Shadowline vs. chrome trim BMW 335i

Updated July 19, 2017

The BMW 335i can be specified in a wide variety of trim levels, such as paint options, trim finish and wheel design. The combination of trim and options greatly affects the overall aesthetic of a given model, and can make it look more classic or more modern, depending on the owner's preference. One of these areas is the trim around the windows, body panels, bumpers and grille.


Shadowline trim is BMW's way of referring to exterior trim that has been blacked out. It is available in either matt or glossy. Shadowline trim can usually be specified when an order is placed for a car, though it comes standard on the 335i when the £1,397 Sport Package is specified. It also comes standard on all E92 3 Series coupes. The E90/E92 is the latest, fifth generation of the BMW 3 Series.

Chrome/Brushed Aluminum

Chrome or brushed aluminium trim is far brighter than Shadowline, and is silver in colour. It comes standard on 335s with the exception of the 335i coupes.

Shadowlne Apperance

Shadowline trim tones down the overall appearance and gives a more subtle, modern look. Any preference is purely subjective, of course.

Chrome Appearance

Chrome and brushed aluminium trim makes the size and profile of the windows and body panels more noticeable, and is also more flashy overall.

Changing the Trim

It is possible to change the aluminium trim to Shadowline on a BMW. There are a few ways to do it. The correct way, and by far the most expensive, is to have the dealer or a reputable shop change the trim from chrome to Shadowline--or visa versa--with factory-made trim pieces. This will cost well over £650. The two other options are covering the chrome trim with vinyl or painting the trim with black paint. Neither of these options will result in a factory-like appearance on close inspection.

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About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.