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Looking at cars Saturday and came across the BMW 135 convertible. What can you tell me about how it compares to the 981? Same length, longer wheelbase, more HP and torque, free maintenance and cheaper. What are the driving differences, etc. I want to read what you guys think.

Thanks a lot!
 

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Have you driven both cars yet? Do you like the looks of the 135i as much as the Boxster or close enough that you want regret it later on? I'm going thru the same exercise between the Boxster and the upcoming Audi TT. The Audi when it comes out maybe next year will definitely be cheaper but will I enjoy it as much? I'll have to drive both and see!
 

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While test driving a Z4, I briefly looked at the 135 vert but it does not have the 4 cyl engine but the 6 which is not as fuel efficient. Took the Z4 with 4 for a test drive by myself and its spirited enough for me.
But and here is the big but, the Z4 and the 135 are totally different machines than the 981. The BMW's have passenger car genes with a great big nav system that pops up out of the dash and little lighted areas in the display for temp etc that make no sense at all as to their location.
The 981 is pure driving machine and the display/dash supports driving.-DickB
BTW, ordered a 981.
 

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Are you kidding? The BMW has the shape of a clown's car and is built cheaply.They are so foolish looking, we call them the circus car. These 2 cars are not even in the same zip code.
 

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Looking at cars Saturday and came across the BMW 135 convertible. What can you tell me about how it compares to the 981? Same length, longer wheelbase, more HP and torque, free maintenance and cheaper. What are the driving differences, etc.
Do you need the small back seats? If the answer is "yes" then you've answered your own question. If the answer is "no" then the 800-pound weight difference answers your question.
 

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Take a look at a TT if you can find one. It is a much better built, better looking car.
Agreed ! (IMO 981>TT>135). Having driven my modded TTS coupe on track a week and a half earlier than driving a 981S on the same track, there's no doubt which car handles better. My tuned TTS felt a little quicker but the 981S had much better turn in. Even with a beefier rear sway bar and upgraded Haldex controller, my car still is not as balanced or eager to turn.
 

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I owned a 2011 135i for a little over a year. I traded that for a Challenger 392 SRT8 (fun in its own way). I now have a 981S.

All jokes aside, the 135i was an impressive little car. Huge fun, especially with that turbo, it was a hoot to scoot around town. The low end grunt is great from light to light and as a city car it's great. DCT was impressive but nowhere near as telepathic as the PDK on the 981. Also BMW's launch control system is so complicated to use that it's hardly worth it.

Biggest disappointment on the 135 was the suspension. it just crashed over any road inconsistency. Run-flats/Short wheelbase didn't help. Handling was so so. I drive enthusiastically, but I'm not a nut, and in the 135 I often felt like I was on the limit.

Back seats are for kids, or VERY small adults. I tried sitting back there and at 5' 10" was very claustrophobic.

Styling was a bit odd, even with the M package I never LOVED how it looked.

That said, my 981S is about double the price with a similar level of power. But even a standard 981 is a far superior car (albeit much more expensive).

YMMV
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great feedback! Thanks. I've not driven the 981 yet, just the previous version, twice. Did not drive the 135, but have a colleague who owns one and loves it. I love the clown car reference! Didn't know it had a mechanical rising screen.

I had a Z3 in 2000 that I bought over a Boxster then because I liked its looks and performance better. It was also simpler. I hate all the computer ****. Simpler the better for me.

Lack of backseat is of no concern. Never been an Audi fan, had a '85 5000 and felt it was a cheap Eclass and was in the shop constantly.

I want a DD that is fun to drive whether commuting, traveling or tooling the hills and curves on the weekends. Right now I'm leaning Cayman but until I can drive both don't know.

Thanks again guys!
 

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Great feedback! Thanks. I've not driven the 981 yet, just the previous version, twice. Did not drive the 135, but have a colleague who owns one and loves it. I love the clown car reference! Didn't know it had a mechanical rising screen.

I had a Z3 in 2000 that I bought over a Boxster then because I liked its looks and performance better. It was also simpler. I hate all the computer ****. Simpler the better for me.

Lack of backseat is of no concern. Never been an Audi fan, had a '85 5000 and felt it was a cheap Eclass and was in the shop constantly.

I want a DD that is fun to drive whether commuting, traveling or tooling the hills and curves on the weekends. Right now I'm leaning Cayman but until I can drive both don't know.

Thanks again guys!
Audi is a completely different car company now. Don't let your 85 5000 sway you in your decision. Audi has very few cash back incentives like BMW or Mercedes. Instead, they choose to take that money and invest it back into R+D and it shows in the quality and technology of their current cars.
And now, the E-class is a cheap version of an A6!
 

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I've had both. If you like acceleration go for the 135 and you won't miss much. It is very fast. The back seat is also useful and has more headroom than it appears. Everyone is also dogging the 135's looks. Compared to a 981 = No Contest! However, I received more compliments on my 135 than my M3. If handing is important go with the 981. The 135 always felt top heavy and the run flat tires were awful! Good luck with your choice :cheers:
 

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I've driven the 135i rag top: my observations are:
1. Cowl shake
2. Great engine but for some reason if you get a bad one, even BMW can't fix them.
3. Cheap interior

Great Doctor's Trophy Girlfriend's car but if you are a DRIVER, the Cayman or Boxter is the only choice.

I used to sell cars in the 80's and an old "Horsetrader" gave me this advice;

"When you buy a car, buy the one you want because if you don't, every time you sit your *** in it, it will remind you that you really didn't want it."

Regards,

Will

Francis George McDonald Rest in Peace



Reg
 

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The 981 is pure driving machine and the display/dash supports driving.-DickB
I hope you either ordered the multifunction steering wheel or else never listen to the radio or receive Bluetooth calls when you drive. With that -- sure, I agree. Without it, no way. In 2013, any car that requires you to take your eyes off the road to change radio stations or answer a Bluetooth call flunks the basic test of being a driver's car. Try locating and pressing tiny radio buttons while driving 70 mph on a twisty road. This is the biggest single failing of my Cayman.
 

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We have had our 135 coupe for 3 years now (wife's daily driver) and really love the car. Along the way we had an E36 325is, 2 E46s; 330ci with significant Dinan and other mods that I tracked a lot and a 325it that we had for over 7 years, and an E92 328 that the 135 replaced.

We thought about a lot of cars, and when I drove the 135 I knew it was the one. She was a bit hesitant, but admits it is her favorite of the BMWs. Quick, nimble, and really the right size for her. She was adamant about having an automatic, and soft top convertables were out since her car sits outside at her office, she refused to drive a Vette or SL, and the trunk of the Z4 was just too small. It is not a Porsche by any stretch, but that is not what we wanted for her.

My guess is that if the 135 would have been available when I got the Cayman, I would have a "monster" Dinan 135 in the garage instead. Yes, you do need to modify the suspension if you are going to push the 135, the understeer comes into play very quickly, but as with most cars, if you are driving "legally" it is irrelevant.

I would also say the 135 accerates more quickly than the CaymanS, and it does push you back into the seat when you nail it.

As for the looks, a 135 is kind of like the Z3 M Coupe, you either love it or hate it. For me, it is the best looking current BMW; they really have nothing else of interest to me anymore.

It only has 17,000 miles on it, but she has taken a liking to the 981 and mentioned that it may be her next car (which is fine with me). But I don't see that any time soon.
 

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...I want a DD that is fun to drive whether commuting, traveling or tooling the hills and curves on the weekends. Right now I'm leaning Cayman but until I can drive both don't know...
You are leaning towards a Cayman, because based on the above requirements, no other car meets them better. I had similar reqs., and I don't know of another car under $100K that I would rather have. Trust your instincts.

One caveat on the commuting part: I am not sure it is the best choice if you are commuting long distances over rough roads (like in NYC/NJ). They have potholes that will swallow a Cayman for breakfast. I have an easy 8 mi. commute on fairly good roads so it is not an issue.

As you indicated, only a hands-on comparison will answer the question correctly (for you).

Have fun figuring it out!
 

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I hope you either ordered the multifunction steering wheel or else never listen to the radio or receive Bluetooth calls when you drive. With that -- sure, I agree. Without it, no way. In 2013, any car that requires you to take your eyes off the road to change radio stations or answer a Bluetooth call flunks the basic test of being a driver's car. Try locating and pressing tiny radio buttons while driving 70 mph on a twisty road. This is the biggest single failing of my Cayman.
Why are you listening to the radio when you can listen to your engine instead?

But joking aside, I do agree that it would be nice to have steering wheel controls as standard but it's not a deal breaker
 
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