Best sports car under $80,000

After this, its fourth consecutive year as champion, we are running out of superlatives for the BMW 135i Coupe. Yes, it really is that good.

First, the bad news ... now costing $2200 more than this time last year, the 135i takes a hit on price, depreciation, running and repair costs, insurance and fuel consumption. And it’s only on the cusp of average for warranty and standard features.

Now, the good news ... under the bonnet is a 225 kW twin-turbo, direct-injection, 3.0-litre straight-six. This is one complete engine, readily willing to send the tachometer needle racing to redline, or impress with its mid-range muscle. And when it goes to work, there’s a stirring soundtrack to match.

All that would count for nothing if the chassis and rest of the package failed to measure up. But here, BMW has blessed the smart-looking coupe with near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution, rear-wheel drive, tuned suspension, hi-tech braking system and a comprehensive tyre and wheel combination. Ride quality, while understandably firm, is agreeably compliant for everyday use.

The 135i tops the class for comfort, with its front seats providing rib-wrapping support and durability. There’s room (albeit, not a lot) for the occasional rear seat passenger or two and even a useful boot, unlike many traditional sports cars.

Australia's Best Cars Best Sports Car under $80,000 BMW 135i Coupe

Manufacturer’s List Price: $75,000

Criteria out of 10 – BMW 135i Coupe

Value for Money   Rating 
Pricing  1M
Depreciation  3L
Running Costs  4M
Fuel Consumption  4M
Warranty and dealer access   4M
Insurance  3L
Standard Features  6H

Design and Function   Rating 
Safety  9C
Environment  8C
Comfort  10H
Space  9H
Practicality  9H

On the Road   Rating 
Performance  10C
Ride  9M
Handling  9C
Braking  10C
Smoothness and Quietness   10C

Note: Level of weighting importance for each score: L = Low, M = Medium, H = High, C = Critical.