So let's talk about the BMW 1 Series!
Given BMW's history of using lower numbers to denote lower trim package specs one would imagine the 1 Series is barely above a horse and carriage, right? Let me be the first to tell you- from experience mind you because I own a 135iM now and used to own a 128i- the 1 Series kicks major ass!
Top Gears Jeremy Clarkson called the 1M "perfect", and while I tend to agree with him on this, "perfect" is only an accurate description on the performance. As far as trim goes, it is indeed a bit sparse. Under the hood, you will find (in the 2009 135i) a 3.0 liter in line 6 cylinder engine producing 230 horses and 200 foot pounds of torque. Rear wheel drive driven (as all non-X drive BMW's are) this 6 speed pocket rocket is fast, agile, and grips the road like nothing I have ever seen.
At least, like nothing else I ever saw until I drove the 2011 135i with the premium M sport package. With the M chip installed the limiter was removed. No more USA cap at 155! With M wheels, M trim, M suspension, and a few more M driven modifications this beast was one step down from a real 1M. Horsepower was cranked up to 332- 30 more given by the M chip! Torque was increased to over 300 foot pounds! I had to buckle in tight as the car crushes you into its leather seats from sheer power acceleration. Traction control has to be turned off, lest the car convulse itself as the power sheers the rubber from the road and the computer fights the engine! The twin turbo is replaced with a HUGE single turbo that you can HEAR wind up over 3500rpm's, like some 20 year old kid's modded out RX8!
Let's get back to that spartan interior, shall we? Spartan is kind of unfair. The car has a great sound system (single CD/radio/XM )with 6 speakers. Most models come with heated seats, all with leather seats. The dash can have a touch of the "classic" 80's feel about it- right down to the full on amber lighting- but I can live with that since my car also has the "all weather package". This upgrade gives the car headlight washers and a heated steering wheel- except my car also has the M steering wheel which DOES NOT allow for the heater elements. It is a thicker steering wheel, smaller and more aggressive. A fair trade. Electric seats are standard as well windows and locks.
Looking for an all out beast of a car with more power than you know what to do with? The 135 line will hook you right up!
reviewed by: Jeff Murray/ PA, USA