2008 BMW 1-Series


$5,541 - $7,250

2008 BMW 1-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 BMW 1-Series was new.


Performance: 8.5

Auto writers have no complaints about the BMW 1-Series' performance, and say it lives up to the manufacturer's reputation for fine driving.

  • "BMW driving experience at its purest, powerful and efficient engines. … Whichever 1 Series you choose, you're assured of a fun time." -- Edmunds
  • "A satisfying, blistering car at the racetrack. … On the road, the 135i delivers fine motoring without compromise." -- Motor Trend
  • "We first drove the 128 through very twisting two lane roads north of Monterey, California. This was a no-extra's car with 6-speed manual, and it was glorious. Later we drove a 135 with 6-speed STEPTRONIC and adaptive steering. … Instead of inventing clever phrases, let's just say either vehicle is incredible driving fun." -- The Auto Channel

Acceleration and Power

Whether testing the 128i or the 135i, auto experts report the BMW 1-Series has enough power and then some to outpace other upscale small cars.

  • According to the EPA, the 1-Series' fuel ratings range from 17 to 19  mpg in the city and 26 to 28 mpg on the highways.
  • " While it's a safe bet that most owners won't find the 2008 BMW 128i lacking in power, the turbocharged 135i is a real thriller. With its 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque (whose peak is maintained from 1,300 rpm all the way to 5,000 rpm), this engine is incredibly flexible, delivering strong power in any situation with no discernible turbo lag."-- Edmunds
  • "While BMW claims the 135i sprints to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, our test machine consistently ripped off 4.7-second runs, easily besting the factory estimate, and buzzed through the quarter mile in 13.3 seconds at 105.6 mph." -- Motor Trend
  • "As in the 335i coupe and sedan, the twin-turbo inline-six is a honey, with a suggestive exhaust yowl at high revs, excellent midrange power, and the smoothness of Bill Clinton in full schmooze." -- Car and Driver
  • The manual transmission has precise shift action and an easily modulated clutch. The automatic shifts smoothly, downshifts quickly for more power, and responds promptly to manual gear selections, whether done with the console-mounted lever or available steering-wheel-mounted paddles." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

The 2008 1-Series has the cornering, steering, and braking capabilities test drivers have come to expect from a BMW.

  • "BMW's dynamic stability and traction control keep this coupe balanced and firmly planted on the road, and they don't kick in as soon as they sense a slippage. It's a rear-wheel drive vehicle, so of course there's going to be slippage now and again. That's why you buy a rear-wheel drive car." -- Detroit News
  • "Unlike the Audi A3, which feels like a stiff-riding VW Golf…the 1-Series drives like a proper BMW. The rear-drive chassis is just as balanced and composed as its bigger brothers', while the steering is just as sharp and the gearbox and brakes are every bit as slick as you'd expect." -- The Car Connection
  • "Its brakes . . . are tremendously robust. With 13.3-inch vented discs in the front and 12.8-inch vented discs in the rear, there's plenty of stopping power that doesn't fade even after repeated hammerings from high speed." -- Edmunds

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