In the switch from old to current 3-Series, the M3 saloon is having some time out. You can still buy an old-shape M3 coupe/cabrio, but the four-door is temporarily extinct. So this 335i is the fastest, most expensive new 3-Series on sale, for now.
It has a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six with 306bhp and - in this spec - an 8spd auto. Despite the turbo, power comes in a clean sweep rather than a torquey lump. It'll do 0-62mph in 5.5secs. The shifts are quick and alert, and you find yourself pulling paddles just for the fun of it. And unlike other fast BMWs - e.g. the M5 - it doesn't clobber the road. It's more engaging.
And when you're in a more relaxed mood, there's a more subdued side. Toggle into Eco Pro mode, and performance is calmed. You start caring more about the sensible sums, which look like this: 169g/km CO2 and 39.2mpg.
Good. But, after a while, you start wishing it could be a bit less... businesslike. If only it had a few flicks and flourishes here and there. A little bootlip spoiler, maybe. Because, although there aren't any M bits, it reminds you of how the M3 used to be before the V8 versions took over. Albeit more grown-up. And slightly more mellow.
2979cc, 6cyl, 306bhp, 295lb ft, 39.2mpg, 169g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 5.5secs, 155mph, 1595kg
The fastest new 3 channels the spirit of the old M versions. Shame it's a bit...sober.