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Every year, it seems like cars are getting bigger and bigger. Well, it doesn’t help that Americans have an ongoing love affair with SUVs. Although, even smaller passenger cars like the Honda Accord are almost full size. What if you want something smaller, sporty, and relatively affordable? Then a sports coupe like a BMW 135i could work. But is it really a good idea to buy one?

The BMW 135i offers blistering performance

BMW 135i Convertible
BMW 135i Convertible | Frank Ossenbrink/ullstein bild via Getty Images

From a performance standpoint, the BMW 135i is a smart pick on the used market. For the unaware, the 135i was in production from 2008 to 2013, and during that time it underwent an engine makeover. The 2008 to 2010 models received the 3.0-liter, twin-turbo N54 inline-six while the 2011 to 2013 models came with a single-turbo N55 engine. Both engines produced the same 320 hp, 317 lb-ft of torque rating, however, the single-turbo powerplant was more responsive.

According to Car and Driver’s testing, the 2008 135i was able to get from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds. For reference, the BMW 335i of the same vintage was 0.2 seconds slower to 60 mph. So, it definitely checks out in the performance department.

What’s even better is that the 135i came with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, so rowing your own gears is possible. Just note that the automatic in the later N55 models was switched to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The 135i is comfortable enough for the daily drive

The BMW 135i comes standard with 18-inch wheels and a sports suspension. However, it won’t beat you up when driving it daily. Many BMW 1 Series enthusiasts speak highly about the car’s suspension in stock form as it’s pliable on uneven surfaces, but keeps the car planted in the corners.

Additionally, the 135i has plenty of head and legroom up front although the rear seat is rather cramped. There’s even a good amount of trunk space for a couple of carry-on bags if you can believe that.

The BMW 135i is not without its problems

BMW 135i engine view
BMW 135i engine view | BMW

The main caveat to buying a used 135i is that it is a used BMW. That’s not to say that all used BMWs are bad, but buyers can expect there to be some repairs like any other car. The only problem is that those repairs can get quite expensive.

According to BMW Tuning, some of the most common issues include:

  • High-pressure fuel pump failure
  • Turbocharger failure
  • Leaky fuel injectors
  • Leaking boost
  • Valve cover oil leak
  • Carbon build-up
  • VANOS solenoids
  • Water pump failure

Yes, that’s a lot of problems. And you can bet that repairs for them can get quite pricey depending on where you take the car to get worked on – not to mention the price of the parts alone.

How much does a used BMW 135i cost?

BMW 135i coupe in white
BMW 135i coupe in white | BMW

If you decide that a used BMW 135i needs to be in your future, then you can expect to pay around $8,000 to $27,000 for one. Of course, the pricing will depend on the car’s condition, age, and location. As always, we recommend having a pre-purchase inspection done before pulling the trigger on one of these used BMWs since you never know what potential issues could be lurking.

However, if you find a good one that’s relatively problem-free, then you’ll be treated to a luxurious German pocket rocket that’s a blast to drive every day.


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