Of all the BMWs currently on sale, the 3-Series Coupe is by far the best looking. And I do mean by faaaaar! The lines are flowing and elegant, the proportions are orgasmic and the detailing is quite exquisite. I go a tiny bit weak at the knees every time I see one and I have yet to see a bad colour or an ugly set of wheels fitted to one, either. It is BMW's best car by some margin (excluding the M5, natch) and this 335d is probably the best derivative of the best car, making it the best of the best. Of the best.
And so it should be. It weighs in at a pant-dampening 70 grand in basic form, and a few well-chosen options can quickly push the 335d's price into Porsche Cayman territory, as was the case with our €85,000 test car. For that you get sat nav, sexy alloys, power leather seats, active steering and a Bluetooth phone kit to go along with the standard (and rather slick) six-speed automatic transmission, Xenon lights, climate control and parking sensors. There's an endless number of ways to customise your 3-Series Coupe, in fact, turning it into a low-slung luxury car rather than sporty coupé, but then that is part of the appeal, I suppose, isn't it?
Most of your money goes under the bonnet, of course. With 286hp and an organ-re-arranging 580Nm of torque available from its six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo diesel, the 335d isn't just quick, it's seriously 'fuggin’ ‘ell' fast. Zero to the metric ton takes a mere 6.1 seconds and top speed has to be reined in at 250km such is the performance potential, and yet a gentle right foot could potentially squeeze up to 800km from its 61-litre fuel tank and even a leaden right hoof like mine can still manage 9.5L/100km over all kinds of mixed driving. I suppose the cash savings of such a frugal engine are a bit irrelevant to anyone with 85 grand to blow on a small coupé, but not having to visit the oily corner of the petrol station as often is something we can all appreciate, particularly those with snazzy shoes and expensive slacks.
Alas, as good as the 335d Coupe is, it's not perfect. Our test car had optional 18-inch wheels and even though it wasn't on the M-Sport suspension it still didn't ride with much finesse and certainly didn't feel sure-footed over anything but smooth surfaces. The active steering also felt artificial and lifeless and while the automatic was slick and offered excellent throttle response, it sometimes conspired with the off-boost turbo to leave the 335d flat-footed and hesitant before everything hooks up and catapults you down the road as if released from a slingshot. Want more involvement? Get a Nissan 350Z or a Mazda RX-8 or save up for the upcoming M3. Want a knee-wobblingly pretty luxury coupé? Join the queue.
Engine: 3.0 litre, in-line 6-cylinder turbo diesel, 286hp, 580Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Acceleration: 0–100km/h: 6.1 seconds
Top speed: 250km/h (limited)
Boot Capacity: 430 litres
Price as tested: €84,815
Aching desirability, surprising practicality, eye-widening pace and decent economy, but both ride and price could be softer.