Audio & Technology - 2008 BMW 1 Series Long Term Road Test

2008 BMW 1 Series Long Term Road Test

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2008 BMW 135i: Lighting Up the Corners

January 12, 2009


I was driving through the Hollywood Hills to a party that was located at the end of one of those twisty roads when I noticed that our little 2008 BMW 135i was doing an extra good job of lighting up the way. Finally on a straight stretch of road I was able to test out why by turning the steering wheel back and forth. It had cornering lights that moved back and forth like high-beam eyeballs! Neato!

Apparently xenon adaptive headlights with auto-leveling and cornering lights are standard equipment. I was just surprised that it had this feature, which seems luxurious to me, considering our $37,145 coupe does not come with seat heaters or even a little light that turns on when you flip open the visor mirror. I don't know which I'd appreciate more in the long run: cornering lights or seat heaters. Hmmm.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 15,842 miles

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2008 BMW 135i: Everything but the radio

December 03, 2008

BMW135 radio daytime

Like most of the Edmunds staff, I love driving the 135. There are many great things about its driving experience: the accurate steering, the powerful and flexible engine, the excellent handling, the light and perfect shift action, the easy to control clutch. You've heard it all before. I even don't mind the flat-bottomed seats, although I've never tried the sport seats that everyone gushes about. Almost everything's great. Except the radio -- which is crap.

There are three areas where this radio disappoints:

1. Sound. It's terrible. Although it's not as tinny as the STI, it's barely acceptable. The audio performance doesn't befit a vehicle that costs $37K, even if this is the base radio and not the up-charge Branded Audio.

2. Appearance. It's looks really cheap: the faceplate design and especially those reconfigurable switches with the (-) markings. BMW couldn't put numbers there instead? Unfortunately, this is an industry trend.

3.Usability. The big problem here is manual tuning. If you're in preset mode, when you turn the tuning knob you get the next preset. How do you manually tune the radio, to say, set another preset? You press the switch marked "m" to toggle to manual tuning mode. Obviously, dummkopf.

Also, others have pointed out that if you're wearing polarized sunglasses, it's difficult to read the radio display -- unless you rotate your head 90 degrees.

The radio is lovingly marked "BMW Professional."
Wonder what the amateur version sounds like...

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 13,880 mi

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2008 BMW 135i: It's Not All Wonderful

June 23, 2008

Like many BMWs, our 2008 BMW 135i emits brake dust--a lot of brake dust. At least the open 5-spoke wheels are easy to clean. And these brakes squeal a bit when I gently apply them at 30 mph or so in creep-along freeway traffic.

Do I care? Not much.

They feel excellent and the stopping distance is mega-short. At a photo shoot at a racetrack, another 135i's brakes never faded after lap upon lap. We recorded 105 feet when this car went through its check-in test. That's what brakes are for, right?

I'd much rather have this problem than quiet brakes with no dust that stop in 120 feet with wishy-washy pedal feedback and fade after a few stops.

But here are some 135i minor problems that nevertheless do irritate me:

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