E82 135i First Impressions Review

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RagingKileak
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E82 135i First Impressions Review

Post by RagingKileak » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:49 am

Hello all,

This is my 1 series coupe review, hope you like :)

I remember when the 1 Series was first launched by BMW; I've never really been interested in concept cars or motor shows, so it wasn't until it actually hit the streets that I saw one - and I immediately thought 'eww, what’s the point of that?' I can understand that BMW wanted their share of the premium hatchback market, but priced above rivals from Volkswagen and so on, I couldn't see the 1 Series proving much of a success.

Although I was wrong about that, my actual opinion of the 1 Series has changed little over the past few years, with the Hatchback always being the ugly duckling in the BMW range as far as I was concerned. I'd be lying if I said that the introduction of a Coupe to the 1 Series line up had changed my mind - to be honest, I didn't notice that at all, possibly because very few people bought one.

Once I finally did track a 135i Coupe down (and I had to pay a £1000 deposit for the privilege) it is easy to see why the car splits opinion. From the front, the car does resemble its Hatchback sibling, with only minor visual differences to set it apart. From this angle, the car is by no means astonishing or beautiful, it’s not as aggressive as the 3 Series Coupe and it lacks any real sense of individuality or occasion. Viewed from the side however, the Coupe reveals much more about its character, the wheel arches bulge in an almost muscular fashion, whilst the lines bend and bulge attractively from front to back. Huge BMW stamped front brake callipers add subtle purpose, whilst on my 135i, chrome window trim adds a touch of class which is not entirely to my taste, but far from unattractive. In my opinion Coupe's fitted with the BMW Performance Aero side skirts actually lose some visual impact due to the cut outs to the rear of the skirt, which unfortunately break up the clean lines. When compared by appearance alone, the rear of the 135i unfortunately gives nothing away when compared to lesser models in the range, the exhaust appearing slightly larger, but otherwise sharing the same rear diffuser and subtle boot spoiler where fitted.

There is little chance of mistaking the 135i for a 123d however, once the engine is fired up. Having driven a superb BMW 335d for the past year, I was looking forward to two things more than anything else; the exhaust note you only get with a petrol car, and a manual gearbox which will never be available with the 335d. The 135i doesn't disappoint on either front, with a superb low down growl rising to a metallic rasp which climbs beautifully alongside the whistle of the N54 engines twin turbo’s. Somehow, this is a car which manages to make precisely the noise you want it to, be that a near silent hum, or a manic, whizzy howl and I really can't imagine how BMW could have made it any better.

Driving the 135i is an absolute pleasure, the aural delight from that exhaust amplified by the eager to please engine and much improved gearbox make progress inevitably rapid. Pleasingly then, the chassis is more than capable of handling bends with poise and precision to such a degree as I have not experienced since my E46 M3. This is a car which can attack corners at speed and still allow for correction through use of accelerator and steering wheel combined, empowering the driver with an amount of feel which inspires tremendous confidence. This car, unlike the 335d, is practically begging for a Limited Slip Differential, and in my case will be getting one as soon as possible. Where previously I had accepted the science and logic of the device, I couldn't imagine how it would feel, in the 135i, I'm already absolutely confident I know what the outcome will be.

The 135i is not quite the perfect drivers car, the chassis is, if anything, even harder than the 3 Series and rock hard suspension combined with run flat tyres do ensure that this car is even more skippy over uneven surfaces than its bigger brother. The nose is still a touch heavy and occasionally following a sharpish turn at speed it can be difficult to swing the back round, despite the amount of feel offered through the accelerator pedal. In the end, the car often snaps and then half stage traction control can bog you down, rather than the smooth, progressive oversteer I would prefer. Again, something which I am sure can be 'corrected.'

Making progress in the 135i is so sublime, so unhindered by doubt that only a metaphor will suffice to describe it. Imagine then, if you will, how double cream would feel if it was dribbling down Scarlett Johansson’s inner thigh. Gravity, like the N54 would drive it rapidly onwards over velvet skin, disturbed only slightly by the occasional hairy moment, and only really struggling with a knobbly kneecap, before smooth progress continues down the calf until the end of the journey. Any trip in the 135i is almost always pleasant, intensely pleasurable and tends to inspire an incredibly smug feeling.

From the driver’s seat, there is little to criticise about the 135i Coupe. In the car I bought, the interior is an unusual but surprisingly easy on the eye combination of 'Boston Lemon' leather and 'Dark Poplar' wood trim. This, combined with an obvious focus on the front occupants leads to quite the 'special' feeling; especially at night when the ability to fold the i-Drive display into the dash really darkens the cabin and places the entire focus where you want it to be - on the road. Superb Xenon headlamps light the way, a pricey option on this car, and something which my 335d lacked. If only BMW would follow other manufacturers lead in making this a standard addition to all their cars, or at least the more rapid models.

In summary, my view of the 1 Series coupe has drastically changed from barely knowing it exists, to trying to imagine life without it. Hmmm, perhaps a little bit OTT, but the truth is that I am surprised at how well BMW have mated what is a very compliant piece of metal with what must be considered one of the best engines currently available, or in fact the BEST engine currently available in its class for several years, according to some accolades. The only letdowns were largely exactly the same as I found in the 3 Series, the Bluetooth, Navigation and Entertainment systems still look quite 'old' although they are fully functional, and run flat tyres in conjunction with M-Sport suspension continue to be an annoyance.

If I had to buy it again, I still would.

9/10

Matt

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verysideways
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Re: E82 135i First Impressions Review

Post by verysideways » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:08 am

Excellent review - now where are the pictures? :)
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RagingKileak
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Re: E82 135i First Impressions Review

Post by RagingKileak » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:27 am

verysideways wrote:Excellent review - now where are the pictures? :)
Coming mate, just the weather has been so poor!!

Matt

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Re: E82 135i First Impressions Review

Post by sootyvrs » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:11 pm

Nice to hear that you are happy :D
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Re: E82 135i First Impressions Review

Post by sprainedmind » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:33 pm

RagingKileak wrote:Imagine then, if you will, how double cream would feel if it was dribbling down Scarlett Johansson’s inner thigh.
Sorry, I got a bit distracted after that. Do you like the car? :D

RagingKileak
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Re: E82 135i First Impressions Review

Post by RagingKileak » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:00 pm

sprainedmind wrote:
RagingKileak wrote:Imagine then, if you will, how double cream would feel if it was dribbling down Scarlett Johansson’s inner thigh.
Sorry, I got a bit distracted after that. Do you like the car? :D
Yeah, Scarlett says she does too :)

Matt

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Re: E82 135i First Impressions Review

Post by EvoGlynn » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:30 pm

Very entertaining read mate.

Glad you happy :)
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Re: E82 135i First Impressions Review

Post by Rephlex » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:12 pm

Nice review. Scarlett was a b*tch, and I spanked her :lol: I did wonder if you were continuing the analogy with the "occasional hairy moment"
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RagingKileak
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Re: E82 135i First Impressions Review

Post by RagingKileak » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:51 am

Rephlex wrote:Nice review. Scarlett was a b*tch, and I spanked her :lol: I did wonder if you were continuing the analogy with the "occasional hairy moment"
I was, because noone is perfect, and neither is Scarlett ;)

Matt

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