Barmy Bavar­ian

It’s a rip­ping reardrive com­pact coupe — ba­si­cally a clas­sic BMW

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­


Take a small, com­pact rear­wheel drive coupe, slip a re­spon­sive chas­sis un­der it with big wheels and brakes, then stuff an awe­some twin­tur­bocharged six-cylin­der en­gine un­der the bon­net and you’ve got the mak­ings of an ex­cit­ing sports car.

That’s what BMW did in pro­duc­ing the 135i sports coupe, and the re­sult was spec­tac­u­lar.

BMW has al­ways been at its best when build­ing cars with a sporty edge and it was true to form with the 135i.

The com­pact 135i was a twodoor coupe based on the rear­wheel drive 1 Se­ries plat­form.

Its lines were still sleek and pur­pose­ful, its pan­els tightly wrapped around the big al­loy wheels at each cor­ner, and the BMW kid­ney grille was fea­tured at the front. The great news was un­der the bon­net in the form of BMWs thun­der­ing twin-tur­bocharged 3.0-litre straight six-cylin­der en­gine.

When run­ning at its peak, it put out 225kW and an earth­mov­ing 400Nm, with the max­i­mum torque on tap from 1500rpm- 5000rpm.

BMW has long been renowned for its straight six­cylin­der en­gines and the tur­bocharged item in the 135i was a gem. It pulled like a train and there were none of the vices some­times as­so­ci­ated with a tur­bocharged en­gine.

With all that avail­able un­der your right foot, it was pos­si­ble urge the 1485kg coupe from 0-100km/h in a touch over five 5.0 sec­onds. The 135i coupe was clearly no slouch.

Even with that scin­til­lat­ing per­for­mance the 135i could be an eco­nom­i­cal cruiser, with BMW claim­ing it would do 9.6L/100km on a com­bined cy­cle. The trans­mis­sion op­tions were a six-speed sports auto and a six-speed man­ual, with an elec­tronic diff lock to keep a check on the fi­nal drive.

On the road the 135i was ag­ile and re­spon­sive. It could change di­rec­tion quickly and with im­pres­sive pre­ci­sion.

One of the few things de­serv­ing of crit­i­cism was the ride qual­ity, which was firm thanks to the sport­ing sus­pen­sion and the stan­dard run-flat tyres.

The cabin was stylish and com­fort­able, front pas­sen­gers had plenty of head­room but the rear was a tri­fle cramped. Be­yond the cabin the boot space wasn’t great, even through there was no spare.


The neat thing about buy­ing a used pres­tige car is that you can usu­ally pick them up for a frac­tion of their orig­i­nal new price.

That’s cer­tainly the case with the 135i where you can own a 2008 model for about half as much as the orig­i­nal owner would have paid.

While that seems a great deal you do have to keep in mind that a 2008 135i is now six years old and will have done up­wards of 100,000km.

That’s not a lot of kays, but it is enough to is­sue a word of cau­tion to any­one look­ing to buy one.

BMWs are ba­si­cally solid and re­li­able, they rarely de­velop any squeaks or creaks in the body un­til quite high kays, so you could ex­pect to find a tight and quiet car at the sort of kays an aver­age 135i will have done.

If there are creaks, rat­tles, or creaks take a good look at the body­work; you might sus­pect that the car has been in­volved in a crash.

Ser­vic­ing can be ex­pen­sive, so too can the parts when needed for re­pairs. It's a good idea to cosy up to a me­chanic with BMW ex­pe­ri­ence.

They are not only on top of the ser­vic­ing and re­pairs of the cars; they are usu­ally able to source more af­ford­able parts. Check for a ser­vice record to make sure your cho­sen car has been prop­erly main­tained.

The 135i is a high per­for­mance car, so look for signs the ex­am­ple you’re con­sid­er­ing has been thrashed; if you sus­pect as much, walk away.


If you like a fast and fu­ri­ous ride, con­sider the 135i. With its great en­gine and bril­liant chas­sis, its awe­some.

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