$7,159 - $10,034

2009 BMW 1-Series Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 BMW 1-Series was new.


Performance: 8.8

Auto writers say the 2009 BMW 1-Series is an exceptional performer, with ample engine power, smooth transmissions, precise cornering and sure braking. The car's major misstep, however, is fuel economy.

  • "My test vehicle, the 135i, was fantastic on the road." -- The Detroit News
  • "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

Auto experts report that both the 128i and 135i 1-Series models have enough power to outpace most of their classmates. However, that power compromises gas mileage. The EPA rates the '09 1-Series coupe between 17 and 18 mpg in the city and between 25 and 28 mpg on the highway. The 128i and 135i convertible rates between 17 and 18 mpg in the city, and between 26 and 28 mpg on the highway.

  • "As in the 335i coupe and sedan, the twin-turbo inline six is a honey." -- 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
  • "No fancy transmission here, just a plain-Jane, automatic augmented with paddle shifters. And BMW may have a point: With an engine and chassis so responsive, no fancy transmission is needed. Step on it and the 135i goes." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The 1-Series' cornering, steering and braking are as sharp as expected from a BMW.

  • "Those who are familiar with BMW's approach to suspension tuning will immediately feel at home in the 1 Series. Goldilocks herself would approve of the steering feel, which is neither too firm nor too light and offers precise control of the front wheels, and we think the 1 Series will deliver all the driving enjoyment and performance balance BMW drivers have come to expect." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2009 BMW 1 Series' handling is simply superb. Precise steering combined with a well-balanced chassis makes the coupe and convertible feel right at home on a freeway or serpentine road." -- Edmunds
  • "The 135i's structure and suspension never crash or shudder, and aimed in a straight line, the heavy steering and the sense of unyielding structure allow the 135i to approach the composure of the much larger 6-series. In fact, the 135i doesn't feel small until it is challenged by quick transitions or tight corners, and even then it feels light on its feet." -- Car and Driver
  • "The brakes, which are best described as large and in charge, are always on their game." -- Motor Trend

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