Spy Shots: 2008 BMW 135i

David Axberg
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Hans G Lehmann

There have been a number of images of the forthcoming U.S.-bound BMW 1-series floating around the internet lately. Along with those images, there has been much speculation as to which models and engines we'll get. After examining some of the newest spy shots of the smallest BMW, we have some thoughts of our own.

There will not be an M1. At least not yet. The black and blue 1-series cars seen here have body trim pieces and wheels that appear to indicate an M-spec car. The chin spoiler and wings, along with the side skirts and big brakes would certainly be natural on an M-car. But there's one other crucial detail in those pictures that's important in determining which engine resides underneath: the intercooler. An intercooler (which is clearly visible in the gaping lower air dam) signals, obviously, the use of a turbo charger, and hence, the probability of these cars using the twin-turbo six-cylinder from the 335i. Considering that BMW has stated that they will only use naturally-aspirated engines in their M-cars, the spoilers and wheels make sense on an M-sport package equipped 135i.

Since down-market BMWs tend not to do well in the U.S. market (think of the mid-nineties 318ti hatchback), expect the 1-series to be well-equipped throughout the range. We assume, then, the other choice in the lineup would be the 130i, using the detuned non-turbo version of the 135i motor. And as far as body styles go, we'll get only the coupe and the convertible: the hatchback is probably too radical for conservative American tastes, and BMW doesn't want to take any chances after the sales failure of the 318ti.

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