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2013 BMW 135is Convertible Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, BMW, Test Drives

2013 BMW 135is Convertible Beauty Right Up Done Small

With the 1-Series limited-edition M Performance Package discontinued for 2013, BMW 1-Series enthusiasts can still enjoy the thrills piloting the new 135is.  I tested the convertible model and was impressed with the overall quality of the 1-Series and was delighted with the high-performance of the ‘is’ package.

The 135is comes equipped with a 3.0 liter, BMW TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder, all-alloy engine featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger/intercooler, variable-valve control (Double-VANOS and Valvetronic) with a high-precision direct injection system and a larger radiator fan.  This potent engine generates a healthy 320hp at 5,800rpm and 317lb.ft. of torque at 1,500-5,000rpm.  Virtually   eliminating turbo lag because of the Double-VANOS ‘steplessly’ VVT, it propels the car to 60mph from a standstill in well under 5 seconds.  The upgraded performance dual exhaust system gives out a mighty roar when you mash your foot on the throttle.  For maximum acceleration and handling there is a ‘Sport’ button on the center console that will remap the engine computer for even quicker gear changes, lesson the amount of intrusion from the Dynamic Stability Control system and tighten the twin-tube gas-charged shocks for razor sharp handling ability.  Furthermore, you can shut off the Dynamic Stability Control system by pushing a button on the dashboard.

2013 BMW 135is Convertible Engine Done Small

All of this power is channeled to the rear wheels through a 7-speed double-clutch transmission that gives smooth, lighting-quick gear changes by automatically shifting between two transmission structures.  While one gear is disengaging, the next is already in position.  The result is quicker acceleration and enhanced fuel efficiency.  You can shift manually via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters or by moving the leather-wrapped gear selector lever forward or backward.  When not in the mood for crisp acceleration, you can always just keep the gear selector in Drive and let the computer do the work for you.

2013 BMW 135is Convertible Beauty Side Done Small

With a perfectly balance 49.7/50.3% front/rear weight distribution, the car feel neutral on the road when putting it through its paces on twisting, curving roads.  Even though this 135is convertible weighs in at a considerable 3,638 pounds, the use of extensive aluminum componentry keeps weight to a minimum.  Aluminum is found in the front forged lower arms, subframe, steering rack and brakes.  The race bred fully independent suspension features a front aluminum double-pivot spring and strut type setup with anti-roll bar and twin-tube gas-charged shocks.  Out the rear is a five link setup using lightweight, high-strength steel, coil springs, stabilizer bar and twin-tube gas-charged shocks.  This ‘M-tuned’ suspension is amazing with ‘riding-on-rails’ feel when attacking steeply curving roads.  Everything underneath works so harmoniously giving me a ‘racecar’ feel when I tug on the leather-wrapped/tit/telescopic steering wheel that uses an ‘M-tuned’ rack & pinion steering system.  Just a hint of oversteer when at the apex of a curve lets the car slide out as wanted to further let me feel like I was piloting a true racecar.  Adding to that racecar feeling is the roaring dual performance exhaust system that lets anyone around know that you are zooming by.   It’s a real ‘head-turner’!

2013 BMW 135is Convertible Beauty Rear Done Small

The braking system is up to speed quickly slowing the new 1350is down from speed.  Up front are 13.3 inch vented discs clamped with six-piston calipers for ‘world-class’ braking power.  In the rear are 12.8 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers.  Enhancing the braking power and control when braking on slick or wet pavement are standard ABS, brake drying and BMWs Dynamic Brake Control.

2013 BMW 135is Convertible Wheel Tire Brake Done Small

Furthering the ‘M’ look and superb handling are the stunning wheels-double spoke (style 313M) light alloy wheels-18X7.5 inch front and 18X8.5 inch rear wheels wrapped with 215/40R18 and 245/35R18 inch rear Bridgestone Potenza ultra-high-performance, low-profile, run-flat tires.  This total package is pure M Performance from the engine, to the twin-clutch 7-speed transmission, to the M-tuned suspension, big BMW brakes and M-styled wheels and supercar tires.

The drive of the new 135is is stiff but it works well, never harsh.  It includes energy-absorbing front and rear ends as well as extra strengthening of the underbody, skirts and doors giving the body structure extreme torsional stiffness.  BMW engineers designed the body with great resistance to vibration, even on sharp bumps or washboard roads, giving a stable, comfortable with minimum squeaks and rattles.  Enhancing the front stiffness to increase turn-in and handling prowess is the front strut tower brace placed just behind the engine.

2013 BMW 135is Convertible Beauty Headon Done Small

The styling is pure BMW with front ‘eye brow’ design accent above the headlamp assembly with ‘Corona’ headlight rings.  The Xenon Adaptive Headlights swivel to cast light around every curve. Up front there are wide and deep air-intakes: the signature BMW ‘blacked out’ twin-kidney grille channels air to the engine, down below the wide air-intake channels air to the intercooler, at the sides are air-intakes that channel air to the brakes cooling down the big six-piston calipers and 13.3 inch vented rotors, plus adding cooling air channels to the intercooler.  The front underside features a spoiler and flat under panel to help better front airflow.

2013 BMW 135is Convertible Dashboard Done Small

The side view shows the short front and rear overhangs, a steeply raked windshield A-pillars, aerodynamic styled power-folding/heated/self-dimming side mirrors, flared fenders, sleek pull-out door handles and deep lower side extensions, flat trunk lid with an upturned rear spoiler at the end of the trunk lid.  The rear shows L-shaped LED taillights, a sculpted rear bumper with dual, 3-inch wide polished stainless steel exhaust pipes gathered at the left.  Down below is a diffuser to help better manage air flowing out from underneath.  The styling is pure BMW with its wide, sleek and low stance.  The Ultimate Driving Machine in a compact convertible.  The signature BMW package continues inside with comfort, sporty cues and the latest in safety features.

2013 BMW 135is Convertible Front Seats Done Small

The front doors open wide for easy entry and exit.  The fully lined power-folding automatic 3-layer/canvas soft-top features an electric rear window defroster and rises and lowers in just 22 sec.  It can even rise and lower at up to speeds below 23mph.  All of the touch points are soft and high-quality.  The leather sport bucket seats are comfortable and very supportive.  They feature 8-way power with adjustable side bolsters, 4-way adjustable power lumbar support and thigh support with a driver memory for two.  The seats also feature dark blue stitching to match the Le Mans Blue metallic paint scheme. The instrument cluster shows BMW’s signature aluminum-trimmed gauges with the trip computer readout in the center.  The 3-spoke leather-wrapped multi-function M sport steering wheel feels great in your hands and is superb and pointing your direction with precision and razor sharp response.  The center stack is canted to you for easy use and the console features the nubby stick shifter with dual cupholders and two-tiered storage.  There is storage in the front doors and in the deep and wide glovebox.  Other standard equipment includes power front windows with one-touch up/down operation, through-loading system with an integrated transport bag, rain-sensing wipers/washers, automatic headlight control, cruise control, ash tray/cigar lighter, chrome ‘M’ door kick plates, rear seat power fore/aft control on the seatbacks, automatic dual-zone climate control with micro-filter, and automatic air recirculation, aerodynamic bodykit, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, engine start/stop button, power door locks, Bluetooth wireless technology, phone downloading and speed recognition capabilities, Shadowline exterior trim, glacier silver aluminum trim, heated front seats, keyless entry, Universal Garage Door opener, remote trunk release, AM-FM-CD/MP3 player/iPod and USB adapter, with Radio Data System, and carpeted floor mats front/rear.

2013 BMW 135is Convertible Back Seats Done Small

Standard safety systems onboard include driver/front passenger front airbags, dual-threshold, dual stage deployment and front passenger seat sensor, front-seat-mounted front side-impact airbags, LATCH system for child seats, programmable daytime running lights, 4-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, rollover protection system, front/rear crumple zones/interlocking door anchoring system to help protect against door intrusion in side impacts, crash sensor that activates Battery Safety Terminal disconnect of alternator, fuel pump, and starter from battery, automatically unlocks doors and turns on hazard and interior lights.

The new BMW 135is is a great substitute for the departed M limited-edition from last year.  It has the looks, driving performance and dynamics plus a safe, fun-to-drive, comfortable and luxurious cabin with ‘state-of-the-art technologies to make any BMW enthusiast happy.



  • Price: $47,950.00-base/$53,395.00 as tested plus destination
  • Engine: 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 cylinder 320 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm / 317 lb.ft. of torque @ 1,500-5,000 rpm
  • Total length: 172.2 inches
  • Total width: 68.8 inches
  • Total height: 55.6 inches
  • Wheelbase: 104.7 inches
  • Track: f/r-58/59.3 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-41.5 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-38.6/37 inches
  • Fuel tank: 14 gallons
  • Trunk volume: 8-cu.ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.0 seconds
  • EPA fuel economy: 18mpg/city, 25mpg/highway



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