2008 BMW 135i: Now THAT'S a lot of motor
June 26, 2008
More and more cars are making dizzying power numbers these days, yet few stand out in my mind as being really eye-openingly fast. Our long-term BMW 135i is one of those few. I hadn't really put it the car through its paces until last night, when I snagged the keys and headed for the canyons. Quite simply, this is a lot of motor for such a diminutive car...
Sounds great too -- the exhaust note is throaty yet refined, encouraging windows-down throttle-blipping at every opportunity. Notably, there's no discernable turbo whistle or any other audible indication that you're driving a turbocharged car. There's just the typical inline-6 smoothness that you'd find in a 128i, along with an absolute truckload of torque from just off idle. I think I like this motor more every time I experience it.
Incidentally, an interesting 135i-vs.-STI debate has been raging over at Erin's recent STI post. Here's two cents from my bully pulpit. If you need a fifth seat, or all-wheel drive, or the ability to haul a bunch of stuff, then the STI is the no-brainer choice. But if you don't, consider the following: (1) though the STI's rated at 305 hp, you don't really get that heady turbo rush until about 3,000-3,500 rpm, whereas the 135i offers stupid stonk speed on demand; (2) in tight corners the 135i is frankly in a different league due to its relative lack of body roll and superior (if not quite E46 M3-like) steering feel; and (3) the 135i's clutch and shifter are a joy to operate, unlike the STI's (see Erin's opinion in her post, which I share).
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 4,697 miles