BMW’s small 1 Series debuted in the U.S. for 2008 as a coupe and a convertible. The up-level 135i is powered by a new 300-horsepower inline-six-cylinder engine with one turbocharger instead of two that drives the rear wheels. A less expensive 128i covered separately in the Cars.com Research section is also offered. The 135i competes with performance cars like the Nissan 370Z and Audi TT.
In addition to the new 3.0-liter engine for the 135i, an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission replaces the six-speed automatic. BMW also added some features to option packages.
Compared to the 3 Series coupe, the 135i features a more upright grille and a C-pillar that’s not as sleekly styled. A pronounced sheet metal crease runs the length of the coupe’s sides, which are otherwise relatively smooth.
- Adaptive xenon headlights follow the direction of the steering wheel
- Available automatic high-beam headlights
- 135i adds an aero kit that BMW says provides greater downforce and improved brake cooling
- 18-inch wheels are standard on coupe, available on convertible
- Heated side mirrors and heated windshield washer jets
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Convertible features power-operated soft-top that BMW says can open or close in 22 seconds
Front occupants sit on bucket seats, and there’s room for two in the backseat.
- Auxiliary jack for connecting an MP3 player
- 60/40-split folding rear seat can expand the coupe’s trunk
- Optional Sport Package includes sport seats with more aggressive bolstering
- Convertible’s leather seats have BMW’s Sun Reflective Technology, which is designed to lower the temperature of seats exposed to sunlight
- Optional navigation system equips the 1 Series with BMW’s iDrive control system
- Standard HD radio
The 135i’s new 3.0-liter inline-six uses a single turbocharger instead of two as on the previous version, but it retains the same power ratings: 300 hp and 300 pounds-feet of torque. BMW says the new engine is more efficient.
- 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine
- Rear-wheel drive
- Six-speed manual or new seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission
- Optional paddle shifters for automatic transmission
- Optional Active Steering system can adjust how much the car turns for a given turn of the steering wheel
- Compared to the 128i, the 135i has a stiffer sport suspension and performance brakes
Safety features include:
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags for front and rear occupants
- Electronic stability system
- Antilock brakes
- Convertible loses the side curtain airbags but keeps the side-impact airbags and features pop-up roll bars