Hole-In-One | BMW 335i GT

BY Azfar Hashim

Outgrown your GTI, eh? BMW has the answer for your next upgrade…

Photos: Azfar Hashim

Who would have thought that BMW would actually churn out another - albeit smaller - hatchback after the 5 Series GT? Of course, it’s no ordinary hatchback: it’s the executive executive sort (know what I mean?), one that offers everything the brand is known for.

And BMW seems to have gotten it all right. Let’s see: a classy, solid interior that has all the latest gadgetry like the latest version of iDrive and Driving Experience Control (so you can toggle between Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport or Sport+). A large sunroof that brightens the opulently black cabin, spot-on driving position, perfectly sized steering wheel and user-friendly controls. What’s a little awkward though, is how the automatic boot spoiler’s button is found together with the master window control over at the driver’s side. Hmm…

Driver and front passenger gets comfortable, sporty seats (both electrically adjustable). Rear passengers - surprise, surprise: you could even place three average-sized adults and a child in comfort - would surely appreciate the vast leg and headroom; it feels significantly more spacious than it’s sedan sibling somehow. A quick check on both car’s technical specification confirms this: the GT is 200 mm longer, 17 mm wider and 79 mm taller than the 3 Series sedan. Let’s also not forget how the wheelbase is 110 mm longer too.

Boot space is definitely the major selling point here. With the backrest upright, you could easily place up to three golf and two travel bags without any issue. Bring the seat down, and it has the ability to relocate the whole of Bukit Timah back there; yes, that’s how freakishly spacious it is. And to top it all off, you could actually choose how high you want the rear tailgate to rise, via the iDrive system.

It has road presence, that’s for sure. In fact, it could even be mistaken for the X3 from a distance. While some might opine it has too much creases, most would probably agree that it makes the car appear rather muscular – like The Incredible Hulk before CGI came about (again, know what I mean?). And of course, BMW placed an emphasis on aesthetics as well: vents on both front fenders added some sportiness, and then the pairing of 19-inch alloys wrapped in 225/45 R-19 front and 255/40 R-19 rear Continental rubbers sums up the visual drama.

Powering the 335i GT is no other than the tried and tested formula: a 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder turbocharged lump mated to an 8-speed ‘box. Well if you find this engine too overwhelming (for the missus, Mother Earth and most importantly your pockets), I’m glad to report that the 2.0-litre 320i and 328i variants are also available.

Firepower is definitely the 335i GT’s other forte. It breathes out a total of 306 bhp and 400 Nm of torque, and gets from rest to 100km/h in a scanty 5.4 seconds despite the almost 1.8-tonne kerb weight; floor the accelerator off the mark and the world around you turns blurry. Yeap, that’s how immediate it catapults forward. In fact, in this car, you should be able to scare off almost everything else in its sight; and this is when the Driving Experience Control is left to run in auto mode. For added excitement, swap to Sport and shift your own gears via the paddle-shifter; awesome, awesome and awesome. And by this point, you begin to wonder how an M variant (not that it’s in the pipeline) would feel like…

Being taller, however, does have it’s drawback. Body movements are more pronounced when you take your favourite series of bends. Grip level remains high though, which is a good surprise considering the rear-wheel drive configuration. Well at least you know in can keep up with an S5 Sportback still.

So in conclusion, the 335i GT remains a fine product from BMW, even though we all know it will remain a niche product considering our market trend. It’s capable and satisfying to drive, then mated to a highly practical and classy cabin. The extensive equipment list is another plus point.

By the way, this should be enticing: Performance Motors is offering the M Sport Package for... free. Yes, you're reading this right.

Although the rims are downsized to 18-inch, you get M-Sport suspension, an Aerodynamic kit (which includes sportier front and rear bumpers and a side skirt), sports seats for both driver and front passenger and last but not least, M-Sport steering wheel. A good option, no?