Underhanded - 2008 BMW 1 Series Long Term Road Test

2008 BMW 1 Series Long Term Road Test

2008 BMW 135i: Underhanded

February 20, 2009


I've never really cared for the manual transmission in any BMW. Mainly, I find their action too light. But I also dislike the spring-loaded feel when moving it out of gear, and the general soggyness and excessive play once the shift lever is in gear. To be fair (and I've always kept this at the back of my mind) the only Bimmers I've driven heretofore were knackered old Bavarias, salvage titled M3s, and various and generally worn out 3-Series'. And don't get me started about the shift action in our 2002 M3; think about moving around a dislocated cadaver's elbow. Go on, think about it.

So when I got the chance to drive our six speed 2008 BMW 135i, I decided to put aside my past experiences and give this new, non-beat to Hades gearbox a try. And guess what? I really don't like it. The action is too light, and I don't like the way it wants to spring out of a gate and into neutral. But what I really don't like is the combination of a short, almost cut down, gear lever and that center armrest. As you can kinda see in the above picture, going from any of the bottom gears (two, four or six) into another gear requires you to more of less underhand the shifter. I find it uncomfortable and annoying to bend my wrist down with every other shift. A taller shift lever to match the height of the center armrest would solve that problem. But I still couldn't live with the action of the shift lever.

So would it keep me from buying the car? It's not the only one, but it's a big reason I wouldn't buy one of these.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 17,548 miles

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