Consumer Reports may not be a well loved source of reviews for enthusiasts but in this case they did compare a nice group of cars. The 135 went up against the Subaru WRX STi, VW R32, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, the Volvo C30 and a few other models. In the end the BMW come out on tops points wise but of course without long term reliability CR can not recommend the car, though they do recommend the Subarus they tested. From Market Watch:
BMW 135i Outpoints Its Competitors to Become Consumer Reports ‘ Top-Rated Sporty Car Last update: 7:12 p.m. EDT Sept. 2, 2008 YONKERS, N.Y., Sept 02, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — CR tests BMW coupe against Subaru Impreza WRX STi, Volkswagen R32, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and others for October issue The BMW 135i achieved an “Excellent ” overall score and outpaced all its competitors to become Consumer Reports ‘ top-rated sporty car in testing for the October issue. The 135i drew praise for its splendid handling, a punchy engine delivering a 0-to-60 mph acceleration time of 5.2 seconds, and its overall fun-to-drive quality. Other highly-rated cars in this month ‘s test group of eight sports and sporty cars were the Subaru Impreza WRX STi, Volkswagen R32, and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, in that ranking order. All three of those vehicles achieved overall scores that were also in the “Excellent ” range, but lower than the 135i. The four top-rated vehicles ranged in price from $33,630 for the R32 to $38,078 for the “Evo. ” The October test group also included four other cars, which are priced about $10,000 less and delivered impressive performance for the price. They included the Subaru Impreza WRX, Chevrolet Cobalt SS, Nissan Sentra SE-R, and Dodge Caliber SRT4. Prices for those models ranged from $23,310 for the SE-R to $25,169 for the WRX. The issue also includes an “Auto Test Extra ” report on the Volvo C30 hatchback, which is less sporty than the other eight models tested but is stylish and capable. It earned a “Very Good ” overall score. “The new 135i is quick, well balanced and a lot of fun to drive, ” said David Champion, senior director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. “The engine is smooth and powerful and returns relatively good fuel economy. Steering and brakes are excellent, and the cabin is well finished and quiet, with comfortable front seats. “
Full tests and ratings of the sporty cars group in the October issue of Consumer Reports, available now at newsstands. The reports are also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.