- The Washington Times - Friday, July 17, 2009

One word that describes the 2009 BMW 135i Coupe is “Hot!” With a powerful engine linked to a six-gear manual transmission, every trip I made became a hot lap.

My “trips” weren’t long. Even a simple drive around the neighborhood was fun, especially on streets that allowed me to accelerate as fast as my heart was pounding.

Under the hood of this beauty is a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder twin-turbo engine that produces 300 horsepower almost instantly. It can do 0-to-60 mph in 5.1 seconds and has a top speed of 150 mph. Although I didn’t achieve either of those measurements, the 135i made me feel like I did.

This coupe has a base price of $39,820 and, with a load of options, my tester cost $42,895. The fuel-mileage rating on the twin-turbo 6 engine is 17 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway.

This dreamy coupe was created in Leipzig, Germany, and is said to represent the core of BMW philosophies of pure performance and design.

The subcompact 1 Series seems to have an aggressive stance sitting on 17-inch Star Spoke alloy wheels, and the body design gives the impression that it will cut through the air with little resistance.

On the front end, the 135i has Xenon adaptive headlamps, and I’m told these lamps have an auto-leveling feature that adjusts to the varying passenger and cargo loads the 1 Series is carrying. The 1 also has headlamp washers, plus a two-way power glass moonroof.

The seats also reflect that this coupe is intended to run fast. The front seats have power controls, and the driver’s seat can be set into one of two memory cells, which also retain the telescopic steering wheel settings. The power-operated sideview mirrors are retained in memory, and they also can fold inward. The 135i features one-touch up/down on both windows.

The three-spoke leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel allowed me to keep both hands on the wheel while adjusting various comfort and convenience functions, such as the audio system, cruise control and hands-free phone controls. Incidentally, the entire dash appearance is offset with quality burl wood trim.

My tester was equipped with Sirius Satellite radio, making trips more enjoyable. But the real enjoyment came when I drove out to my back roads where I could give the 135i a good workout.

I was able to push this coupe through each turn hard - which is the proper way to drive. Numerous instructors have taught me to brake before getting into the turn and accelerate through the curve to give the car better traction. The 1 Series accelerates very nicely even when left in sixth gear during my braking and throttling. The supportive seats are designed to hold me firmly through each turn.

The BMW people told me the coupe has an almost perfect weight distribution, making this a rear-wheel-drive model that is built on an extremely rigid body to produce precise steering control. Thus I was able to make sharp turns and still have road-gripping traction.

It comes with a load of safety features as standard equipment such a Dynamic Stability Control, including brake fade compensation, brake drying and brake stand-by. In addition to the anti-lock brakes it has front seat-mounted side-impact airbags. For those who like to use a cell phone when driving, it also has Bluetooth.

I did not want to be distracted with phone calling while driving the 135i. The enjoyment of this hot coupe is being able to concentrate on its performance and the way it handles the road with an exceptionally hot engine.

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