Tag Archives: M135i

Calling All Enthusiasts: 2013 BMW 135is Coupe and Convertible

15 May

2013 BMW 135is Coupe: Photo courtesy BMW Group.

If you’re one of the many who missed out on the one-year, limited production 1M coupe you’re might just be in luck. The 2013 BMW 135is will be making its way stateside later this year and will offer customers a beefed-up, more powerful and performance oriented version of the regular 135i. It’s not the 1M coupe, but it’s the next best thing.

On the exterior the 135is stands out with 18-inch wheels, high-gloss black kidney grill and mirror caps along with special exterior badges and the standard M Sport Package components. Interior highlights include stainless steel pedals, special interior badges and optional black leather sport seats with blue stitching.

All of that eye-catching exterior work is just fine if you’re looking to pick up a date, but that’s not what the BMW “is” line was made for. After all, this is an enthusiast car, made to be driven hard both on the road and race track, and because of this BMW has made sure to provide adequate performance upgrades and modifications.

Under the hood the 135is is powered by the latest version of BMW’s 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with BMW’s TwinPower Turbo Technology, designated the “N55” internally. Unlike the previous “N54” turbocharged unit the 135is gets a single twin-scroll turbocharger, as opposed to the two found in the 1M coupe. Despite a missing hairdryer, horsepower and torque figures have been increase over the 135i leaving the 135is a close second to its Motorsport-derived sibling. The 135is produces 320 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 20 hp and 17 lb-ft respectively and not far behind the 1M’s 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. Besides the engine improvements the 135is also features a performance exhaust system and a more robust cooling system with a larger and more powerful radiator fan and an auxiliary radiator.

2013 BMW 135is Convertible: Photo courtesy BMW Group.

Power is transferred to the rear wheels via a standard six-speed manual gearbox or the optional seven-speed double clutch transmission. Helping all 320 horses get to the ground is a new differential with new optimized final drives and an electronic rear brake management system that is used to simulate a differential lock for stronger acceleration in turns and low-traction conditions.

Finishing off the performance goodies is a sport aluminum double-pivot front suspension and a lightweight five-link fully independent rear suspension. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) that includes Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) will help the driver maintain control of the vehicle, but it does so at a higher threshold than the regular 135i and thus adding to the driving experience offered with the 135is. Of course, if you don’t want to worry about these safety systems interfering with your spirited driving you can turn them off completely.

The 135is coupe and convertible are scheduled to appear in U.S. showrooms beginning this fall with a base MSRP of $44,145 and $48,845 respectively (including $895 destination and handling).

Audi, BMW and Mercedes all Unveil Sport Compacts in Geneva

8 Mar

With the 2012 Geneva Auto Show press days now over it’s now time for the masses of enthusiasts, families and other spectators to crowd the floor of the convention center. As with all autoshows, Geneva 2012 had its share of crazy concept vehicles and every type of transportation. From the stunning 760-horsepower Ferrari F12 Berlinetta to the eye-catching and outrageous all-electric Tata Megapixel the show has all the bases covered. Along with hundreds of vehicles, Geneva 2012 exposed new trends within the industry.

One of the overriding examples of this was the number of sport compacts. Three German manufacturers; Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all had their own creations, ranging from Mercedes’ five-door and family-orientated A-Class, to the three-door Audi A3 and BMW M135i.

BMW M135i: Photo Courtesy BMW Group

Mercedes’ A-Class was by far the most economical of sport compact shown, and with 5-doors it’s also the most practical. Two engine variants power the new A-Class, both of which are turbocharged. The smaller 1.6-liter produces either 115 HP in the A120 or 156 HP in the A200. The top A-Class, the A250 gets a larger 2.0-liter four-cylinder, bumping the peak output to 211. Putting the power to the ground come via a six-speed manual transmission, or an optional seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Numerous features and stylistic and design cues round out the A250. On the exterior 18-inch AMG alloy wheels and brake calipers finished in red. On the under side, an AMG-derived front axle and suspension, which should give the relatively small A-Class excellent road handling. The A-Class is scheduled to arrive in European showroom later this year, while the U.S. market will likely have to wait until 2013.

On the complete opposite end of the sport compact spectrum is the BMW M135i. As the “M” in M135i might imply, BMW Motorsport has done extensive work throughout this hot hatchback. On the outside the new BMW M Performance three-door resembles its older cousin the BMW M Coupe, produced between 1998 and 2002 and fondly nicknamed “The Shoe” by enthusiasts for its unique profile. Like the M Coupe the new M135i is powered by a inline six-cylinder engine, but that’s where the similarities end. Unlike the naturally-aspirated 3.2-liter in the M Coupe a smaller displacement 3.0-liter turbocharged unit propels the M135i (the same one found in the two-door 1M Coupe.) Engine size might have decreased, but peak horsepower is up, to 300 in the M135i. This beats the shoe’s by 60-horsepower, and beats out the more fuel friendly A250 by 89-horsepower. Similar to the A250, the M135i rides on 18-inch alloy wheels and has extensive suspension modifications when compared to a regular 1-series.

Mercedes-Benz A250: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA

Falling in between the Mercedes A-Class and the BMW M135i is the new Audi A3. It’s been over 10 years since the A3 has been redesigned, so its unveiling has been long anticipated. With eight different engine options available for the European market there’s something for everyone. From the miniscule displacement of 1.2-liter TFSI, to the 1.6-liter TDI with just-horsepower, one might not get going quickly, but you’ll surely get great fuel economy (Up to an estimated 60 mpg with in 1.6-liter TDI). All of these different engines are paired with an equally larger number of available transmissions. While many are connected via a traditional six-speed manual, customers can choose the S-Tronic duel-clutch gearbox with either six or seven speeds (depending on engine).

With a mix of sporty and agile handling, practical, everyday usability and in the case of M135i, world class performance it’s not surprising the sport compact market is expanding and becoming more competitive. Whether its the economical five-door, four passenger Mercedes A-Class or the enthusiast and speed-junky approved BMW M135i the likelihood of these types of vehicles will become more popular as manufacturers create more models and variations.

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