Although we have some minor criticisms, the 2008 BMW 135i is, overall, an excellent car to drive every day or take out on the track. It scores big in both performance and cabin tech.
After a couple of years of production in Europe, BMW brings its new 1 series to the U.S. The car comes with two engine choices and two body styles. The 128i comes with a straight 3-liter six cylinder engine, while the 135i gets the same engine with twin turbochargers. Both versions can be had as a coupe or a convertible.
The back of the 135i looks abruptly cut off, with a quick drop of the cabin toward the rear. However, the rear seats aren't unusable. We found adequate legroom, as long as both front and rear occupants are shorter than six feet tall.
Because of the 135i's engine power, BMW fits the front wheels with six piston brake calipers, providing extra stopping power. While driving, we found that the brakes felt more road-tuned than track-tuned.
We had the six speed automatic transmission in our car. Its Sport mode downshifts fairly aggressively when you tap the brakes before a corner, and it has a manual mode. However, the base six speed manual would have been our preference.