When it comes to choosing a car to build a proper canyon carver out of, something that can be equally as fun on a twisty backroad as it is on track, you want something that has duality. The car needs to be capable enough to be a fast track weapon but also comfortable enough to drive on a regular basis and, at least according to The Smoking Tire, the BMW 135i Coupe is just about the perfect car.
In this new video, TST shows off the BMW 135i they bought for the daily canyon driver build, a build that they’re going to be giving away in November (you can enter to win it here). They discuss why the chose the 135i and then they drive it, to get a feel for what it’s like stock and what they want to do to it.
It’s been awhile since we’ve really taken a look at the original BMW 135i Coupe, considering the car they drive in this video was new in 2009. Which is a shame because it’s a great driver’s car right out of the box.
The engine is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged (sequential turbos) inline-six (N54), which made 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque when it was new. And, despite its 93,000 miles, TST’s car still feels even more powerful than those figures suggest. It’s old-school straight-six feels smooth and punchy enough that TST isn’t even going to do any modifications to the engine, only maintenance.
They will, however, add coilovers, fit it with HRE Wheels, Michelin PS4S tires, new brakes, and fresh fluids, to elevate what’s good about the driving experience and fix what’s wrong. However, they do say that it’s a pretty great car from the factory, one that has a good ride/handling balance despite being on old shocks. The steering is also good, even if it’s a bit heavy by modern standards. I noticed this in my E90, too. I hadn’t driven a hydraulic steering BMW in so long that I forgot how heavy they can feel. Compared to my E90, or this 1 Series, even modern M car steering feels Toyota Corolla-light.
If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive car to use as a daily driver but also for some track day fun, the BMW 135i might just be the perfect starting point.