BMW 135i (2007 – 2013), des performances de 1M au tiers du prix, dès 15 000 €

Dévoilée fin 2007, la 135i coupé est un véritable petit pur-sang à la sauce BMW, donc savoureuse.

What are collectibles?

These are cars of particular interest, therefore, worthy of conservation. Not necessarily old, however, they exist in definite quantities, either because the manufacturer has decided so, or because their production has stopped. Then they take advantage of features that make them especially desirable: an engine, a chassis, a design, or a concept. Eventually, they will likely see their rating rise. One more argument to collect them before anyone else!

Why is the BMW 135i collectible?

Marking BMW’s return to small coupés (and convertibles), the 135i adds an ultra-efficient and highly musical supercharged inline 6-cylinder engine to the mix, giving it exceptional performance. It is true that it has descendants, in the form of the M240i, but lo and behold, it has become terribly expensive: more than €70,000. Suddenly the little 135i attracts enthusiasts and its rating goes up. Because yes, BMW delivering this homologation at a still human price, will never exist again.

When it appeared in 2004, the BMW 1 Series E87 baffled greatly with its design, the successful incarnation of the “flamesurfacing” beloved by Chris Bangle, head of design for the Bavarian brand. It may also have upset your tailgate, which led the manufacturer to offer you versions more in line with your image. Thus, in July 2007, it was revealed as a coupé, code E82. The base does not move, but the body has a more classic line with three volumes, thus forming an independent trunk. 13cm longer than the hatchback, the Series 1 Coupé is 4.36m long and therefore accommodates a more spacious 20l boot (370l total).

In addition to a specific rear, the 135i Coupé is entitled to the 6-cylinder biturbo N54 prohibited in the 3 and 5-door 1 Series.

But it is still under the hood the most interesting. In fact, the coupé accesses blocks prohibited to the coach, including a fabulous N54 biturbo 6-cylinder in-line 3.0 l with direct injection. Already seen in the 335i, it develops 306 hp in the 135i, which also shares many platform elements with the Series 3: in fact, it was developed in common with the Series 1.

This one, with this exceptional motor, reaches without forcing 250 km/h (electronically limited speed) and passes 100 km/h in 5.3 s. Therefore, it works very hard and outshines the M3! However, even if it’s the only one in the 1 Series range to have fixed 6-piston front calipers, the 135i benefits from firmer M Sport suspension – a light M in a way.

Extended by 13 cm, the BMW 1 Series Coupé, here at the end of 2007, sees a larger offer than the hatchback version: 370 l against 350 l.
Extended by 13 cm, the BMW 1 Series Coupé, here at the end of 2007, sees a larger offer than the hatchback version: 370 l against 350 l.

For example, you are not entitled to a real limited slip differential, preferring an electronic system that is supposed to reproduce its effects. Also, unlike the other Series 1s since the 2007 facelift, it retains hydraulic power steering. Equipped with well-fitting body accessories and 18-inch wheels, it gives the impression that the body creaks under the effect of power.

Inside, the 135i offers dual-zone automatic air conditioning, sport seats, a sound system, and even cruise control as standard. Three finishes are available: Excellis (€41,900, or €47,800 today according to INSEE), Luxury (€43,300) and Sport Design (€43,150). The Luxury also offers leather, the Sport Design the nice exterior sports package (but which leads to the omission of the reversing radar). A few months later, the Coupe 1 Series falls off the top and is available as a convertible.

A few weeks after the coupé, at the end of 2007, the Series 1 is available as a convertible, which is also entitled to block N54.
A few weeks after the coupé, at the end of 2007, the Series 1 is available as a convertible, which is also entitled to block N54.

Equipped with a canvas roof and not a hard top (as in the 3 Series), the 1 Series Cabriolet weighs 115 kg compared to the coupe to maintain its rigidity, and adopts a leather that is not supposed to absorb the sun’s heat. Same discovery, the little BMW has the right to block N52. For its part, the trunk shrinks but varies from 240 to 280 liters depending on whether the hood is folded (which takes 22 s) or not.

At the end of 2008, in the passenger compartment, the multimedia-GPS system changed from DVD to hard disk (now fixed screen and no longer rotating). In early 2010 the Series 1 range benefited from a final round of upgrades, starting with larger exterior mirrors and modified xenon headlights.

Due to the hood, the trunk of the convertible, here at the end of 2007, is reduced.  The hood folds in 22 seconds.
Due to the hood, the trunk of the convertible, here at the end of 2007, is reduced. The hood folds in 22 seconds.

Under the hood, the 6-cylinder is improved. Now coded as N55, it swaps the two turbos for a single but twin entry, while the variable valve timing and electronic management are optimized. Power and torque remain the same, but as an option, a DKG dual-clutch gearbox (7-speed) replaces the old 6-speed automatic. In 2013, the coupé and cabriolet left production, long after the 3- and 5-door coaches were replaced by the Series 2.

In early 2010 the 135i entered phase II: new mirrors and N55 engine replacing the N54, accompanied by an optional DKG dual-clutch gearbox instead of the automatic.
In early 2010 the 135i entered phase II: new mirrors and N55 engine replacing the N54, accompanied by an optional DKG dual-clutch gearbox instead of the automatic.

How much is it ?

From €15,000, there are convertibles with automatic transmission in good condition, but with a total of more than 150,000 km. Manual versions easily cost €2,000 more, plus another €2,000 (a total of €19,000) for a coupe at the same mileage. Add €4,000 for a car with about 100,000 km. Rarer, Phase 2s easily require an additional €2000. Please note that these values ​​are increasing.

From 2010, as an option, xenon headlights are supplemented by LED daytime running lights.
From 2010, as an option, xenon headlights are supplemented by LED daytime running lights.

Which version to choose?

Between coupé and convertible, it is a matter of taste. But a manual phase 1 coupe is a good price/performance/efficiency compromise, provided it’s been well maintained.

In 2010, the taillights were also modified.
In 2010, the taillights were also modified.

collector’s versions

These are the copies in perfect original condition (rare), with low mileage (very rare), and if possible, full of options. These can vary the price significantly.

Lots of supercharger and fuel pump issues on the Nengine 54, fixed on the N55, here in 2010.
Lots of supercharger and fuel pump issues on the Nengine 54, fixed on the N55, here in 2010.

What to monitor?

Block N54 suffered quite a bit of damage early in its career. The high pressure pump, the injectors, the turbos and the discharge valves (or Wastegate) have experienced many failures! To which we can add concerns about damage to the Vanos solenoids, water pump, and oil leaks under the camshaft cap. Normally, all this is resolved in well-maintained cars, as shown by some examples with very high mileage. Of course, cars that have undergone preparation will be more likely to break down than others.

The N55 fixed the boost and fuel issues, but still suffers from split intake manifolds and even bad coils. Nothing bad. Frequent oil changes are recommended (every 10,000 km maximum). On the gearbox side, again, the oil needs to be changed well before 100,000 km.

In the passenger compartment, the DVD multimedia system (CCC) has many errors, even failures: they must be watched. Otherwise, the cabin is aging well.

In short, the 135i requires rigorous maintenance and respectful use, and that is relatively rare…

Great performance and safe behavior characterize the BMW 135i on the road, here in 2008. But the damping is insufficient in fast driving.
Great performance and safe behavior characterize the BMW 135i on the road, here in 2008. But the damping is insufficient in fast driving.

At the wheel

The front end of the 1 Series E82 is still attractive, and behind the wheel you can enjoy a perfect driving position and a great seat. From the first moment we are conquered by the sound of the engine and the pleasure of the manual gearbox. Then the N54 reveals the extent of his talents. He packs a punch at all revs, loves to take turns and delivers consistently amazing performances, in one of the most enjoyable voices. Always ask for more: what an engine!

The first panel of the 135i, in 2008, with the rotatable GPS screen (optional).
The first panel of the 135i, in 2008, with the rotatable GPS screen (optional).

The chassis is not at the same level. Let’s get along, it’s safe, accurate and healthy. But at the limit, the steering no longer communicates enough, and in bumps, the damping remains insufficient, while the suspension, firm, tends to shake the passengers. The result is inefficient road behavior in sporty driving, and clearly understeer at the limit, but quite adequate the rest of the time. We would have liked to have had a real limited slip differential to counteract the nose’s tendency to slip, but that’s reserved for the 1M!

Fortunately, the 135i brakes hard and for a long time, at least for a BMW of that time… Lastly, consumption: the car is very sensitive to what you do with the throttle, supercharging makes it necessary. We can stay around 8.5 l/100 km running comfortably, or reach 14 l/100 km attacking a little. Be that as it may, on a daily basis, this German offers unusual pleasure!

The young alternative

BMW 2002 Tii (1971-1975)

Launched in 1971, the BMW 2002 Tii can be seen as the ancestor of the 135i, being a small coupe dominated.
Launched in 1971, the BMW 2002 Tii can be seen as the ancestor of the 135i, being a small coupe dominated.

Obviously the 135i, in spirit, is closer to the 2002 Turbo, but it costs at least €100,000! Much more affordable, the 2002 Tii does not lack power, however, with its 2.0 l injection it develops 130 hp. It approaches 190 km/h, and crosses 100 km/h in just over 9 seconds. Even now those lap times are respectable and mean the car is very lively. It must also be said that it weighs only 990 kg! Healthy in the dry, it demands attention in the wet and, if it is reliable, it oxidizes copiously. Hence the price of fine prints: around €35,000.

The 135i's rear seats are small but usable, and the bench seat folds down into two parts - handy!
The 135i’s rear seats are small but usable, and the bench seat folds down into two parts – handy!

BMW 135i (2008), the technical sheet

  • Engine: 6 cylinders in line, 2979 cc
  • Power source: direct injection, two turbos
  • Suspension: McPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar (AV); multi-link axle, coil springs, stabilizer bar (rear)
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual or automatic gearbox, rear-wheel drive
  • Power: 306 hp at 5,800 rpm
  • Torque: 400Nm at 1,300rpm
  • Weight: 1485kg
  • Top speed: 250 km/h (limited)
  • 0 to 100 km/h: 5.3 s (manufacturer data)

To find BMW 135i ads, go to the La Centrale website.

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