Comparison Test: 2009 Nissan 370Z vs. 2008 BMW 135i

2008 BMW 1 Series Coupe

(3.0L 6-cyl. Twin-turbo 6-speed Manual)
  • 2008 BMW 135i vs. 2009 Nissan 370Z Comparison Test Video

    Watch the 2008 BMW 135i vs. 2009 Nissan 370Z Comparison Test Video on Edmunds' Inside Line | October 14, 2009

1 Video , 34 Photos

  • Comparison Test
  • Top 8 Features
  • Second Opinion
  • Data and Charts
  • Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation
  • 2009 Nissan 370Z Specs and Performance
  • 2008 BMW 1 Series Specs and Performance

What comes after Z?, we wondered when Nissan let the stage go black in 1996 and officially bid farewell to the Z-car at an event at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Sales of the twin-turbo 300ZX had been declining as fast as applications for library cards, so Nissan simply stopped selling the car in the U.S. It made us wonder where the Z fit in Nissan's future.

The answer came in 2002, when the Nissan 350Z appeared, a serious sports car that seemed to measure itself against the Corvette in both speed and style. It brought people back to Nissan, but lots of the young enthusiasts didn't know what an icon the Z had been for the company since its inception in 1970.

With the 2009 Nissan 370Z, all that changes. As a Z should be, the 370Z is a statement of purpose, not just another car on the showroom floor. With this second-generation version of the revitalized Z, the car has moved on from affordable performance to something that brings new descriptions into play — not only like quick, fast, strong and powerful, but also gorgeous, luxurious, nimble, graceful, delicate and smooth.

This is a car so good that it makes you wonder what kind of car it is: a sports car, a sport coupe or a muscle-bound pony car? And that's where the 2008 BMW 135i comes in, a pocket-size BMW M3 with an affordable price tag to match.

The Not-So-Secret Weapon
The 2009 Nissan 370Z is priced like a pony car, with an MSRP for the base model that will start a whisker below $30,000 (final pricing has yet to be announced before the car's official on-sale date in January). Our Z arrived with the Sport package ($3,500 est.) and a still-wet paint job in nail-polish red ($500 estimated) for an estimated total of $34,625.

During the Z-car's development, Nissan targeted the Porsche Cayman as the new Z-car's dynamic goal. But the 2009 Cayman makes only 265 horsepower from its new 2.9-liter flat-6 engine, and you'll have to up the ante by almost $10,000 for a 2009 Cayman S with 320 hp to come within reach of the Z's 332-hp 3.7-liter V6. Suddenly, you're looking at a price tag far above $50,000, and the Porsche Cayman at any price seems one-dimensional compared to the Z-car.

We found the answer in our long-term test fleet and our very own 2008 BMW 135i, with its already legendary twin-turbo 300-hp inline-6 and a $35,725 base price. (Our particular test car also includes $2,045 in options, but those are mostly dress upgrades.)

Unlike the Z-car, the BMW has a backseat, but it also has the same sense of being fully equipped with both performance and convenience equipment as the Z-car. In this it's like a baby M3, combining sports car performance with sport coupe practicality. And this is what the 2009 Nissan 370Z is after, we think.

Who Would Have Believed?
All our scurrilous suspicions about the ineffectiveness of the 370Z's negligible weight reduction over the 350Z were put to rest after the Z-car's first quarter-mile pass. The radio crackled, "High 13s! I think I can bring it down with a better bog-free launch. Beep." Sure enough, raising the rpm to about five grand before dumping the clutch let the monster 275mm-width Potenzas sing that telling tone: the one that says, "You nailed it, now just don't botch a shift, cowboy." The result is 5.1 seconds to 60 mph (4.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and the quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds at 104.6 mph. Yeow.

We went positively apoplectic when the first 2007 BMW 335i Coupe ran down a drag strip with numbers like those. Well guess what? Our daily-driver 135i nearly duplicated the Z-car's run with its own 5.1-second dash to 60 mph (4.8 seconds with 1 foot of rollout) and a quarter-mile of 13.4 seconds at 103.5 mph.

Uh-oh. That's a dead heat, and this isn't going to be an easy one to call when it comes time to put the test scores on paper, is it?

Grip 'n Grin
While the 370Z is the fastest production Z-car ever, the better news is that the heavy shifting action and equally ham-fisted steering response have been banished. What's more, adding the Sport package's upsized brakes, viscous limited-slip differential, lightweight wheels and wide tires give the Z-car some incredible stick, too.

Never mind the Cayman. Remember when a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo with its $8,800 optional carbon-ceramic brakes brought that ultraexpensive car to a halt from 60 mph in just 103 feet? This Nissan 370Z with its own brake upgrades stopped in 101 feet on the first and fifth attempts, proving highly resistant to fade. These are solid, powerful brakes that give you confidence, to be sure.

Of course, we discovered that repeated hammering on the Nissan's brake pedal deformed something in the linkage in a way that makes at least one sensor think the brake pedal is constantly on. When this happens, the throttle will default to only 20 percent input (a similar strategy to prevent unintended acceleration is featured by cars from the German manufacturers, among others). The quick fix is to simply lift the brake pedal with the toe of your left foot, and then later we taped a couple pennies between the sensor and the perch it was looking for. Apparently Nissan discovered this issue shortly after this preproduction car was built and a permanent fix has been made.

The BMW 135i wasn't napping, though. On its second and fifth braking attempts, the Bavarian repeated silent and controlled stops from 60 mph of 108 feet. The Z-car has an advantage here in tire choice, but we also found that the BMW brake system makes it a little easier to jump on the pedal and still get response that is more linear and easier to modulate.

When the slalom runs returned effectively identical speeds of 69.8 mph for the Nissan and 69.7 mph for the BMW, we couldn't help but laugh. (C'mon, these two cars are identical on paper, but they feel so different.) The tie-breaking test came on the skid pad, where the relatively small tires on the BMW manage to produce a highly respectable orbit of 0.90g that is summarily crushed by the Z's supercarlike 0.97g grip. (Where'd that come from? This thing's got brutal levels of mechanical grip.)

Charting the Differences
As we switched between these two cars over the course of several days, it was a remarkable thing to travel through space at the same rate but record two entirely different experiences. On the same roads and at the same speed, the BMW clearly values ride compliance and engine smoothness and quietness in general, while the Nissan provides unrelenting contact with the road, razor-sharp control and an unmistakable V6 soundtrack. Mark that down.

Honestly, though, the Z's exhaust sounds far better from outside than it does from within. This version of the VQ-Series V6 drones a bit, and it gets pretty tiresome with time. Speaking of tiresome, the same goes for the roar generated by the Z's huge Bridgestones, emphasis on stones. We suspect the din would be more subdued with the standard tires, but then you wouldn't have all that grip, now, would you? Mark that.

More differences were discovered when we started logging standard and optional equipment. Intelligent ignition key? Standard on the Z, optional on the 135i. The same holds true for heated seats, but then you get four in the 135i (although they're wrapped in sweat-producing leatherette unless you opt for leather). The seats in the 370Z might be cloth (you need to order the Touring model for leather) and they'll make you feel like you need to visit the gym more often, but they're also highly supportive and keep the driver in place when exploring the car's limits.

And when you look hard at an overall list of features, the Z-car looks pretty strong. (Check out our Features Comparison for a more thorough discussion.)

Say It With Style
You know Nissan "got it" from the moment you first glance at the 2009 370Z. Believe us when we say that the styling works far better in person than it does in photos, even if our award-winning photographer Scott Jacobs captures it. Those powerful wheel arches, especially on the rear of the car, give the 370Z genuine sports-car cred with one simple yet profound gesture.

The sharp character lines running down the hood are carried into a grille that has far more personality than the previous car's rectangular duct, while the 4 inches sliced out of the wheelbase enhance a kind of cohesive mechanical effect. We love it, and we'd love to see an all-black 370Z with blacked-out windows.

We can appreciate that there are some of you who believe the BMW 1 Series bears some resemblance to the car that's widely recognized as the original sport sedan, the BMW 2002, but there are also those among us who still think it looks like a potbellied pig. Sorry, but it's no breathtaking Z8, or even nearly as lust-worthy as a 335i coupe's sweeping lines. It's not going to age well, either.

Interesting? Yes. Corporate? Undoubtedly. Gorgeous? Now don't get carried away.

Are We Ever Going To Choose a Winner?
When the 2008 BMW 135i came to us, we found it to be one of the purest expressions of the BMW character since the 1971 BMW 2002 tii. Now that the novelty has worn off a bit and we've driven one for close to 15,000 miles, we still think it's a brilliant car. With a long-legged engine that's as happy at 2,000 rpm as it is at 7,000 rpm, this BMW is destined to continue to win comparison tests and conquest buyers for years to come.

The 2009 Nissan 370Z achieves the same sort of thing on the Nissan side. It's so improved in every way over the 350Z that it comes off like a completely different car. Think of the 350Z as a really long prototyping program or maybe an elaborate focus group process. It might have taken six years to work out the kinks, but man, was it worth it. It is both sports car and sport coupe, just as in Mr. K's original concept for the 1970 Datsun 240Z and very much as the BMW M3 has evolved. And it wins this comparison test.

We'll even go so far as to say that the 2009 Nissan 370Z now raises the standard for the sport coupe segment to a new level of affordable excellence. Its accessible performance alone is worthy of status as a benchmark. Its looks alone will bring people to a Nissan showroom. And the combination of the Z-car's reasonable price and fuel -efficiency (22 mpg EPA combined) will certainly get your attention.

The 2009 Nissan 370Z has the whole benchmark package wrapped up with a bow: price, exterior design, interior packaging, performance, features and that X-factor that makes you just want to go out and drive one, and drive it hard. Thinking of the Z-car as a sports car is one thing, but we can honestly say that there's not another sport coupe that can touch the new Z. Dare to compare.

The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

As sports cars go, these two coupes offer surprisingly accessible performance, but they are also expected to accommodate the needs and expectations of a modern car owner. We've put together a short list of sporting equipment that does or could improve a car's dynamic qualities, as well as overall driver convenience. Here are eight features we thought would help sort out the differences. In addition, keep in mind that either of these cars can be equipped with the following features, although it wouldn't have affected their relative scores:

  • Automatic transmission with shift paddles
  • Aux-in jack and/or iPod integration
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Leather seating
  • Navigation system
  • Xenon headlamps

Features

Features
2008 BMW 135i 2009 Nissan 370Z
Electronic matched-rev downshift N/A O
Emergency/crash assistance O* N/A
Heated seats O* S
Intelligent key O* S
Limited-slip differential N/A O
Parking sonar O* N/A
Rear seat S N/A
Upgraded wheels and tires N/A O

Key:
S: Standard
O: Optional and Equipped
O*: Optional but not Equipped
N/A: Not Available

Electronic matched-rev downshift (on a manual transmission): Auto manufacturers have cracked the code on matched-rev downshifts when it comes to automatic transmissions with torque converters and automated manual transmissions with shift paddles. But nobody, until now, has ever offered to blip your throttle pedal when it sits alongside two more pedals. Nissan now offers "SynchroRev Match" which essentially does a darned good job of heel-and-toe downshifting without requiring you to do the heel part. If you don't know what any of this means, maybe you shouldn't be buying a 370Z with a manual transmission and the sport package.

Emergency/crash assistance: Chances are that if you choose to buy one of these two cars, you're occasionally going to drive it rapidly in anger, and perhaps badly as well. BMW offers BMW Assist, which will automatically contact emergency dispatch when certain in-car sensors indicate a severe crash. The system uses a very high-powered cell phone built into the car. Don't ask why we know it works, but it does; even when typical cell phones do not. Not available on the Nissan 370Z.

Heated seats: Standard on the Nissan, optional on the BMW.

Intelligent key: Once upon a time, audio controls mounted on the steering wheel were a "wow" feature, something you'd like to see on every car. So will these so-called intelligent ignition keys as they become more mainstream. From the linty depths of your pocket or purse, they communicate with the car to allow you to unlock/lock and even start the car without the uncomfortable excavation ritual. Standard on the 370Z (nice, eh?) and optional on the 135i.

Limited-slip differential: You'd have to pony up to an M-spec car to find a limited-slip differential in a BMW. Not so with the Z-car. Opt for the sport package and you get a viscous-type LSD, the aforementioned wheel/tire upgrade and the world's first electronic matched-rev downshift.

Parking sonar: It's not just for luxury cars anymore, and the 370Z sure could use it. Optional on the BMW.

Rear seat: Standard on the BMW, not available on the 370Z — unless you count the Infiniti G37 coupe as an option.

Upgraded wheels and tires: Both the BMW and Nissan have standard summer tires (all-season tires are optional for the 135i), but there is no further sporting tire choice for the BMW. On the other hand, the Nissan test car owes much of its tremendous grip to the wider and stickier tires afforded by the available sport package. You also get forged wheels. (Note: The BMW "ZSP" sport package consists merely of smoky exterior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, increased top-speed limiter and eight-way manually adjustable sport seats — no wheels, tires, driveline or suspension upgrades are included or available.)

Lead Senior Editor Ed Hellwig says:
This wouldn't have been a very tough decision if the 370Z was nothing more than the old car with a bigger engine and some new styling. I never much cared for the 350Z. Lots of potential there, but it was always hard to exploit it. I would have chosen the 135i in a second.

But Nissan went further, much further. The 370Z feels like a real sports car, not just a Japanese muscle coupe. You can push it hard around turns without feeling like it's about to bite your head off at any moment. The steering is accurate and nicely weighted, too. And when you're not running at full speed, it's a comfortable, refined car that doesn't beat you up.

I could say almost all the same things about the 135i. It, too, is easy to drive fast and comfortable everywhere else. There's more room inside and less road noise on the highway as well. But in the end, that's why I would pick the Z. It has that edge that makes it more than just a fast daily driver. It's the opposite, a fast sports car that just happens to be comfortable enough to drive every day. It wasn't always this way with the Z, but it is now and I like it.

Dimensions
Engine & Transmission Specifications
Warranty Information
Performance Information


Dimensions

Exterior Dimensions & Capacities
2008 BMW 135i 2009 Nissan 370Z
Length, in. 172.2 167.1
Width, in. 68.8 72.6
Height, in. 55.4 51.8
Wheelbase, in. 104.7 100.4
As Tested Curb Weight, lb. 3,372 3,359
Turning Circle, ft. 35.1 34.1
Interior Dimensions
2008 BMW 135i 2009 Nissan 370Z
Max seating capacity, persons 4 2
Front headroom, in. 37.9 38.2
Rear headroom, in. 37.1 N/A
Front shoulder room, in. 54.0 54.4
Rear shoulder room, in. 53.4 N/A
Front legroom, in. 41.4 42.9
Rear legroom, in. 32.0 N/A
Cargo volume, cu-ft. 10.0 6.9

Engine & Transmission Specifications

Engine & Transmission
2008 BMW 135i 2009 Nissan 370Z
Displacement
(cc / cu-in):
2979 (182) 3696 (226)
Engine Type Twin-turbo inline-6 60-degree V6
Horsepower (SAE) @ rpm 300 @ 5,800 332 @ 7,000
Max. Torque, lb-ft @ rpm 300 @ 1,400 270 @ 5,200
Transmission 6MT 6MT
EPA Fuel Economy City, mpg 17.0 18.0
EPA Fuel Economy Hwy, mpg 25.0 26.0
Observed Fuel Economy combined, mpg 22.0 18.0

Warranty

Warranty Information
2008 BMW 135i 2009 Nissan 370Z
Basic Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain 4 years/50,000 miles 5 years/50,000 miles
Roadside Assistance 4 years/Unlimited 3 years/36,000 miles
Corrosion Protection 12 years/Unlimited 5 years/Unlimited

Performance

Performance Information
2008 BMW 135i 2009 Nissan 370Z
0-60 mph acceleration, sec. 5.1 5.1
Quarter-mile acceleration, sec. 13.4 13.4
Quarter-mile speed, mph 103.5 104.6
60-0-mph braking, feet 108 101
Lateral Acceleration, g 0.90 0.97
600-ft slalom, mph 69.7 69.8

Final Rankings

Final Rankings
Item Weight 2009 Nissan 370Z 2008 BMW 135i
Personal Rating 2.5% 83.3 66.7
Recommended Rating 2.5% 50.0 100.0
Evaluation Score 20% 75.8 79.8
Feature Content 20% 50.0 29.2
Performance 20% 100.0 94.3
Fuel Consumption 15% 100.0 90.0
Price 20% 100.0 90.9
Total Score 100.0% 83.5 76.5
Final Ranking 1 2

Personal Rating (2.5%): Purely subjective. After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she would buy if money were no object.

Recommended Rating (2.5%): After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she thought would be better for the average consumer shopping in this segment, including that car-savvy relative or family friend who has our number on speed dial. We get this all the time.

28-Point Evaluation (20%): Each participating editor ranked both vehicles based on a comprehensive 28-point evaluation. The evaluation covered everything from exterior design and transmission performance to button wobble and stability. Scoring was calculated on a point system, and the scores listed are averages based on all test participants' evaluations.

Feature Content (20%): In terms of feature content, the editors picked features they thought had boosted (or reduced in their absence) the two coupes' performances, as well as those features that would enhance comfort and convenience for the average sports car buyer. For each vehicle, the score was based on the number of actual features it had versus the total possible (8). Standard and optional equipment were taken into consideration.

Performance Testing (20%): For this particular comparison, we've weighted the vehicles' track performances greater than we would, say, for minivans, but equal to other important categories for sport coupes. Flat-out acceleration, braking and handling tests were performed in a controlled environment by the same driver on the same day.

Fuel Consumption (15%): We suspect people shopping in this segment care only a little less about fuel economy than they do about the price, performance and features, so this category was weighted appropriately. Using the EPA combined fuel economy ratings as the basis for fuel consumption comparison, we awarded a score of 100 percent to the more fuel-efficient vehicle. The less efficient vehicle was scored proportionally based on how close it came to the better-performing vehicle's fuel consumption.

Price (20%): The numbers listed were the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the less expensive vehicle in the comparison test. Using the "as tested" prices of the actual evaluation vehicles, the less expensive vehicle received a score of 100, with the remaining vehicle receiving a lesser score based on how much each one costs. Because the price of the 2009 370Z's Sport package option has not yet been announced, we consulted our mole inside Nissan to confirm our $3,500 estimate.

Vehicle
Model year2009
MakeNissan
Model370Z
Style2dr Hatchback (3.7L 6cyl 6M)
Base MSRP$29,930
Options on test vehicleSport Package (includes viscous limited-slip differential, 19-inch forged alum alloy wheels, Bridgestone RE050A tires, Nissan Sport Brakes, chin spoiler, rear spoiler, SynchroRev Match); Nogaro Red Paint.
As-tested MSRP$34,625 (est)
Drivetrain
Drive typeRear-wheel drive
Engine type60-degree V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in)3,696cc (226 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/Aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, infinitely variable intake-valve timing and lift
Compression ratio (x:1)11.0:1
Redline (rpm)7,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)332 @ 7,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)270 @ 5,200
Transmission type6-speed manual
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 3.794, II = 2.324, III = 1.624, IV = 1.271, V = 1.000, VI = 0.794, FD = 3.446, R = 3.446
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, double wishbone, coil spring and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, coil spring and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-proportional hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)14.7:1
Tire brandBridgestone
Tire modelPotenza RE050A
Tire typeSummer Performance
Tire size, front245/40R19 94W (35 psi)
Tire size, rear275/35R19 96W (35 psi)
Wheel size19-by-9 inches front -- 19-by-10 inches rear
Wheel materialForged aluminum alloy
Brakes, front14.0-inch ventilated disc with 4-piston fixed aluminum caliper
Brakes, rear13.8-inch ventilated disc with 2-piston fixed aluminum caliper
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3.4
0-60 mph (sec.)5.1
0-75 mph (sec.)7.5
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)13.4 @ 104.6
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)4.9
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)26
60-0 mph (ft.)101
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)69.8
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.97
Sound level @ idle (dB)47.4
@ Full throttle (dB)83.1
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)71
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsLow-spin launches resulted in big bog. With so much rear grip and modest torque, it takes a ton of revs to get the rears to scratch and spin (about 5K-5,500 rpm). Even so, they hook up pretty early on, so a bog is not far away. Pedals vibrate like crazy and the shifter only slightly less so. Shifts are much smoother and slicker than those of a 350Z. I like the short throws, especially good for the 2-3 shift. Power falls off slightly in upper revs. Not sure if it made a difference or not, but I got my best run with the shift mode in sport (isnt that only for match-rev downshifts?). In this mode, however, when I popped it out of gear at the end of the quarter-mile, the engine zinged up to redline (it didnt do this in non-sport mode). Had to go to 4th gear for the quarter-mile. Loud, but not in a cool, sports car kind of way. Sounds labored and doesn't rev freely.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsYep, it's got 'em alright. Firm pedal only gets rock hard under full ABS. Zero flutter or hum. Straight, short, fade-free. "Worst" stop was 105 feet. Near-zero idle stroke.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsEver-so-slight understeer on the limit, but you can't drive through and kick the tail out. In the end, it just blazes around in total control with minor adjustments through throttle input. Slalom: Steering is still a little heavy for my liking, but it's WAY better than that of a 350Z. The car still feels heavy, however, shifting the palpable mass from side to side with a very flat attitude. What starts out feeling like a car with a potential to spin turns out to be quite trustworthy. Again, found mild understeer on the limit that was difficult to drive through. The car didn't manage the dip/hop at cone #3 well at all, making me late for cone #4. I had to get pretty deliberate with my inputs to manage rotation on the final cone, but it worked quite well. Don't know if it has one, but the 370Z sure feels like it has an LSD that keeps the slide predictable and controlled. I'm certain this car could get a quicker run on a flatter surface.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)80.6
Wind (mph, direction)N/A
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)18 city/26 highway/22 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)14 worst/23 best/18 average
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)19
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,232
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,359
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)55/45
Length (in.)167.1
Width (in.)72.6
Height (in.)51.8
Wheelbase (in.)100.4
Track, front (in.)61.0 (with 18-inch wheels), N/A (with 19-inch wheels)
Track, rear (in.)62.8 (with 18-inch wheels), N/A (with 19-inch wheels)
Turning circle (ft.)32.8 (with 18-inch wheels), 34.1 (with 19-inch wheels)
Legroom, front (in.)42.9
Headroom, front (in.)38.2
Shoulder room, front (in.)54.4
Seating capacity2
Cargo volume (cu-ft)6.9
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)Not applicable
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain5 years/60,000 miles
Corrosion5 years/unlimited mileage
Roadside assistance3 years/36,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot Available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard side airbags
Head airbagsStandard head airbags
Knee airbagsNot Available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBraking assist (BA), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionNot Available
Tire-pressure monitoring systemStandard tire-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemNot Available
NHTSA crash test, driverNot Tested
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot Tested
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot Tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot Tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot Tested
Vehicle
Model year2008
MakeBMW
Model1 Series
Style135i 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
Base MSRP$35,725
Options on test vehicleMetallic Paint, Power Front Seats With Driver Seat Memory, Light Burl Walnut Trim, Glacier Silver Aluminum Trim
As-tested MSRP$37,770
Drivetrain
Drive typeRear-wheel drive
Engine typeDirect-injected twin-turbocharged inline-6
Displacement (cc/cu-in)2,979cc/(182 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/Aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, 4 valves per cylinder with infinitely variable intake/exhaust-valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)10.2:1
Redline (rpm)7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)300 @ 5,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)300 @ 1,400
Transmission type6-speed manual
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 4.055, II = 2.396, III = 1.582, IV = 1.192, V = 1.000, VI = 0.872, FD = 3.08, R = 3.677
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-proportional hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)16.0:1
Tire brandBridgestone
Tire modelPotenza RE050A
Tire typeSummer Performance run-flat
Tire size, front215/40R18 85Y (36 psi)
Tire size, rear245/35R18 88Y (36 psi)
Wheel size18-by-7.5 inches front -- 18-by-8.5 inches rear
Wheel materialCast aluminum alloy
Brakes, front13.3-inch ventilated disc with 6-piston fixed aluminum calipers
Brakes, rear12.8-inch ventilated disc with 2-piston fixed aluminum calipers
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3.5
0-60 mph (sec.)5.1
0-75 mph (sec.)7.4
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)13.4 @ 103.5
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)4.8
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)27
60-0 mph (ft.)108
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)69.7
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.9
Sound level @ idle (dB)49.8
@ Full throttle (dB)76
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)67.5
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsPretty tricky to launch because you want boost, but not too much that you light up one tire (no LSD, bummer). Once it's under way, however, its silky smooth rush of torque and horsepower is intoxicating. Longish shift throws aren't optimal for a drag race and there's some resistance going into the gates.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsExcellent feel and effectiveness. No drama. No fade. Intuitive jump-in. Consistent from first to last stop.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsSkid pad: Very mild understeer on the limit with only a little ability to tuck the nose in off-throttle. The slow-ish throttle response hurts it a little in this regard. Slalom: The 135 feels too tall to be capable of this kind of transitional quickness, but it somehow does it. Friction-free steering is a welcome departure from too heavy for heavy sake. This car has an obvious athleticism that allows for subtleties in driving technique that many similarly marketed cars do not. Everything the driver does has an immediate and definite effect on the handling (e.g. throttle position, steering input, throttle input...). A little more tire or an LSD would make it brilliant.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)80.8
Wind (mph, direction)N/A
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)17 city/25 highway/20 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)16 worst/26 best/22 average
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)14
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,373
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,372
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)53/47
Length (in.)172.2
Width (in.)68.8
Height (in.)55.4
Wheelbase (in.)104.7
Track, front (in.)57.9
Track, rear (in.)58.9
Turning circle (ft.)35.1
Legroom, front (in.)41.4
Legroom, rear (in.)32
Headroom, front (in.)37.9
Headroom, rear (in.)37.1
Shoulder room, front (in.)54
Shoulder room, rear (in.)53.4
Seating capacity4
Cargo volume (cu-ft)10
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)Standard 60/40 split-fold seats, no data provided
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years/50,000 miles
Corrosion12 years/unlimited mileage
Roadside assistance4 years/Unlimited miles
Free scheduled maintenance4 years/50,000 miles
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot Available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBraking assist (BA), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), start-off assist, brake drying, brake stand-by
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionStandard
Tire-pressure monitoring systemStandard tire pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemOptional, requires subscription
NHTSA crash test, driverNot Tested
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot Tested
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot Tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot Tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot Tested
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2008 BMW 1 Series in VA is:

$129 per month*
* Explanation
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