BMW 135i 2008 Review

BMW 135i 2008 Review

bmw-135i

If there was ever a car that wasn’t completely upfront about its ability, that car would be the BMW 135i. There’s little about the new coupe’s benign styling that hints at its true nature and a bloodline that flows back to a brutal BMW of the early 1970s, and it’s not until you get up close to the 135i that you can spot the traits of an alter ego. Chunky twin exhaust pipes, 245-wide rear rubber, giant front brakes and a discreet front-mounted intercooler set the car off from its executive-spec siblings. These are the underpinnings of a purebred performance machine, and that’s exactly what the understated but highly rated 135i is all about.

Built on the celebrated 1 Series front engine, rear-wheel-drive chassis, the coupe is a special car designed to capture some of the true essence of the quirky 2002 Series BMWs of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Those cars were all about an unadulterated driving experience ” and none more so than the evil 2002 turbo version born in ’72 that this 135i was modelled upon.

From a design perspective, BMW has seemingly achieved what it set out to do, creating a unique-looking coupe with compact dimensions and strong (albeit somewhat awkward) angular lines. We like it.

But this BMW’s beauty is more than skin deep. For a car with proportions as petite as the 135i’s, you’d expect to find a four-cylinder engine slotted between the uprights ” a fact true of all the other 1 Series variants. But just like it did with the wicked 2002 Turbo of yesteryear, BMW has taken it to the extreme and instead squeezed in something a little more fitting for a performance car ” the 3.0-litre twin turbo from the ruthlessly quick BMW 335i. The straight six DOHC 24V mill is an impressive piece of technology-rich kit that literally blew away the competition in 2007 to win the coveted International Engine of the Year award. That’s thanks to a pair of low-mass turbochargers and a front-mounted air-to-air intercooler providing the grunt, and BMW’s famed High Precision Injection ” which sees fuel injected at just two milligrams per injection through a piezo injector centrally positioned between intake valves ” that keeps fuel usage to a minimum. It also just happens to be one of the best sounding engines ever. And the numbers speak for themselves. In the power stakes the boosted six generates 225kW (305hp) at 5800rpm. Torque arrives from a lowly 1300rpm to deliver a whopping 400Nm right the way through to 5000rpm. It’s this linear delivery that makes the 135i such a stunning thing to drive and able to eclipse the 0-100kph sprint in just 5.3 seconds flat ” less than half a second off a new BMW M3’s pace. Keep your foot right up it and the 135i will wind out to a factory-governed 250kph top speed. In our G-Timer tests the standing, straight line quarter mile was dispatched in around 13.5 seconds, which isn’t bad at all for a fully optioned (and we mean fully optioned) car that tips the scales at a rotund 1500kg.

Where the 135i really excels, however, is through the corners. For a high-power rear-wheel-drive machine it hangs on well ” something to do with a perfect 50/50 weight balance, rigid chassis, M-tuned suspension and its big bite on the road. Punch out of the bends is outstanding, and the brakes ” big six-pot jobs on the front end ” are equally superb. Switch off the DTC and the 135i has the all the aptitude to satisfy the cravings of those with a penchant for opposite lock action ” and it does it in style.

With an $80,000-odd price tag the BMW 135i is not for everyone, myself included, unfortunately. But for the money, you’re getting an immense amount of car, and one that, just like the famed 2002 Turbo, is sure to become a future classic.

BMW 135i (2008) – Specifications

Engine: BMW 3.0-litre DOHC 24V inline six, alloy block, 10.2:1 compression ratio, variable valve timing, 2x low-mass turbochargers, air-to-air intercooler, High Precision Injection, twin exhaust system

Driveline: BMW 6-speed Steptronic auto

Suspension: Front — independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, dual-pivot split lower control arms, stabiliser bar, Rear — independent, multilink, coil springs, stabiliser bar

Brakes: Front — BMW 6-pot callipers, 338mm ventilated discs, Rear — BMW 2-pot callipers, 325mm ventilated discs, ABS, EBD, EBA

Exterior: BMW M front/rear bumpers, M boot spoiler

Interior: Full leather trim, M steering wheel, M sill strips, BMW Professional series CD/iPod audio system

Wheels/Tyres: Front — 18×7.5-inch BMW lightweight alloys, Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 215/40R18 tyres, Rear — 18×8.5-inch BMW lightweight alloys, Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 245/35R18 tyres

Performance: 225kW, 0-100kph — 5.3 seconds, Top Speed — 250kph (limited)

Price As Tested: $81,500 auto ($78,500 6MT)

Words Brad Lord, Photos Dan Wakelin

bmw-135i

If there was ever a car that wasn’t completely upfront about its ability, that car would be the BMW 135i. There’s little about the new coupe’s benign styling that hints at its true nature and a bloodline that flows back to a brutal BMW of the early 1970s, and it’s not until you get up close to the 135i that you can spot the traits of an alter ego. Chunky twin exhaust pipes, 245-wide rear rubber, giant front brakes and a discreet front-mounted intercooler set the car off from its executive-spec siblings. These are the underpinnings of a purebred performance machine, and that’s exactly what the understated but highly rated 135i is all about.

Built on the celebrated 1 Series front engine, rear-wheel-drive chassis, the coupe is a special car designed to capture some of the true essence of the quirky 2002 Series BMWs of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Those cars were all about an unadulterated driving experience ” and none more so than the evil 2002 turbo version born in ’72 that this 135i was modelled upon.

From a design perspective, BMW has seemingly achieved what it set out to do, creating a unique-looking coupe with compact dimensions and strong (albeit somewhat awkward) angular lines. We like it.

But this BMW’s beauty is more than skin deep. For a car with proportions as petite as the 135i’s, you’d expect to find a four-cylinder engine slotted between the uprights ” a fact true of all the other 1 Series variants. But just like it did with the wicked 2002 Turbo of yesteryear, BMW has taken it to the extreme and instead squeezed in something a little more fitting for a performance car ” the 3.0-litre twin turbo from the ruthlessly quick BMW 335i. The straight six DOHC 24V mill is an impressive piece of technology-rich kit that literally blew away the competition in 2007 to win the coveted International Engine of the Year award. That’s thanks to a pair of low-mass turbochargers and a front-mounted air-to-air intercooler providing the grunt, and BMW’s famed High Precision Injection ” which sees fuel injected at just two milligrams per injection through a piezo injector centrally positioned between intake valves ” that keeps fuel usage to a minimum. It also just happens to be one of the best sounding engines ever. And the numbers speak for themselves. In the power stakes the boosted six generates 225kW (305hp) at 5800rpm. Torque arrives from a lowly 1300rpm to deliver a whopping 400Nm right the way through to 5000rpm. It’s this linear delivery that makes the 135i such a stunning thing to drive and able to eclipse the 0-100kph sprint in just 5.3 seconds flat ” less than half a second off a new BMW M3’s pace. Keep your foot right up it and the 135i will wind out to a factory-governed 250kph top speed. In our G-Timer tests the standing, straight line quarter mile was dispatched in around 13.5 seconds, which isn’t bad at all for a fully optioned (and we mean fully optioned) car that tips the scales at a rotund 1500kg.

Where the 135i really excels, however, is through the corners. For a high-power rear-wheel-drive machine it hangs on well ” something to do with a perfect 50/50 weight balance, rigid chassis, M-tuned suspension and its big bite on the road. Punch out of the bends is outstanding, and the brakes ” big six-pot jobs on the front end ” are equally superb. Switch off the DTC and the 135i has the all the aptitude to satisfy the cravings of those with a penchant for opposite lock action ” and it does it in style.

With an $80,000-odd price tag the BMW 135i is not for everyone, myself included, unfortunately. But for the money, you’re getting an immense amount of car, and one that, just like the famed 2002 Turbo, is sure to become a future classic.

BMW 135i (2008) – Specifications

Engine: BMW 3.0-litre DOHC 24V inline six, alloy block, 10.2:1 compression ratio, variable valve timing, 2x low-mass turbochargers, air-to-air intercooler, High Precision Injection, twin exhaust system

Driveline: BMW 6-speed Steptronic auto

Suspension: Front — independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, dual-pivot split lower control arms, stabiliser bar, Rear — independent, multilink, coil springs, stabiliser bar

Brakes: Front — BMW 6-pot callipers, 338mm ventilated discs, Rear — BMW 2-pot callipers, 325mm ventilated discs, ABS, EBD, EBA

Exterior: BMW M front/rear bumpers, M boot spoiler

Interior: Full leather trim, M steering wheel, M sill strips, BMW Professional series CD/iPod audio system

Wheels/Tyres: Front — 18×7.5-inch BMW lightweight alloys, Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 215/40R18 tyres, Rear — 18×8.5-inch BMW lightweight alloys, Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 245/35R18 tyres

Performance: 225kW, 0-100kph — 5.3 seconds, Top Speed — 250kph (limited)

Price As Tested: $81,500 auto ($78,500 6MT)

Words Brad Lord, Photos Dan Wakelin

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