Platinum Bronze

In BMW on June 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Without a shadow of doubt this is the most astonishing piece of kit.

I’ve never driven a true supercar, but I can’t imagine anybody feeling short changed if they were forced to run a BMW 335 cabriolet.

Just weeks before the recession started to bite I wandered into Ocean at Plymouth pretty convinced I’d be ordering a new BMW 325 diesel coupe, but I couldn’t help noticing a gorgeous cabrio sitting on the forecourt.

I took out the 325 and it seemed ideal, but what about a 4500 mile old 155mph cabrio for a few grand more? I asked the salesman if I could have a go.

That was it.  I was hooked. If you look at the extras available on a 3 Series this one seemed to have the lot, automatically dimming Xenons which followed every twist of the road were my favourite option.

It didn’t have a TV, but then we had one of those at home.

Roof up this machine could carry incredible speed through corners, or carry 4 passengers in comfort at high speed whilst still returning over 30 mpg. If the sun shone then the comfort access allowed the driver to drop roof whilst having his breakfast indoors, and saving a valuable 27 seconds.

On most roads the cabrio worked well.  Two up with the wind deflector in place it was possible to talk to each other and keep cosy even on a fast dual carriageway. The chassis was less composed on bumpy rural B roads however. On odd occasion mid-corner scuttle shake would lift the rear end and cause more than a little unrest at the helm.

On a long journey it was possible to travel roof down and still have enough room for the luggage in the boot.  When on longer trips away from home the rear seats would fold flat and give space for two extra soft bags.

There were however downsides to our relationship.  For the first few weeks in temperatures below or just above freezing the car simply refused to start, until temperatures rose above 3 or 4 degrees.  After a few days off the road (and a few nice courtesy cars) it was eventually diagnosed as sensor problem on the brake pedal.  If you want to start an auto 335 you have press the start button whilst your foot is on the brakes.  If you don’t nothing happens.  In the cold the car couldn’t recognise my left foot and so the car didn’t fire up.

It also had an appetite for expensive tyres, my memory is hazy now.  I think I replaced all for at a cost of £1000, or was it £2000?  Unbelievable.

As a regular long distance driver, especially at night when the roads are quiet I was annoyed by the glow from the integrated Sat Nav, even when the display was switched off it was still visible.

The flappy paddles were great, it made me feel like an F1 driver.  Whilst in Belgium I had a warning light come on about a loss of engine power, but the diagnostics couldn’t detect a fault.

In our 20,000 mile tenure I managed to avoid all stone chips, and scratches.  Mind you I never parked anywhere near a supermarket trolley or people carrier.

I’ve often lamented the day we said goodbye to our awesome Platinum Bronze 335, but here’s the question I was often asked.

Why do you get rid of it?

There are a few answers to that.

1.  The slow roof often left me wet when I found myself in a sudden downpour, and occasionally the electronics played up.  The thought of all the gubbins going wrong was a concern.

2: The 135 M sport coupe came up at a good price.

3: I fancied a change.

4: Road tax was increased to silly levels (although newer version are greener and now less costly).


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