2007 BMW 335i vs. 2013 WRX
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This is a discussion on 2007 BMW 335i vs. 2013 WRX within the Comparison: WRX vs World forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; This forum has been a great resource for me, and I wanted to give something back by sharing my comparison ...

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    2007 BMW 335i vs. 2013 WRX

    This forum has been a great resource for me, and I wanted to give something back by sharing my comparison between the car I recently gave up, a 2007 BMW 335i coupe with a six speed manual and the sport package, and my newly-acquired WRX base hatch. Itís kind of an unusual exchange to make (some would say a trade-down), so if anyone else is considering such a move and stumbles across this post they might appreciate reading my opinion.

    Engine
    The 335iís strong suit for me was its motor. Chipped or stock, it is a beast. With the twin-turbo configuration you enjoy very strong acceleration just about anywhere in the rev band. The WRX, meanwhile, is definitely peppy once it gets going, but I do find myself stepping on the gas at lower RPMs and discovering I really need to downshift. Iím still used to my BMWís copious low end torque. That said, itís not that big a deal for me, for reasons youíll see below.

    (Note: I do realize you can mod the heck out of a WRX and turn it into a loud, angry monster, but Iím not comparing the carsí theoretical potential here, but how they actually are from the factory, and thereís no denying that the BMWís engine is more tractable, smoother and powerful.)

    Drivetrain
    Before buying it, I read reviews which compared the WRXís shifter to a truck or farm equipment. Now, after driving it for a bit, I agree that itís no Honda, but itís really not that bad, and I actually prefer it to the BMWís shifter. The WRX shifter does feel mechanical and a little crunchy to me, but itís not sloppy. The 335iís shifter felt vaguer and more rubbery.

    I also have to say that I love that there are (only) five speeds in the WRX, and I donít miss having another gear at all. The BMW had so much torque that I almost always skipped fifth gear, and often skipped third gear. Not the most convenient shift pattern. The power band was so broad that even a 4 speed would have been perfect (and possibly faster in the real world), but that wouldnít fit with the marketing image of a technologically advanced car.

    One of the most frustrating things for me with the BMW was getting the power down from a standstill, around a tight turn, or over bumps. I donít race around aggressively, but the BMWís rear wheels, despite the wide rubber, wanted to break free (or were handicapped by the electronics) when the power was enthusiastically applied. The absence of an LSD meant things werenít great whether I had the traction control on or not. In contrast, Iím loving the AWD in the WRX. I donít have to feather the accelerator to get a smooth start. I just go.

    As an aside, Iíve often thought that quarter mile times, and maybe even 0-60 times, are somewhat irrelevant for most people who live in congested urban and suburban areas. 0-30 (or 5-30) times might be a better indicator of everyday quickness. Iíve spent a lot of time in a MINI Cooper S, which is a blast to drive (again, when you can get the power down) with its little turbo. Since I spend most of my driving time in well-populated areas at 70 mph or (much) below, the WRXís ability to get the power down at lower speeds is appreciated.

    Suspension and handling
    Every driver needs to be honest with him or herself about what his or her needs are. Itís taken me a long time to come around on this -- Iíve modified the suspension (generally for the worse) on three of my (former) cars for feel and ďhandling,Ē but I ultimately have to accept that I have a daily commute over potholed urban and cracked suburban roads. I do really appreciate the WRXís forgiving suspension. If I lived in SoCal or Florida, this likely wouldnít be an issue, but it unfortunately I live in the Northeast.

    The BMWís suspension was firm -- not M3 (or Cooper S) firm, but still pretty tight -- and it honestly got a little punishing for me if the roads werenít great. The 335i is rock solid on a fast, smooth highway, but not so great on the roads I drive on a daily basis, and I tire of scanning the road for manhole covers to avoid.

    Having grown up on Japanese cars, I greatly prefer the WRXís lighter steering. I donít like heavier steering like that in the 335i nearly as much. Yes, the BMW feels more stable and solid on the highway, but for trips around town, it just isnít as much fun for me. Now I can flick the wheel around with one hand in parking lots.

    As far as handling goes, the BMW has a better weight distribution and the suspension is firmer, and it does feel like the WRX leans more and wants to plow at the limit. If I donít approach the limit, then itís okay, and I can have fun yanking the WRX around in regular driving. What I canít ignore, however, is the WRXís gigantic turning circle relative to the BMW. I find myself having to do three point turns now on streets that I used to just whip around in the BMW.

    Interior
    Previous reviews of the WRX had led to me expect an interior straight out of a 1991 Corolla. But really, itís not all that bad. Sure, itís not as luxurious as the the BMW, but it isnít exactly industrial grade, and I donít need my dashboard to be soft, and I donít drive around clients and need to show them wood trim. The WRX is louder than the BMW but not horrible, the stereo isnít as rich and the interface can be a little blocky, but thatís the difference between a $25,000 car and a $45,000 car.

    I greatly prefer the seating in the WRX for three reasons. First, I prefer the WRXís more upright position and better visibility compared to the BMW coupe. Second, I find cloth seats far more comfortable than leather seats, particularly in the winter. I know itís considered a status thing to have leather, and theyíre likely more durable, but I donít like sliding around or freezing my rear end, and seat heaters do take a little while to kick in.

    Third, (and I understand that comments like this generally arenít the sort of thing you see in a car review) the more I learn about how animals are treated in meat and skin production, the more it bothers me, so I feel better trying to minimize my animal consumption.

    Exterior
    Iím not going to get into exterior styling, which I consider to be basically personal preference. I love the WRXís looks, and I like the Subaru ďimageĒ better than that of BMW, but I understand that many others disagree and prefer a more prestigious car.

    There are a couple of really nice features on the BMW that I'll miss. The BMW xenon headlights are bright, and better yet they aim with the steering, so you have really good illumination on curves. BMW wipers are also pretty good, and they have a rain-sensitive mode which worked pretty well for me. That said, I love having a rear wiper on the WRX hatch for backing out of the driveway. I also got sick of the long, heavy doors of the BMW coupe. Nice for style, not so practical in parking lots or getting kids in and out.

    Overall
    My 335i was an extremely capable car: comfortable, stable, quiet and very fast. It might even be a little too capable -- its limits are so far above those found in (legal) U.S. street driving that if you push it it can quickly get dangerous or illegal. I eventually realized that in my daily driving, I donít need a powerful, luxurious autobahn cruiser, and Iím more comfortable (and have more fun) in a quick AWD WRX. Iím happy I made the switch.

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    I had a 2006 BMW 330i. I live in Ohio, so even with dedicated snow tires, the rwd BMW was not great in snow. The BMW was a great car. I had no complaints other than that. Comparing a BMW to a Subaru is not a fair comparison, though. If a car costs as much as a BMW, it should be better. My WRX is a great do everything well car, but it is no BMW. Nor do I expect it to be for the price difference. All in all, I am happy with my WRX. As an aside, I don't miss the run flat tires on the BMW which are very pricey. I do wish Subaru would offer all season tires as a no cost option for those who live in locations that receive snow in winter.

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    Administrator RayfieldsWRX's Avatar
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    Thanks for the writeup! It's great to get comparisons from folks with seat time in different models.

    I need to find my way into a more recent BMW. At one time, (2005), I was in the market for a new car, and had convinced myself that the 330 was the next logical step for me. When I finally got some time behind the wheel...I just wasn't impressed. There were certainly positives; the engine was quite smooth (as the legendary BMW 6's are supposed to be), and the steering was quite nice, but the actual performance through curves, and acceleration, left me underwhelmed. In fairness, I had recently sold my somewhat modded WRX, and was used to something more raw. Over time, I wound up in another Subaru.

    I've never sampled the newer, turbocharged Bimmers. I'm sure that they're a whole different ball of wax! So you found that the suspension on the 335 was actually firmer than the current model WRX? That's interesting.
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    and the Funky Bunch Calvinball's Avatar
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    Thanks for the write-up! I always enjoy reading comparisons such as this.

    Surprisingly, at least in the time I've been on this forum, there have been a number of people making the "trade-down" from bimmers to subies.

    Glad you're enjoying your rex!
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    The 3 series sport package is firmer than the WRX. I had loaner car 328i's with the base suspension that felt about the same as the WRX. There's apparently an adjustable suspension available on the latest 3 series that is likely the best of all worlds.

    Re: Callahan, I don't claim in my comparison to assert that any car is simply better than another. It always depends what your needs are. A Bugatti Veyron is surely "better" than a WRX, but not if you need to carry four passengers, or drive on tight cobblestone roads. For my needs, at this time in my life, the WRX is fitting the bill better.

    I kind of fell out of love with my BMW when I borrowed a MINI Cooper S for a month. The MINI is loud and bumpy and impractical and quick and quirky and -- most of all -- fun. For me there sometimes seems to be an inverse relationship between automotive refinement and visceral fun, and while the MINI was quite a bit too uncompromising, it started to make my BMW feel dull by comparison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calvinball View Post
    Thanks for the write-up! I always enjoy reading comparisons such as this.

    Surprisingly, at least in the time I've been on this forum, there have been a number of people making the "trade-down" from bimmers to subies.

    Glad you're enjoying your rex!
    Hell the salesman from where I got my Rex jumped from an m3 to a wrx!
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    Registered User EndlessSea's Avatar
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    Excellent review! fair and unbiased. Makes me can't wait till my wrx finally shows up!!

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    My parents bought a new 335i back in '07 that I've driven many times and I just bought myself a '13 WRX a week ago and agree with most of what you said. The 335i makes a stupid amount of torque way low in the powerband (it makes peak torque at what, 1400rpms?) compared to the WRX. BMW's new turbocharged engines are marvelous when it comes to low end power, they have it nailed. The steering on the WRX is definitely lighter and I like it quite a bit. I haven't driven mine enough to really get a feel on the turning radius, but the 335i's is about as tight as it gets. I would love to own a 335i, but I'd have to get one with that was far from brand new in order to afford it. I don't think the WRX can be topped when it comes to affordable performance.
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    I was actually looking at a 2007+ 335i's used before getting the WRX. The HPFP thing scared me and of course owning a BMW out of warranty scared me as well.

    Coincidentally my wife owned a 2005 Mini Cooper S and I didn't care for it at all. Especially when it was out of warranty. I didn't find it particularly fun to drive. Yes it handled well, but I felt that's all it really did.

    My next car might be a 3-series sedan (specifically a 328i), but only because I like tech and gadgets, and well, the general design of BMWs. I like things like HIDs, keyless push button start and things like that. Given that I'll be driving a sedan around for 4-10 more years (at least) I think it will be the next logical choice...(used GTR/Cayman are on my impractical shortlist)

    As far as the WRX goes I have the SPT short shifter and a heavy countersunk shift knob and the WRX shifts really well. It's no S2000, but it's a lot better than stock for sure. Plus I think the feel fits the character of the car and engine.

    I love the cloth seats (don't mind the interior) and am using the heated seats a lot more (I find that it helps my lower back pain). The sound system (after the "fixes") is tolerable and I like the aggressiveness of the exterior styling. The hatch is also very useful (even though I have the sedan, there's still plenty of room for what I need it for).

    In the end the WRX is just a better value for the money, and it's one of the best performance values for it's class. It does what it says it does and nothing more.

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    Administrator RayfieldsWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harhar View Post
    Coincidentally my wife owned a 2005 Mini Cooper S and I didn't care for it at all. Especially when it was out of warranty. I didn't find it particularly fun to drive. Yes it handled well, but I felt that's all it really did.
    I agree with part of this. I've driven two of my coworkers' Cooper S's, one supercharged, one turbocharged, and loved the nimbleness. Either would slaughter my modded WRX through tight corners. However, past that, it somehow didn't feel like a car I'd want to drive, every day. Plus, both of my coworkers seem to be constantly having work done to them.
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    Hey guys Im new here but can chime in on the BMW thing. I currently have 2001 530i thats slightly modded and have been looking at getting wrx. The worst thing about the BMW is the unreliability. I take good care of my vehicles but I've gotten to the point of paranoia with this car. From what I've read it seems as though Subaru has a good rep for reliability.

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    This is a great and relatively unbiased writeup!
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    Thanks for the comparison! You definitely put a lot of thought and detail into this. The formatting is nice too. I really like the 135 and 335 and will probably consider one of for my next car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Up2Dtime View Post
    Hey guys Im new here but can chime in on the BMW thing. I currently have 2001 530i thats slightly modded and have been looking at getting wrx. The worst thing about the BMW is the unreliability. I take good care of my vehicles but I've gotten to the point of paranoia with this car. From what I've read it seems as though Subaru has a good rep for reliability.
    Yeah that's cause the e39s had pretty poor reliability all together
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    I used to have an e36 318i sedan. It was fun. It was a bit of a heavier car and had an underpowered 4 cyl, but it was fun to drive. The 5 spd manual in it was great. It really was a drivers car. It did have a bit of a raw feeling too it, but felt great when cruising down the highway.

    Now my uncle's 335i sedan that I drove...don't get me wrong, it was nice but it felt numb. Steering was way too assisted. The power was very nice, but again, it felt like it may as well have been a larger engined NA car. The transmission was the biggest disappointment. It was too...dull. It was smooth, yes, but not Honda/Acura smooth. It may as well have been like pushing a button to change gears but with the use of a clutch along with it. The clutch engagement was almost too automatic. There was almost no feathering or skill involved with driving it. Very undesirable to me. There was very little driver feedback in the car.

    But OP, that was a very nice comparison and writeup, considering they are difficult to compare given their different markets.
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