When BMW released the all-new ‘G20’ 3-series today, there was a notable absence: an inline-six-powered version. Before you panic, don’t worry: a 3.0-litre-engined ‘M340i’ will be joining the range eventually. But what if you’re feeling impatient? And don’t fancy laying down well over £40k once it arrives? Presenting, the F30 335i.
We’ve picked this 2012 M Sport-trimmed example out of the classifieds for closer examination, and at £15,980, it’s about a third of the original price of an early F30 335i with some liberal options box ticking. And the original owner definitely went to town on this one: it’s packing a Harman Kardon sound system, a rear-view camera, satellite navigation, 19-inch alloy wheels which are apparently “unmarked,” and much more besides.
It hasn’t escaped us that a tidy E90 M3 could be picked up from around the same amount, but this 335i will be substantially cheaper to run. And yet, it’s still plenty fast. The ‘N55’ twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six under the bonnet develops 306bhp, making the 335i good for a 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds.
The 340i - which replaced the N55 for the newer ‘B58’ modular unit - is slightly more powerful, but scarely faster. Since the 340i was introduced in 2015, you’ll also need to pay much more for this later model.
The 335i we’re looking at is fitted with an automatic gearbox, but don’t let that put you off - BMW has a knack for making the eight-speed ZF unit work better than most other manufacturers have managed. Plus, the manual doesn’t have the nicest shift, so you’re not missing out on much.
It’s showing 59,000 miles on the clock, and has a full service history with stamps from both main dealers and specialists. The icing on the six-cylinder cake is a Black Sapphire Metallic finish, which goes with the 19-inch wheels rather nicely.