2012 BMW 1 Series 135i
(3.0L 6-cyl. Turbo 6-speed Manual)
What our ratings include
Date Driven: 8/16/2011
0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The lack of a launch control feature in the 7-speed dual-clutch requires careful tire management. Standard manual transmission is a bit quicker as a result. Single-turbo inline-6 is as strong as the outgoing twin-turbo.
Combine its moderately stiff suspension and shorter wheelbase and this has the makings of a competent sport coupe. Steering is appropriately heavy and communicates road and tire information clearly. Excelllent balance with a hint of understeer.
A sporty suspension is great for performance but in everyday situations feels quite stiff. Road imperfections are delivered directly from surface to driver and can add up over long hauls. These are, of course, the tradeoffs made for sport.
Here the BMW is neither quiet nor loud. Wind noise is apparent at speed, as is the steady drone of its low profile run-flat tires. Engine note is rewardingly loud at higher rpms. But it stays within a reasonable decibel range during normal driving.
The electronic seat adjustments in our test car are second-rate compared to the available manual sport seats. But they get the job done. An iDrive-based master control simplifies the control interface immensely.
Forward and side visibility are good for a sports car. Rear visibility is decent. Reversing maneuvers are aided by a trunk spoiler that essentially marks the back of the car. Xenon cornering headlights are standard equipment.
Seat Access & Space
Front seats offer good lateral support. Shoulder-rubbing friendliness is a possibility depending upon the dimensions of front passengers. Rear seats are available for the flexible and headless. The sweeping roofline hampers headroom considerably.
Cargo & Storage
A 60/40 rear folding seat offsets its small trunk area to preserve some utility. Cupholders exists but are precarious at best. Door pockets and center console offer little in the way of storage.
No squeaks or rattles on our test car. Panel fitment is spot-on. The 135i holds to the high build quality standards we've come to expect from BMW. Interior materials give the impression of quality.