2008 BMW 1 Series Long Term Road Test

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2008 BMW 135i Coupe: Plus One Quart of 5W30 Synthetic

August 11, 2009

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Last night during a 25-mile drive home from the San Gabriel Valley, our long-term 2008 BMW 135i coupe began showing its standard "!" within a triangle alert within the trip computer display. I'd seen this alert before when the car was low on fuel, but that wasn't the case this time. So when I arrived home, I ran an electronic check of the oil using the car's fussy control stalk for the trip computer.

Within 30 seconds, the car told me it was thirsty for a quart of oil. (Note: I didn't get a picture of the display at the time; this photo was taken this morning after the 3-mile drive to the auto parts store. And that is why the engine isn't fully warmed up here. Please do not worry. Everything is fine.)

Page 117 (or is it 118?) of the manual says full synthetic 5W40 or 5W30 is approved for the 1 Series. I put in 5W30 Castrol Syntec, because that's what Kragen had. Spillage was zero thanks to my yellow funnel.

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Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 26,199 miles

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2008 BMW 135i: 25,000 Miles of Ownership

August 03, 2009

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It was a cool California morning when our 2008 BMW 135i broke the 25,000-mile mark. We took a minute to reflect on just how little we've spent on the BMW over the past 16 months.

$1,400

Less than 100-bucks a month. And all of this went towards replacing tires that we smoked up having fun. No scheduled maintenance costs. All repairs under warranty. Not bad. Reflection over.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 25,003 miles

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2008 BMW 135i: The 15-second Crank

July 20, 2009

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Scott Jacobs and Erin Riches recently described sluggish start incidents with our 2008 BMW 135i. I drove it in order to fully catalog the symptoms before taking it in, and my trip to the airport was a convenient way to keep it out of the rotation while we waited for an appointment.

For me, the extended cranking didn't happen every time, and it never lasted more than a second or two. The engine had to have cooled for several hours or sit overnight for the problem to rear its ugly head.

These things don't magically go away, so of course it did it again this morning. But this time the 135i cranked for a good 10 to 15 seconds before it finally "caught", just like my '57 Ford after it sits idle for a couple of weeks.

The unsettling part is how the engine kept cranking and cranking, with the occasional false-start stumble, even though all I did was a simple press-and-release of the button.

I wanted to stop it and let the starter rest, but I've never had this happen with a push-button car and I wasn't sure how to go about aborting the start sequence. It finally fired-up just before I implemented my plan: let out the clutch after confirming it's in neutral. We don't have comfort access, so I guess I could have ripped out the "key". Pushing the button a second time might have worked, too. Who has time to practice these things?

Once fired, there were no drivability or power problems on the way to the office. Our 135i's fuel pumps still delivered plenty of fuel when I stomped on the go-pedal and it's never yet gone into limp-home mode or displayed a "Check Engine" lamp. Just now, I even plugged-in a scan tool to see if any fault codes have been stored: zero, zilch, nada.

But there's no use waiting until the HPFP (High-Pressure Fuel Pump) finally checks-out and strands somebody. We're taking it in this week.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 24,661 miles

PS: Now this is what I call a well-equipped airport parking lot...

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2008 BMW 135i Coupe: Going In For Service Soon

July 08, 2009

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We have yet to observe another occurrence of the non-start issue in our long-term 2008 BMW 135i coupe. However, a pattern has emerged: If the car has been sitting for a while, we're looking at extra crank time before the engine will fire up. It happened when I left work last night and again this morning in my carport.

After reading your comments regarding the known fuel pump issue with the N54 engine (i.e., the direct-injected and twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 in our 135i), we've decided to make a service appointment.

In addition, we ran across this TSB dated April 2009 that apparently covers our 2008 135i. It starts out, "BMW has become aware of a potential problem that could affect the durability of the High Pressure Fuel Pump (HDP) of certain MY 2007/2008 BMWs with the N54 engine."

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The bulletin continues, "Vehicles affected may have the Service Engine Soon lamp illuminated with various low fuel pressure-related faults (e.g., 29DC, 29F1, 29F2 ) stored in the Engine Control Module (DME). Also, the affected vehicles may experience an extended engine starting time ("long crank") or reduced engine performance ("engine failsafe mode") when the High Pressure Fuel Pump malfunctions."

A fix for the problem is detailed in the TSB, right down to the part numbers. In addition, the bulletin says the emissions warranty on affected cars is extended to 10 years/120,000 miles.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 24,064 miles

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2008 BMW 135i Coupe: Sideview Mirror Malady

May 11, 2009

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Yes, the picture isn't a close-up of the right-hand sideview mirror, but I felt it was a little more interesting. It was taken on Las Posas road in Camarillo, which is about 60 miles north of L.A., just off the PCH. Blue sky, open road and a twin-turbocharged Bimmer. It was a good day. Well, except for that mirror.

The mirror seemed to have a mind of its own. It has that handy "parking mode" which is when the mirror automatically dips down to show the curb when the transmission is placed in reverse. Saves you from flicking the switch yourself and thus makes parallel parking a little easier. Anyhoo, after you shift out of reverse, it goes back up to its preset position. But a couple of times, it changed its mind and moved back down after I had pulled away from the parking spot. I saw it happen a few times, as did my girlfriend. So no, I'm not losing my mind.

I checked to see if there were any recalls or service bulletins on this, but found none. We'll keep tabs on it and have it checked out at the One's next service.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 21,734 miles.

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2008 BMW 135i: Track Days are Never Cheap

January 23, 2009

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You might recall that our 135i needed some new tires. Sounds premature at just over 16,000 miles, but we're not easy on tires to begin with and those miles included two days of lapping at Big Willow which finished them off quite completely.

So with rubber flapping in the wind, we headed to Stokes Tire Pros to get some new Bridgestones. Since our 135i is still within its first 12 months, we opted for another set of the stock Potenza RE050A RFTs. They measure 225/40R18 up front and 255/35R108 in back, and they are not cheap. Our total bill for four new tires all mounted and balanced was $1,431.

Moral of the story? No matter how cheap that local track day might look, it's always going to cost a little more than you think.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 16,651 miles

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2008 BMW 135i: Service With A Smile

December 23, 2008

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BMW's ain't cheap. Our 2008 BMW 135i carries a base price of $34,900 and an as-equipped MSRP of $37,145. And it's a quality car with a spectacular drivetrain that anybody would be proud to own. Still, for more than thirty-seven grand, I'm amazed it is without heated front seats, a navigation system, satellite radio, real leather upholstory or Bluetooth.

Well, today I got a little taste of what you do get for the price; killer service.

When I fired up the car this morning I noticed it was due for a service (several hundred miles overdue actually), but I had some business in Orange County 60 miles away so it would have to wait. I returned to Santa Monica about noon. A bit late to bring the car to the dealer. Usually they want you there first thing in the morning. I went anyway. I drove right into the service department of Santa Monica BMW. No appointment.

Incredibly they accepted the car with a smile, asked me if I needed a ride and promised it would be ready by the end of the day. These people were exceptionally polite, you know, like they should be, and they didn't try to sell me any extra services, just an oil change and a microfilter as BMW demands.

And don't think we got the gold treatment because we're Edmunds. I hid that from Marc Pizzuto, our service consultant. Unless he did some detective work when I wasn't looking, he thinks it's my personal car.

Wait, then it got better. At 3 pm the phone rang. The car was ready. No charge.

Considering this was the first time the car has needed service, or any repair for that matter (impressive after 15,000 miles), and it was as painless a procedure as possible, I'd say I have found a reason to buy a BMW over some other brands.

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2008 BMW 135i: Torrential Rain? Time to Check the Oil.

December 22, 2008

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This morning, during a torrential rain storm, I decided to check the oil on our long-term 2008 BMW 135i. Took me about 10 seconds, and I didn't even need my galoshes.

Sometimes, modern technology is hard to argue with.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 14,897 miles

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2008 BMW 135i: Deflated

August 18, 2008

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In addition to a couple of other Edmunds folks, I also drove up north this past weekend for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and Monterey Historics (and I thoroughly adored this car's powertrain while ticking off the miles). On Friday night I attended the annual Lexus fashion show, followed by the Gooding auction preview. Afterward, as I pulled out of my parking spot on a grassy hill, I heard a popping sound akin to a breaking twig. A few seconds later, the tire pressure warning lights went on.

I thought maybe I'd gotten a puncture, but when I got out to take a look, nothing seemed to be damaged.I drove back cautiously to my hotel and went online to find the nearest BMW dealership. Fortunately, I was able to make an appointment online for the next morning at BMW of Monterey, which was only a few miles away.

The next morning, the car seemed to be driving okay, but the lights were still on. I dropped it off at the dealership and headed off with a friend to the races at Laguna Seca. When I returned, the service adviser told me that they couldn't find any punctures, but the tire pressure was unusually low. And - this part was a bit baffling - when they ran the key data, it looked like the computer system hadn't been reset for the tire pressure monitor before we took delivery of the car. But all was corrected and we were ready to roll again.

Laura Burstein, Automotive Editor @ 7,165 miles

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2008 BMW 135i: Not Much Fun for a Boring Driver

August 11, 2008

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I keep hearing from others how good our 2008 BMW 135i is, so this weekend I did my best to ignore its red-orange paint, eternally stunned expression and squishy seats. For the first 30 miles of errand-running, this was pretty easy: This car is quick. Not in an explosive, must-go-to-redline sort of way, but in an I-can't-believe-I'm-going-that-fast-because-it's-just-so-smooth kind of way.

But after I realized how easily I could make myself into the most beloved motorist on the freeway in the 135i, I got bored with it.

It doesn't ride well and feels much less refined than a 3 Series: When it hits an expansion joint, the 1 feels kind of squooshy as its springs compress, but then it rebounds more harshly than I think it should. The steering disappoints me, too. The ratio doesn't seem quick enough for the small, elfin BMW, and there's not much feel. I realize my observations contradict earlier things we've written about this car, so you should feel free to disagree with me on all points.

Now, I know I would have liked this car more if I'd been able to take it on a good back road, but that just wasn't in the cards this weekend. Instead it was 200 miles of mundane driving. I suppose that makes me a boring driver, but I think the 1 Series should have a little more of the Mini's effervescence. I can have fun with a Mini no matter what kind of driving I'm doing, but with the 1, I evidently have to get all serious about it if I want a conversation.

I get it that the 135i is meant to be a scaled-down, more affordable 3 Series, but why can't it have its own personality?

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