Best sports car under $80,000

Four years of category domination by BMW in the form of the 135i Coupe ended this year, but only because it was replaced by the even more potent M135i hot hatch as BMW’s volume seller in this segment.

The silky-smooth, turbo 3.0-litre six has been handed a power boost to deliver 235 kW at 5800 rpm and a substantial 450 Nm from 1250 rpm. On the road, the engine shows no signs of slowing down, as it delivers aural pleasure all the way to the 7000 rpm red-line.

A larger brake package stands the M135i on its nose time and again without a whimper. Driving through the rear wheels adds considerably to the balance of the BMW, allowing the front wheels to get on with the job of pointing the car in the right direction.

Both the M135i’s M-tuned sports suspension and variable sports steering system can be controlled by the driver to deliver the desired ride and handling characteristics.
The amount of grip is astonishing. The adjustable suspension allows selection of a comfort mode, so the ride never becomes uncomfortable for everyday driving.

Inside, the driver is treated to sports leather seats that support in all the right areas, all controls fall easily to hand, and there is a sense of quality build and finish.

Multiple airbags with stability, braking and traction safety systems combine to achieve near maximum points for safety.

Australia's Best Cars Best Sports Car under $80,000 BMW 1 Series M135i

Manufacturer’s List Price: $78,500

BMW 1 Series M135i - Criteria out of 10

Value for Money   Rating 
Pricing  2M
Depreciation  3L
Running Costs  6M
Fuel Consumption  5M
Warranty and dealer access   3H
Insurance  4L
Standard Features  6H

Design and Function   Rating 
Safety  9C
Environment  8C
Comfort  10H
Ergonomics  9H
Build and Finish  9H

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

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