Bill Clinton once famously said that some things depend on “what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” Ol’ Slick Willie was parsing language as only a lawyer could to explain away a little philandering. But in the automotive world, the meaning of “is” has an entirely different definition for BMW. The “is” on the back of some of its cars designates a sport edition, usually denoting more horsepower, better handling, a full compliment of standard features, and a higher price tag
Thus, we already know what to expect of the 2013 BMW 135is coupe and convertible. The two BMw 135is models sport a 320-hp version of the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine. That’s 20 hp more than the standard 135i, but without sacrificing fuel economy or increasing emissions from the sporty-sounding exhaust system. Handling is also improved with stiffer springs, electronic rear brake management to simulate a locking differential, and stability control that’s reprogrammed to provide higher limits before intervening. The BMW 135is will be available with either a six-speed manual transmission, or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters.
Styling wise, the 2013 BMW 135is features a gloss black grille, black outside mirror caps, unique 18-inch wheels, and of course the “is” badge on the rear. Inside, the 135is treats drivers with stainless steel pedals, special interior badges, and optional black leather with blue stitching on the sport seats.
With all the special treatment, plus a host of standard features that are normally optional on the 1 Series, the price isn’t all that surprising. The 2013 BMW 135is coupe will cost $44,145, while the convertible will be $48,845; both prices include the $895 destination fee. A lot of money to be sure, but then again, the BMW 135is sounds like a lot of car, despite its small size.