2008 BMW 1 Series Long Term Road Test


2008 BMW 135i: From the Big Daddy to Baby Bimmer

February 26, 2009

2008 BMW 135i

I've spent the better part of a week cruising around in the all-new BMW 750i, the flagship of the Bimmer line -- the big daddy if you will. There are certainly worse ways to spend time on the road. Then as fate would have it, I got handed the keys to the opposite end of the family, our long-term BMW 135i. I was going from the big daddy to baby Bimmer.

No longer would I have heated and cooled 39-way power seats. No navigation system with (surprise!) useable iDrive and 12-inch widescreen display. No HD or satellite radio. No rear steering. No adjustable suspension, steering, throttle or transmission settings. Speaking of transmission, I'd actually have to shift for myself. No habitable back seat with power sunshades. No leather upholstery and swanky stitched dashtop. No Black Panel super gauge cluster.

In other words, I was missing a whole lot of stuff. And yet (you knew this was coming), I was perfectly content.

There's something about stripping away all the distractions, all the electronic wizardry and 1,190 pounds of car that leaves you with a certain purity. There's a sense of connection with the 1 that the 7 has long since abandoned in favor of being a technological and engineering tour de force (and an impressive one at that).

Obviously, this was hardly going from 7 Series to Civic. But if it came down to a daily driver and I had the cash for either, I'd go for the 1. Maybe that would change as I get older and/or need that back seat, but I'll take purity over that huge list of doo-dads today.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 18,199 miles

2009 BMW 7 Series in Julian, California

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