2008 BMW 1 Series Long Term Road Test


2008 BMW 135i: Is the Backseat Better Than the Driver Seat?

March 25, 2009

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In a recent LT Blog textcast about our Nissan 370Z, Magrath wrote, "I like that the Z doesn't give a backseat. The option of four seats just makes people think it's okay to ask for rides."

At first I was inclined to agree (because Magrath is cool), but then I realized I have way too much baggage in my life to live out this reality. This morning with our long-term 2008 BMW 135i, I realized I need a backseat. I need the seatbelts to keep my laptop bag (and whatever other bags I'm lugging) secure through tight turns. If I risk having to take passengers along for the ride, so be it.

So I'll keep the rear seats in the 135i coupe, but if I owned this exact car, the driver seat would have to go.

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above photo by Kurt Niebuhr

Granted, the driver seat is tolerable around town. Both the seat-bottom cushion and seat-back are roomy enough for my frame, and the seat does put me in a good ergonomic position to drive the car. (The seating position is really good, actually, to the point that I always get a feeling of anticipation when I take hold of the 7/8-scale 3 Series steering wheel. Something good's going to to happen on this drive and I just know it.)

But as soon as I start going through turns in our 135i, my left knee starts to hurt. It turns out I'm bracing it against the driver door panel, because between the slick leatherette upholstery and absence of lateral bolstering on the seat-bottom, there's nothing to hold my leg still -- when I'm not working the clutch, obviously.

We should have gotten the sport-package seats. I know this. But if I happened across our orange 135i on the used market, I'd start looking for alternative retrofits.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 19,120 miles

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