Overtime I became frustrated with how impractical a half-ton truck was for the city, as well as its rapid depreciation, difficulty to park, slow performance and handling, and abysmal fuel economy. It seemed like a big truck was good for towing, off-roading, and driving on very poor roads- and those factors are primarily the rational truck-lovers would use to tell you that you absolutely needed a truck in Alberta. However, I found that 95% of the time I did not do those, so there was little use for me for a big truck.
I ended up with an E93 BMW 335i Cabriolet/Convertible Special Edition with the 6-speed manual. It had roughly 50,000km on it- just about how much my truck had, but the car being 4 years older- though it didn’t look like it. I’ve considered buying brand new or near brand new, but after being in the BMW dealership seeing the approx. $77,000 price tag for a brand new 435i coupe (and obviously more for the top-down variant), I decided against it as it is not going to be much faster, and it’ll drop in value by tens of thousands quick. For that extra money might as well buy an used Porsche 911 as a weekend car.
The hardtop is nice, as you can take it down for summer fun, and put it back up during the winter months. It’s also very cool to watch it retract, as you feel you have an unique machine. (Poor phone photo)
This is the Special Edition that came with its unique 19″ rims with low profile tires. I like the look of them, but the numerous potholes in Edmonton and many poor roads in Alberta worry me that I may pop a tire or bend a rim (which are considerably more expensive than the smaller ones).
My first long drive was to Fort McMurray a couple days ago for an interview. It handles amazingly, especially in the corners. I find that BMWs weren’t meant to be straight-line fast cars, but rather a good car for everything- comfortable, handles well in the corners, stylish, and fun to drive. The 335’s 3.0L turbo engine is quick enough for daily driving though- still a fun little thing if you floor it. 0-100km/h is about 5s. When I first got it, it was difficult to behave myself at the traffic lights as soon as they turned green. The acceleration sound is great- addicting enough that it makes a smile on your face everytime you hear it so well with the top down. There has been many horror stories about the turbos however- so I like to wait until the engine warms up before I drive it hard- keeping under 2,500 RPMs, and let the car sit for a few moments before I turn it off. Shifting is smooth and fun.
The interior is comfortable and more than roomy enough for someone my size (5’8). Driving in the sun does make your back sweaty though after a while sitting on those leather seats. The Special Edition came with its unique colour combination. The back seats looked cramped and leg room isn’t too much, but I rarely drive anyone around so it was a non issue.
Fuel economy is obviously not as good as your typical Toyota/Honda car, but for the fun you get out of this car it’s actually pretty good. I averaged 9.6L/100km on my trip to Fort McMurray and back, from Edmonton, and I did do some quick passes in the 3rd gear quite a few times. Just driving around Edmonton and going on the Anthony Henday often I average 10.4L/100km. Still very happy with how long the fuel lasts compared to driving my truck though- I was averaging 16L/100km, 17.5L/100km in the winter driving slow.
Overall I’m glad I traded my truck for the car. The only thing that really worries me is hitting a really bad pothole and bending a rim, as I’ve been told they are about $1000 each for the ones on this car. As for modifications, I don’t plan on doing anytime soon though I’m aware of the potential of the N54 engine, aside from maybe the JB4 chip, downpipes, and an intercooler. If I spent too much I’d probably just end up wishing I bought the M3 (which is used, only a couple to few more thousand than this car). I’d like to keep this car as my daily driver, and eventually when my financial and career situation improves significantly in a couple years, I’ll move onto a Porsche 911 Turbo as my fun/summer car. As for needing a truck/SUV… if I really do, I’ll just buy an old one for work/winter when I do need it. I’ve thought about buying an old Mercedes ML350/BMW X5 for the winters.