With the departure of the hot 1 Series M Coupe, BMW’s 1 Series lineup was missing a performance-tuned halo model – but no longer. This is the new 2013 BMW 135is, which packs a 320-hp point.
The 135is will slot in between the powerful 135i and now-defunct 1 Series M Coupe. For the new model, BMW took the same formula it used to create the larger 335is and applied it to the 1 Series. The 135is uses the same 3.0-liter direct-injected, turbocharged inline six-cylinder powerplant as the 135i, but power has been pumped up to 320 hp (from 300) and 317 lb-ft (from 300) – the same output as the bigger 335is.
The transmission options from the 135i carry over unchanged: a six-speed manual is standard, while a seven-speed dual-clutch is optional. Other under-the-skin upgrades include a performance exhaust, a lightweight steel sport suspension, an auxiliary radiator, and more powerful radiator fan. BMW has also recalibrated the dynamic stability control for more performance-oriented driving. Compared to the 1 Series M Coupe, the 135is is down just 15 hp and 15 lb-ft.
Helping to differentiate the 135is from lesser 1 Series models are high-gloss black grilles, mirror caps, unique exterior badges, and a raft of standard M Sport Package parts. The 135is also comes standard with the same 18-inch five-spoke wheels as on the larger 335is. Inside, optional black leather seats have blue contrast stitching, standard sport seats, stainless steel pedals, and special badges set the 135is apart.
BMW will offer the 2013 135is in both coupe and convertible forms and will begin arriving at dealerships this fall and are available to order now. The extra performance will come at a premium, however: the 135is coupe starts at $44,145 and the convertible starts at $48,845, $3950 and $3850 more expensive than the base 135i coupe and convertible, respectively.
Although 1 Series M Coupes are no longer available, the 2013 135is coupe undercuts that car's 2011 price tag by $2865. Compared to the larger 335is with which the 135is shares its powertrain, buyers will be saving $8850 for the coupe and $12,850 for the convertible. (All prices include the destination charges.)