2008 BMW 135i: Cruise Paddle a Dying Breed?
March 23, 2009
Our longterm 2008 BMW 135i is equipped with what has been dubbed The BMW Paddle, aka indisputably the best cruise control interface known to humankind. I've extolled its virtues back when we had our 330i, and it's still the best:
1. It is large enough to be readily accessed yet remains unobtrusive. Never fiddly like so many other cruise interfaces.
2. It is always on--you don't ever need to turn it on with a separate button before you turn it on by settting your speed.
3. It is intuitive--you simply press the paddle away from you to increase speed and pull it towards you to slow. Use either of these motions to set the speed. Push it up or down to cancel. Done. Simple. Versatile.
Unfortunately, it appears BMW may be phasing out The Paddle if the latest generation of their flagship 7 Series is any indication--they've moved the cruise to the steering wheel. Worse yet, their implementation in the 7 lacks tactility, so you have to look at the buttons to use it.
Even the 1 Series paddle here appears to have been somewhat de-contented--it lacks earlier Paddles' ability to adjust speed (up OR down) in 5-mph chunks via a second detent in the paddle's fore-aft movement. Hmph.
Yeah, I'm kind of a cruise snob. But I still dig me some 135i paddle.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 19,073 miles.