June 6, 2011

BMW 135i


                Swinging back by the BMW dealership last week, where the receptionist doesn’t know that “Beemer” is slang for BMW, we drove a 135i coupe.  The receptionist is not a reflection of any of the vehicles that we have driven (Call us if you want us to name drop you here, Baron BMW.).  The 135i was truly inspiring.

                The interior is the German standard simple meets modern but looks complicated.  Even though the car was an automatic it was equipped with the dual clutch paddle shifters and a push button start/stop on the dash.  The push button was really cool two years ago, but now we are starting to be less “wowed” by it.  The fact that the Prius has one kind of makes the process less cool. 
                The instrument panel was easy to read.  The gear indicator was large and in-charge, located between the speedometer and the tachometer.  There are no full-sized adults who can sit in the rear seat behind me.  It's pretty much kids only!  There are two sets of latch points, so if you have two small children you can make them car sick with your aggressive driving style, while being secure in the knowledge that they’re not going anywhere. 

                The 135i is smaller than the M3 and only comes in a Coupe or a Convertible.  There wasn’t room on this frame for four doors, plus it would make the car fatter and self conscious, we meant heavier.  The front of the 135i looks like someone who’s a bit slow staring at you open-mouthed (that’s not right…).
The good news is that while driving the 135i you won’t have to look at it.  Unless you are truly riding someone’s tail, but then again you deserve to suffer a little if you’re that big of an !@$. 

This is what shows up on Google images when you search "confused slow person."
                BMW’s have a dual clutch system that we have slowly warmed up to.  The 135i has the same transmission as the M3, but a flat 6 instead of the M3’s V8.  The M3 possessed amazing torque (how quickly you can accelerate) from 3,500 to 5,500 rpms.  The 1-series showed great torque on the lower side of the tach.  Between 2 and 3 thousand rpms the 1-series has some serious acceleration.  In a drag race between the 1-series and the M3, the 135i would win off the line.  As long as you stop the race quickly after that the 1-series will be the winner.  Over a true quarter mile, the M3 will catch up and treat you like a second class citizen or maybe third or fourth class depending on how long you race. 
                The 135i’s twin turbo powered flat six produces 300hp to the M3’s 414hp.  The low profile tires and paddle shifters made us feel slightly like a NASCAR driver incognito.  We know most of those guys drive Vets, Camaros, and Mustangs, but we loved this little 1-series.  Thank you, Kyle Bush, for supporting the stereotype that all NASCAR drivers are crazy, hell-bent speed maniacs…  Seriously, 128mph in a 45 zone.  The 135i has also been compared to the Porsche Cayman S for performance levels.  We recently drove a Cayman S and were underwhelmed.  The 135i seemed quicker and more exciting.

                The price tag difference is enormous between the M3, Cayman, and 1-series.  The M3 retails around $70,000 with the Cayman starting around $62,000, while the 135i we drove could be had for around $35,000.  The real difference here is where you want to drive your BMW.  If you are planning on spending your non-working days at the track driving your BMW hard, we suggest the M3.  If it’s back roads where the speed limit tops out around 55mph, then the quick acceleration of the 1 series and the tight steering will send you to driver Valhalla.  The 135i is the daily driver that will make you feel like the King of the Road while getting 28mpg on the highway.  Saving money on the sticker price and at the pump, while not sacrificing drivability; it’s logical which one to go with!  We’d still have the M3…

1 comment:

  1. Yep the Lotus Elise was one of the first to have push to start in 2005 (one of my favorite cars for FUN). Now it's on some minivan/cross what ya ma-call it. Was cool now it's a bit drool.

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