One of the best normal (non-M) driver’s BMWs of this century was the BMW 135i. Based on the first-ever 1 Series Coupe, the 135i was the six-cylinder, rear-wheel drive, enthusiast’s version. It was what M Performance cars are now; the more powerful, more exciting version of standard cars. Now that they’re relatively cheap, they also make great project cars for tuning.
In this new video from Regular Car Reviews, we get to see a tuned BMW 135i M Sport with 450 horsepower, thanks to its tuned 3.0 liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline-six N55 engine. The upgraded tune on this car adds a ton of boost and, when combined with its upgraded exhaust, sound absolutely incredible, with some of the best turbo-flutter I’ve ever heard.
All of its 450 horsepower is sent through a six-speed manual to just the rear-wheels, as the Car Gods intended. You’d expect that to be a handful but, as mentioned in this video, the 1er’s advanced traction control actually helps keep it all tidy. It also seems surprisingly tame to drive, given just how much power it has, its rear-drive nature, and relatively low curb weight.
The BMW 1 Series Coupe is still one of the more fun normal BMWs you can find on the used market. The best part about it is its steering, which is still old-school hydraulic steering and feels far better than the electric power steering setup used in its successor, the 2 Series. Driving a BMW from that era really puts into perspective just how numb BMWs of today have become.
These are the sorts of used Bimmers that enthusiasts need to seek out. They’re still affordable for most enthusiasts, have tons of tuning potential due to their turbocharged engines, can be found with manual transmissions, and still feel like proper old-school BMWs while also still providing the modern creature comforts we want.