The natural comparison point to the 135is Convertible I just looked at is, of course, the same year 335is. Indeed, since the two share a fair amount of architecture and a similar recipe, on paper it’s a bit strange that they were offered at the same time. But though the 335is and 135is looked similar, there were actually quite a few differences between the two packages.
For starters, though they were both turbocharged and rated at 320 horsepower, the 335is package retained the N54 motor to do so. I’ve never quite understood BMW’s logic on this one, but clearly there was something about the N54’s power delivery that they felt was superior to the N55 single-turbo. The reserved the higher-output N54s in late production for the 1M (335 horsepower), the Z4 sDrive3.5is (335 horsepower) and the 335is (320 horsepower). The N54B30TO also got a 7 second overboost of 40 lb.ft of torque on top of the 332 that was rated in this car as stock. As I described in the 135i post, the easiest identifier for these cars was the wheels, and on the 335is you got massive yet delicate Style 313 M Double Spoke wheels, 8″ in front and 9″ in rear, with more aggressive offsets than the E8x got. Hunkered down on M-Sport suspension, the 335is also got a unique M aerodynamic body kit, and the transmission was borrowed from the M3, along with additional cooling for the engine. They carried a less restrictive exhaust system. Coupes went so hardcore that, like the 135i, they dropped the foglight option. The convertible variant was apparently judged to be a little less track-ready, as so like today’s Le Mans Blue Metallic example, you could retain the foglights:
Could the M3 market get hotter? I bet it can, because there are a massive amount of enthusiasts who follow and lust after the cars, this author included. But in my general searches for cars this week popped up one of the more strange ads that I’ve seen in some time; it was an advertisement celebrating the beginning and end of M3 production, but in convertible form. And it was for not one, but two M3s – an E30 and a E93. Now, frankly right now it doesn’t really matter what type of E30 you come up with, there’s someone who wants it. But the convertibles, though more limited production than the coupes, are a bit of a different market. In short, they’re desirable, but for a different reason than the motorsport heritage that started the M brand. 2013 saw the death of what we associated with M3; a naturally aspirated 2-door overachiever that in many ways defined the market for small performance sedans. Is this listing a fitting tribute to the legend or just an attempt to capitalize on M3-mania?
The M3 Convertible. A rather curious beast, no? Especially if one considers the M3’s original purpose of a tool by which to dominate DTM racing. However, there has been a drop top version of every M3 since the original E30, even if we didn’t see that one officially on US shores. With the change in nomenclature, we now have the M4 convertible to compliment the M4 coupe and M3 sedan. Each new iteration has debuted more powerful engines, advanced gearboxes and we even saw a new folding hardtop on the E93 M3, carried over to the M4.
These two M3s are for sale in New York and represent a definite split in approach to the fast convertible formula. First up, we’ll take a look at this 2005 E46 M3, which is armed with the rev-happy S54 inline-6 under the hood that everyone knows and loves mated to a good old row-your-own 6-speed manual.