Can’t afford the new M3? Consider holding out for the BMW 135i

With an estimated price of $60,000+ (£50,625 in the UK), many of us can just dream of sitting behind the driver seat of the new 2008 BMW M3. It’s gorgeous; it’s fast; and it’s created by BMW’s M division, which is probably one of the best high-performance division of any automaker.

How else can you get 420 horsepower and get to 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds with an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph? Well, don’t lose hope just yet. In Spring of 2008, BMW will be giving the U.S. the 2008 BMW 1-Series and there is a little secret that not many of us are aware of.

The BMW 135i is fitted with a 3.0 liter 6-cylinder twin-turbo engine that produces 300 horsepower giving it the ability to do 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Or so BMW says to save itself some shame.

Take a loot at the BMW 328i coupe, which is fitted with a 3.0 liter engine that produces 230 horsepower. That very same engine has found its way under the hood of the BMW 128i. Now while the BMW 328i has a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds according to BMW, the BMW 128i obviously does it in the high fives due to its lighter weight.

Now take a look at this. The BMW 335i has the same 3.0 liter 6-cylinder twin-turbo engine with 300 horsepower as the 135i, but BMW says both, the 335i and the 135i, have a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds. Well that seems highly unlikely to many of us. 

Even when Car and Driver drove the 335i coupe they claimed to have reached 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. So how is it possible for the lighter and smaller 135i to have a 5.3 second run to 60? To us it seems like BMW is trying to save itself some shame for the more expensive 335i.

So now you must be thinking that the 135i has a 0-60 time of somewhere in the mid-4 second range and maybe up to par in performance with the 2008 BMW M3. And that is very much a possibility according to Car and Driver. But that’s only half the story.

When the BMW 135i hits the U.S. in April it will come standard with an M-tuned sports suspension, standard 18-inch wheels with high-performance tires, and an M body kit. Not only that, BMW usually finds single-piston calipers sufficient for its cars. Even a few M cars have single-piston brake calipers. So why is the BMW 135i fitted with six-piston calipers in the front and two-piston in the back? You figure it out.

The BMW 135i is expected to be priced around $33,000 when it hits U.S. shores. So if you’re thinking of buying that 2008 BMW M3, just hold out for a few months. Because some day a little mini BMW may zoom past you, while you’re cruising down the highways thinking you’re the king.


2008 BMW 1-Series Coupe Gallery:



Source: CarandDriver (September 2007 Issue)

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