Jeremy Clarkson reviews the BMW 135i M Sport convertible

1-series | September 27th, 2009 by 11
bmw 1 series 135i convertible 2009 exterior angularfront 750x500

Jeremy Clarkson gets another BMW in his hands, but this time, he’s not feeling so generous with the BMW brand. A few months back, in …

Jeremy Clarkson gets another BMW in his hands, but this time, he’s not feeling so generous with the BMW brand. A few months back, in a way, he surprised us when he gave the new Z4 nothing but praises. The latest car that went through his purgatory was the BMW 135i Convertible with the M Sport package, but the review was less flattering.

In a way, this surprises us since in his review, he mentions how much he enjoyed the 135i Coupe model, a vehicle that is very similar to the convertible. design, dynamics and performance of that car are nearly identical with the convertible model, hence our confusion, but let’s take a look at what Jeremy had to say.

“Joy’s not really a German thing, I suppose. We do joy. The Americans do joy. The Italians do joy, even though they never laugh. Germans, though? They’re rather better at precision and accuracy and following orders. Which is why I can’t quite understand what went wrong with the new convertible version of the 135i.

bmw 1 series 135i convertible 2009 exterior angularfront 655x491It is featured right at the start of the “joy” commercial. The driver is an old man in a hat who is smiling enormously, presumably because he’s just caught a glimpse in the rear-view mirror of his comedy moustache. Certainly, it’s not because of the car.

I like the hard-top 135 very much. In a road test on these pages, I said it harked back to the big engine/small car philosophy that crystalised the BMW range back in the early Eighties. I even gave it five stars, and so I was looking forward to driving its convertible sister.

The 3-litre engine’s unchanged and it’s still great. You have one little turbo that gets you going and then another enormous turbo that kicks in if you really need some clout to overtake. The result is better economy allied to a seamless, relentless, muscular stream of power that’s never exciting or zingy, but always there, ready to arm wrestle its way into your consciousness.

However, the convertible is 254lb heavier than the coupé and that iron lard makes its presence felt every time you put your foot down. This car is as zesty as Stonehenge.

Of course, you’d imagine that with 254lb of strengthening material, it would at least be rigid and strong. But no. All the time the steering wheel is wobbling and vibrating, and sometimes you can actually feel the flex that is sort of inevitable when the front and the back are joined together by only the floor and a bit of Millets canvas.

I don’t doubt that, in extremis, the 135 will handle nicely. And we know it’s quite fast. But there is no excitement here. Not even a crumb of joy.”

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11 responses to “Jeremy Clarkson reviews the BMW 135i M Sport convertible”

  1. Ted says:

    I’ve never really liked verts for this reason. It’s a sacrifice for sure to cut the roof of. I much rather have a perfectly balanced car with spot on handling then to have a mushy car with an soft top. Give me the Coupe any day. So I’m not surprised one bit Clarkson hated this car.

  2. viper says:

    as expected

  3. Cereb says:

    As an motorjournalist Jeremy should know that the twinturbos of this engine have the same size, unlike the tt-diesel.
    His reviews are quite entertaining but not to be taken very serious.

    • Parker says:

      I am tired of hearing him say that the N54 is a biTurbo and not a twin turbo. They are the same size Jeremy!!

    • Doug says:

      Wait a minute… all the pictures of the N54 I’ve seen clearly show the two different sized turbos, plus there’s all the hoopla made about the sequential turbocharging. Are there two different versions of the N54 engine, perhaps?

  4. Rob Klages says:

    It is funny how little he actually knows about the engine – it’s 2 little turbos working hard together. The one small one big turbo is the diesel!

  5. The Lee says:

    A) Clarkson has NEVER been technically savvy when it comes to the nuts-and-bolts of a car. This is far from the first time I’ve seen him make an error when it comes to the technical aspect of a vehicle.

    B) He’s a journalist/editorialist. He’s paid (well) to give his opinion, and he often does so in a melodramatic, disproportional way. That’s what he does, and that’s what makes him who his is. To say that his referring to the car as “stonehenge” takes away his credibility is absolutely ridiculous. He’s not a scientist; he’s not supposed to be unbiased or speak solely in legitimate, measurable scientific terminology.

    C) He’s an entertainer and a human being. Read/watch his work. It’s usually funny and there’s normally more than a shred of truth in it. In the end, though, he’s giving his opinion. Take it as such. Don’t get bent out of shape if he doesn’t like a car you happen to car for/own/etc. It’s his opinion. Just be glad someone has the balls to stand up and say “this thing is a piece of shit”. Used to be that wasn’t the case and even turd cars got good reviews.

  6. X5 SoB says:

    Jeremy Clarkson is a TV personality who thinks he knows a thing or two about cars. The numerous wrecks he’s had show just what a no talent hack he is. A convertible naturally will have less structural rigidity than a coupe, but for Clarkson to be suprised and dissappointed by this is sophomoric. Gee Jeremy, lets just throw out the baby with the bathwater…

  7. jkp says:

    It’s always been my opinion that convertibles are a lot more fun to look at than to actually drive.

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