Here I’m reviewing my 2010 BMW 135i twin-turbo e82 N54. I may be a bit biased, having now owned the car for a bit over a year, but let me explain why it’s easily the best car I’ve had the pleasure of owning.
I purchased the 135i back in October 2016 off a middle-aged lady who used it daily as her work car. It had just ticked over 110,000km and been regularly serviced. I had just sold my Lancer Evolution 6 and my Lancer Evolution 8, was cashed up and wanted the taste of a European car, despite everyone I know warning me to avoid them at all costs. (BMW servicing is expensive, parts are expensive etc.)
I drove the car away that night, and within the first 30 seconds I knew I’d made the best decision of my life. I instantly connected my phone via the factory Bluetooth to call my parents to say I’d be dropping by to show it off. I punched into the sat-nav, again factory, to my parents' house.
I had been driving quick, heavily modified cars with no creature comforts just a lot of power, and I tell you what, the BMW from factory is an absolute weapon. It hits ludicrous speeds within a few seconds and makes all the right noises. To my joy, I learnt that it was an M-packaged 1 Series, had the M-Sport exhaust, intake and been tuned!
While I played with it, I set the cruise control and sat at an average of 10.4L/100km, down to 6L/100km at 100km/h. And for a 3.0-litre twin turbo I was amazed, albeit throwing that right foot down would drive those numbers upwards of 30!
After owing it for six months, I was getting tired of the less than sporty standard suspension – it seemed tired. I swapped it out for some M-Sport goodies and brought the car back to life again.
I couldn’t help but think BMW had absolutely nailed this car. It has forged rods from factory, so it's a great base for anyone interested in modifying, or great peace of mind for anyone worried about reliability of the block.
It wasn’t until I had thought this that those words 'BMWs are unreliable' now came to haunt me.
The coil packs are a known weak spot on N54 engines, as well as the injectors – they leak and cause all kind of havoc. Which you’d think is all well and good, just upgrade or replace them right? BMW has other plans. On their 12th – yes 12th! – revision of the injectors, they ask an eye-watering $700 a pop!
Luckily some overseas companies offer great pricing, and with the maintenance and known problems dealt with, back to happy motoring.
The N54 is an amazing engine. And the ZF gearbox I opted for, as it was to be my daily driver, is a dream. Being eight years old it still shifts as fast as you can hit the paddle shift.
The N55 was updated and now has the DSG gearbox and seven-speed, but went to a single-turbo set-up when they redid the engine and gearbox set-up.
It's a great daily for anyone who wants power with every luxury you can think of. While I had plans to then on-sell and step into the M3, the trusty 135i has ticked over 160,000km and drives like a brand-new car.
Sporty, quick, great on fuel, and luxury – what more could you ask for?