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Used BMW 135i review: 2008-2012

2008 BMW 135i 1 Series Coupe.
Graham Smith road tests and reviews the 2008 - 2012 BMW 135i as a used buy.

Graham Smith road tests and reviews the 2008 - 2012 BMW 135i as a used buy.


Take a small, compact rear-wheel drive coupe, slip a responsive chassis under it with big wheels and brakes, then stuff an awesome twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine under the bonnet and you've got the makings of an exciting sports car. That's what BMW did in producing the 135i sports coupe, and the result was spectacular.

BMW has always been at its best when building cars with a sporty edge, and it was true to form with the 135i. The compact 135i was a two-door coupe based on the rear-wheel drive 1 Series platform. While not sporty its lines were still sleek and purposeful, its panels were tightly wrapped around the big alloy wheels at each corner, and the BMW kidney grille was featured at the front.

The great news was under the bonnet in the form of BMW's thundering twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six-cylinder engine. When running at its peak it put out 225kW and an earth-moving 400Nm, with the maximum torque on tap from 1500 to 5000 rpm.

BMW has long been renowned for its straight six-cylinder engines and the 3.0-litre turbo unit in the 135i was a gem. It pulled like a train and there were none of the vices sometimes associated with a turbocharged engine. With all that available under your right foot, it was possible to urge the 1485kg coupe from zero to 100km/h in a touch over five seconds. The 135i coupe was clearly no slouch.

Even with that scintillating performance the 135i could be an economical cruiser, with BMW claiming it would do 9.6L/100km on a combined cycle. The transmission options were a 6-speed sports auto and a 6-speed manual, with an electronic diff lock to keep a check on the final drive.

On the road the 135i was agile and responsive. It could change direction quickly and with impressive precision. One of the few things deserving of criticism was the ride quality, which was firm thanks to the sporting suspension and the run-flat tyres it was fitted with. The cabin was stylish and comfortable, front seat passengers had plenty of headroom, the rear was a trifle cramped. Beyond the cabin the boot space wasn't great, even through there was no spare wheel.


The neat thing about buying a used prestige car is that you can usually pick them up for a mere fraction of their original new price. That's certainly the case with the 135i where you can own a 2008 model for about half as much as the original owner would have paid for it new.

While that seems a great deal you do have to keep in mind that a 2008 135i is now six years old and will have done upwards of 100,000km. That's not a lot of kays, but it is enough to issue a word of caution to anyone looking to buy one.

BMWs are basically solid and reliable, they rarely develop any squeaks or creaks in the body until quite high kays, so you could expect to find a tight and quiet car at the sort of kays an average 135i will have done. If there are creaks, rattles, or creaks take a good look at the bodywork; you might suspect that the car has been involved in a crash.

Servicing can be expensive, so too can the parts when needed for repairs. It's a good idea to cosy up to a mechanic with BMW experience. They are not only on top of the servicing and repairs of the cars; they are usually able to source more affordable parts. Check for a service record to make sure your chosen car has been properly maintained. The 135i is a high performance car, so look for signs your car has been thrashed, if you suspect it has walk away.


If you like a fast and furious ride, consider the 135i. With its great engine and brilliant chassis, it's awesome.

BMW 135i - 2008-2012
Price new: $75,195
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cyl, 225 kW/400 Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, 6-speed auto, RWD
Economy: 9.6L/100km
Body: 2-door coupe
Variants: 135i
Safety: 5-star ANCAP



Year Price From Price To
2012 $7,800 $42,350
2011 $6,900 $39,380
2010 $6,900 $29,700
2009 $6,500 $25,190
2008 $5,200 $22,660

View all BMW 1 Series pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

Based on 52 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
Highest Price

Range and Specs

135i 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $14,700 – 20,790 2008 BMW 1 Series 2008 135i Pricing and Specs
120d 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $7,200 – 11,220 2008 BMW 1 Series 2008 120d Pricing and Specs
125i 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $10,500 – 15,400 2008 BMW 1 Series 2008 125i Pricing and Specs
135i Sport 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $13,100 – 18,920 2008 BMW 1 Series 2008 135i Sport Pricing and Specs
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist


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