When the 135i arrived here in mid-2008, the BMW 1 Series signaled the Bavarian automaker’s serious intent to deliver BMW-grade driving excitement in a smaller, less costly package. As if to show just how serious, initially only one model was available: the high-performance BMW 135i Coupe, with 300 twin-turbocharged horsepower. The 1 Series is almost seven inches shorter overall than the next car up in the BMW line, the popular 3 Series. The 1 Series wheelbase is four inches shorter than that of the 3 Series, and it’s a significant 2.7 inches narrower in width. The 1 Series is meant to be a serious, sporty competitor to all the front-wheel-drive Japanese, Korean, and domestic cars in the entry luxury coupe class. BMW brings its highly developed rear-wheel-drive platform to the fight. Driving a 300-hp, 3400-pound rear-drive coupe built on a short-wheelbase chassis adds up to a great deal of driving enjoyment, especially when the engine's torque curve is absolutely flat from 1300 to 5000 rpm and the engine redlines at 7000 rpm. The 135i's 24-valve inline-6 packs two turbochargers and makes more than 100 hp per liter, which is considered engineering magic. BMW says a manual-shift 135i will accelerate from rest to 60 mph in a mere 5.1 seconds, which is not something that most cars in this projected price category can do. Top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph (or 149 mph with the Sport Package). EPA estimates are 17 mpg city/25mpg highway with the manual transmission; and 18/25 with the automatic. The 135i's brakes use massive six-piston calipers at the front and twin-piston calipers at the rear, with 13.3-inch front discs and 12.75-inch rear discs and a built-in brake drying and anti-fade feature. The BMW 1 Series cars have all the style, performance and features a driver could want in a compact package. It's built around one of the best chassis in the segment, and the only one with rear-wheel drive. This car also comes with the M performace Package for more performace sport mode.
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