Continuing with the race car-like performance, the handling was precise and almost stiff, exactly what you want for high speed maneuvering. At speed, the diving wheel conveyed serenity and mastery, letting you know it was ready to take you wherever you directed. Parking lot navigation took a little more effort, but nothing significant. The suspension telegraphed every bump in the road straight to your spine, keeping you very aware of road conditions. Sections of highway that I had never considered rough felt jarring in this high-strung coupe. Turns were eaten up with only the slightest lean, keeping you stable and ready for the next straightaway. All in all, the 135i measured up to my high expectations of BMW handling and control.
The 135i continues BMW’s style language from its 3-series with a combination of curves and edges to convey power and elegance. The shorter length and somewhat tapered rear reinforce the concept of brawny horsepower under the seemingly wide hood. The trunk space suffers slightly with this design, but it still accommodated one set of golf clubs (although the driver had to be removed and stored separately). In a bright crimson red, the car I drove had an aura of aggressiveness that matched well with its capabilities.
The 135i offers those seeking driving excellence a good bargain, but it is a considerable premium over lesser cars. The power, handling and focus on driving deliver a thrilling driving experience. I was always smiling when walking away from the car from the sheer joy of that much power under my control. Of the minor complaints that I noted, they all can be summed up as ‘not important’ for a speed junkie. The car does offer a high-quality look and feel, as expected from a premium brand like BMW.
Who should buy it?
This car is designed for drivers who relish fun behind the wheel. It is not intended for cruising the HOV lane during weekday commute hours or toting toddlers (although it does offer LATCH connections for some reason). Alternatively, it makes for a great second car for someone interested in weekend thrills for a price well below a Mercedes-Benz C63. Buyers (and future owners) of the 1-Series clearly value driving fun and performance over more practical needs.
If you desire something beyond the sterility of the Japanese competitors, the BMW 1-Series has a European savoir-fare that the Infiniti G37 or Lexus IS 350 can’t match. The Cadillac CTS has the performance numbers to be a contendor, but it has to get beyond the stigma of Caddies being fit for the geriatric crowd. Walk into a Cadillac dealership and take an informal poll of the customers sipping coffee in the service area. How many are showing off photos of their grandchildren?
The 2008 135i coupe excels at being a speed demon while staying in control. Small, powerful and responsive, it delivers a thrilling ride. Ideal for someone who focuses on the journey between point A and point B, this car makes you consider going to point C just to make the trip longer. I found myself taking the long way to places just to be able to spend more time behind the wheel. If I had the extra cash to keep a car for weekend drives, I’d certainly consider this exciting coupe.
|The official BMW of North America website – www.bmwusa.com|
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