The budget-friendly 135i is the perfect BMW for those on a budget: fast, fun and affordable. In the midst of the financial crisis, an expensive BMW is the last purchase most consumers would consider, even for those who have always dreamed of owning a “Bimmer”. BMW’s timing was perfect last spring when the German firm introduced its new, compact 1 Series, 128i and 135i. They’re not exactly economy models, but they offer better performance compared to the 328i and 335i, at a better price. Either way is a feat.
Obviously, there is a “but”. The 135i is smaller than its sister, the 335i coupé. Space in the front seats is much the same, in the rear as well (rather cramped space in both vehicles), partly because BMW has cleverly scalloped the backs of the front seats and the roof to save space. extra space. The main difference is that the rear seats of the 135i have about 8 cm less at the shoulders, which makes it more cramped. The 135i can accommodate 4 people, but children will be much more comfortable in the back than adults. If you carpool often, or if the family is growing, it would make a perfect second car.
The 135i weighs about 65 kg less than its counterpart, which makes it faster. It goes from 0 to 60 km/h in 5.1 seconds, or 2 tenths of a second more than the 335i. Add to that the sporty suspension and the aerodynamic trunk, and the small car becomes a sporty one too.
You can choose the Mini Cooper Clubman S (made by BMW) instead. However, the Series 1, although small, is about 45cm longer than the Clubman. It’s also a classic ‘Bimmer’, based on the 2002 model, one of the greatest cars ever built. It’s not for nothing that the 135i was cited by Consumer Reports in its top 100 compact and sporty vehicles.
The 1 series has the same engine as the 3 series: 3 liters, 300 horsepower twin turbo and naturally aspirated for the 135i and a 230 horsepower version for the 128i. The 6-speed shift lever is standard. A sequential (6-speed) gearbox is available as an option for $1,325.
Basically, it’s a less expensive 3-series coupe. The 2008 vintage 135i has a starting price of $35,725 and $39,925 for the convertible model. That’s $6-10,000 less than the 325i which starts at $42,025 for the coupe and $50,325 for the convertible model. The BMW 128i vintage 2008 starts at 29,425 dollars and 33,925 dollars for the convertible model.
Because it is a new model, the 2009 vintage will be very similar to that of 2008. However, keep in mind that BMW has already announced a general increase of 2.1% on the prices of its models of 2009, which will soon represent an increase of 700 dollars on the 135i.
The Series 1 was released in the United States last spring and so far only 9,280 models have been sold. This isn’t a bad result, but it does make the 1 series a niche product alongside the 3 series, of which 88,270 models sold until the end of September. The average age of 135i buyers is just 43, which is four years younger than the average age of 128i buyers.
We tested the BMW 135i between northeast Pennsylvania and Michigan. It’s a marvelous machine, clocking up the miles as well as a 335i, maybe a little better.
It’s a small car (only 4.37m long) but it feels safe. BMW’s selling point has always been that speed and handling are safety features and you really feel that you can accelerate, brake and swerve and get by in any situation. . Among other qualities, highway acceleration is excellent (which is why our tester, usually a reasonable driver, was fined $165).
The interior of the 135i is similar to that of the 335i, although a bit more cramped. Our test car was clean and very classy with its gray leather interior and wood moldings. The options cost as much as the Series 3, which means they are more than expensive. On the other hand, an option that is undoubtedly worth the detour: the Sport Pack at $1,100, which adds a leather steering wheel and manually adjustable seats in 8 different ways with additional bolsters.
There’s a lot more storage and storage space in a 135i than in larger cars. The designers succeeded in inserting two can holders at the front of the vehicle by encasing one by a link attached to the center console on the passenger side. On the other hand, it will be necessary to lift the armrest to have access to the second, which is located in the console behind the handbrake.
The rear seats are foldable and there is a passage from the trunk to the passenger compartment which can accommodate skis and other long objects. The trunk is barely smaller than that of a 335i.
A few weeks ago, before the financial crisis hit its peak, Series 1 was selling worse than it does today. The 135i sells for an average of $42,591 which is $5,000 below the average selling price of the 335i. These days, saving $5 or $6,000 is no longer trivial. If you prefer the larger 3-series, and pure speed isn’t your top priority, the 2008 328i sells for about the same price as the 135i. The 328i goes from 0 to 60 km/h in 6 seconds which is very respectable. If your budget is really tight then consider the 128i, which has an average retail price of $37,481. And don’t forget that prices are up 2.1% on next year’s models.
An equally capable and less expensive alternative is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, the 2008 version of which retails for an average of $36,000.
The BMW 335i is a wonderful car and many would love to own one. But you lose nothing by buying a 135i, except maybe a little space and a lot less money.