Over the course of two weeks, the kind folks at BMW sent me two versions of the 135i convertible. One was the standard 3-liter 6-cylinder with an automatic. The other was the turbocharged 6 with a slick 6-speed tranny and 300 horsepower. They both looked lovely, but guess which one I wanted to drive?
The 1-series is the smallest bimmer slotting in beneath the 3-series, and can be a little claustrophobic if you are carrying a third person in the diminutive back seat. Unless that person is Danny DeVito, they are going to be cramped.
So, OK, we have a glorified 2-seater with occasional room for more…fine, fine. But what is it like to drive? Oh, intoxicating, seductive, addictive, just a few of the words that come to mind. Actually, it is a lot like its bigger brother the 3-series when you sling it into the twisties. The sport suspension and 18-inch wheels keep everything planted while you pretend you’re on the Parabolica at Monza passing Lewis Hamilton in the Italian Gran Prix.
Alright, now that my personal fantasy is out of the way, the styling is typically BMW which is to say conservative to the point of being dangerously close to looking Japanese. Inside, everything is perfectly placed, and complete. The solid nature of almost any German car cannot be described. It goes beyond anything produced here or in Japan. There is just nothing like it. If you looked up quality in your Funk and Wagnells, there would be a picture of this car, or a Mercedes, or a VW, or anything from the Fatherland.
0-60 comes up in under 5 seconds, and the turbo loses one mile per gallon at 17 city – 26 highway. Our loaded model came to just over $45,000. That’s a lot, and the only negative I could find. Of course it is the one negative that will keep it out of my garage, so I’ll just have to steal the money. Yeah, I want one that badly.