens, but the E46 M3 has been a better buy all things considered (speed, exclusivity, limited slip diff, MMMMMM badging. etc) especially when you look at used prices of a E46 328i.  Finally, in the past year or so, I've seen E90 335i start the inevitable plunge toward appropriately cheap prices.  And it's about damn time.  Find this 2008 BMW 335i 6-speed here on eBay currently bidding for $6,300 with 2 days to go, located in Thomaston, CT.
The 335i is an competent and fast people mover.  It isn't without its foibles -- it lacks any optional limited slip diff out back, the high pressure fuel injection pump fails as often as an Audi/VW coil pack, and the interior quality is thoroughly uninspired. A stock manual transmission 335i sedan will hit 60 mph in just under 5 seconds, which is seriously fast for a luxury family sedan without a motorsports badge.
Its not like BMW didn't have the capacity to build a nice looking gauge pack (and interior) in 2008 -- just look at a contemporary Mini Cooper S.  And it isn't like the competition was slacking -- Audi's A4 is a benchmark for quality, Lexus IS looks nice, and even Mercedes C-Class had a better looking instrument binnacle, but for some reason BMW felt they needed to benchmark a rental fleet Chrysler for their highest volume passenger car interior. 
At least the machine behind the ugly plastic was properly conceived.  The 335i gets its power from the N54, a twin-turbocharged 3.0 liter inline-6 that pumps out 300 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs of torque.  The N54 is also very tuneable and can be boosted for an additional 75 horsepower and 90 ft-lbs of torque right out of the box. 
See another seriously fast peg-leg burn-out machine for less?


  1. I think the depreciation on those thing pretty much tracked the number of buyers explosively bladdered-off at BMW's inability to find a vendor who could make a high-pressure fuel pump last more than three months.

    These DI engines also beat the crap out of their oil, and in track use or with boost tweakage oil temps can be a big problem.

    The lack of limited-slip can be cured with application of dollars.

  2. Interesting comparing this to a G37 Sport. The Frenchanese sedan holds value better but is arguably slightly lower on the desirability list for most folks (not me though). More horsies with no turbos, but less torque I believe.


  3. Let's see how this 'no-reserve' plays out.

  4. I just bought one of these last month for more money. Half the miles and it's got the sport pack, so I'm trying really hard to not feel like I got a bad deal. I already feel it at the pump, you can get decent mileage if you don't let your inner child control the right pedal. Unfortunately, boost has a tendency to bring out the 16 year old in me.

    Great commuter, though. Let's hope I got lucky and got one of the ones that doesn't have reliability issues.

  5. Another interesting comparison to the G versus the 3. The G gets 17/25 mpg and the 3 is rated at 16/25 mpg. Here's a write-up that seems to stay unbiased. Personally, I'd still prefer the G over the 3, though I think the interior design is even worse (such that it is). But again, that's just my preference.


  6. Only two turbochargers? To me, turbochargers are best suited to WWII piston engined aircraft, not automobiles. If you have to slap a turbo, let alone two of the things, on it that means that you're not trying hard enough elsewhere.


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