2008 BMW 1 Series Long Term Road Test


2008 BMW 135i: Sunday Afternoon in Little Tujunga Canyon

March 30, 2009

135ionlittletujunga.jpg I had a free afternoon yesterday, and I looked at our 2008 BMW 135i coupe in my carport and decided a drive was in order. We went to Little Tujunga Canyon Road , a favorite of mine because of its convenient location and pretty even mix of fast sweepers and tighter turns.

We've written before that the 135i is an easy car to drive quickly because it is so benign -- perhaps the most benign of any rear-wheel-drive car currently on sale in the U.S. Slow down on your entry to counteract the understeer; then, exploit all that torque (300 lb-ft from as low as 1,400 rpm) on your exit. Find your rhythm, know your road and you'll be fast. And safe.

I love the steering feel in this car. You never have any doubts about front tire grip.

And I love the driving position: It's not sexy; I'm not going to see the curves and contours of the car as I do in our 370Z or a G37. Really, I might as well be sitting in a sedan when I'm in our One. All I see is a flat hood, and I jack the seat way up so I'm sitting high. But I don't care. The steering wheel fits perfectly in my hands, and flat and squooshy as the driver seat is, it orients me perfectly for steering, shifting and working the pedals.

Other than the sneaking suspicion that this car doesn't need me (with all that torque, it barely even needs me to shift), the one complaint that came up during the drive is the 135i's lack of a limited-slip rear differential. Mind you, I probably could live without one if I owned this car. But, occasionally, when the rear tires had trouble getting the power down on exit, I thought about driving the Genesis Coupe 3.8 and wished the One had a torsen limited-slip, too.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 19,455 miles

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