2008 BMW 1 Series Long Term Road Test


2008 BMW 135i: Thoughts on the Reflash

May 26, 2009

BMW 135i in an undisclosed location

The following is the actual text message I sent to Mike Magrath upon arriving home from work Friday afternoon:

1:47PM Fri, May 22
To: Magrath/M

Thoughts on new 1 engine: weeeeeeeee!

I've never been a big fan of modifications. They usually result in offensive noise, back-breaking rides, unrefined neck-snapping acceleration and horrendously tacky body modifications. Other than the latter, it's the reason I've never driven our long-term GSR home. Call me a wimp and there certainly are folks who do the job right, but in general, no thank you.

The DME Tune Reflash of our 135i, on the other hand, is a modification I can get behind. As Jay noted yesterday, the reflash had a relatively minor effect on straight-line acceleration times but its added midrange punch makes it feel faster. Get above around 3,500 rpm and the twin-turbo-6 blasts forward with giggle-inducing thrust -- it makes the biggest difference on the freeway. The 135i was always faster than you expected it to be, but now it's been turned up to 11.

Best of all, the 135i remains livable. When casually accelerating in the muck of city traffic, it remains the same pleasant car it always has been. There's no neck-snapping throttle response or crazy turbo lag. It feels very natural, as if no Frankensteining had been performed.

Not that this is scientific in any way, but our first tank post-reflash returned 17.62 mpg.

So call me a fan of the reflash. It makes BMW's 35 engine even sweeter.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 22,454 miles

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