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No sleep 476HP 135i Wild 1 Series brings it on Most modified 135is we see are in sleeper guise. However, this boisterous example is loud and proud – and rightly so… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.
Last year saw this magazine nearly overrun with 1 Series feature cars. This was totally fine as far as we were concerned because a lot of you are clearly loving them, otherwise we wouldn’t have been inundated with such a huge variety of fantastic modded examples. The charms of the 1 Series are hard to resist and while some people might find the first generation hatch a little inelegant on the styling front, we reckon #BMW nailed it with the Coupé. And people clearly agree, as that’s mainly what everyone’s been modding. A quick glance at the classifieds shows that this iteration of the 1 Series is holding its value and while some people might think you’re not getting a lot of car for your money compared to what else you could buy, the appeal of a compact, sporty car that’s also practical and can be had with a huge range of engines is easy to see and hard to resist. It’s the perfect antidote to the supersizing epidemic that’s now a staple of the motoring industry. And it’s a car with plenty of potential. Just ask Dom C, because he took a fiery little 135i and turned it into a real beast. It’s most definitely not shy about what it’s capable of; with 476hp on-tap, why would you be? A sleeper this ain’t.
A glance at Dom’s car history shows you that the 135i fits right in with his taste in small, fast cars, which have included a Saxo VTR and VTS, a Toyota Glanza V turbo, a Civic Type R, and an Impreza RB5 – which is a little less small but was “mega”, according to Dom, so that’s fair enough. “I had a 120d,” he continues, “which was good on fuel. This was good for when I was going to business meetings, but I decided I wanted something really fast that would handle well and was exciting. There was nothing of this age with a six-cylinder engine and rear- wheel drive apart from a 135i, so I bought one.”
The car was purchased bone stock and the initial plan was just to fit a JB4 and an exhaust because these alone would amp up the performance in a big way. But after Dom had sampled the sweet taste of what the 135i could offer, there was no way he could go cold turkey. And he had a pusher.
“The car’s been sponsored by Hard Knocks Speed Shop,” Dom explains. “It saw that I was passionate about modding and we had a great relationship, so it offered to sponsor me. Badger there has done all the work.” With his sights set on some serious numbers, things were going to have to change…
That JB4 is now a Cobb, supplied by BW Chiptune with a custom remap by Litchfield. The exhaust is now a custom straight- through system from Hard Knocks Speed Shop, with no cats or silencing. There’s even a valve for increased loudness. There’s a video of it in action on our Instagram page (@pbmwmag) and, having heard it in person, we can confirm it’s very, very loud.
The path to 476hp is lined with a lot more than just a Cobb and a custom exhaust, though. Dom has been busy under the bonnet, with the resulting list of engine mods making for some impressive reading. The stuff you can see includes a set of BMS dual cone intakes and an HKS SSQV blow-off valve. And there’s much more going on
beneath the surface that you can’t see. The stars of the show are, without doubt, the Turbo Dynamics Stage 2 hybrid turbos that really help to push the power up. But they don’t have to go it alone; up front sits a beefy Pro Alloy intercooler, there’s a Fuel It Stage 3 uprated fuel pump, a VRSF metal charge pipe with meth bungs, VRSF cat-less downpipes, plus a BMS meth injection kit to help keep intake air temperatures down.
The end result of all that underbonnet wizardry is a very impressive dyno-proven 476hp and over 400lb ft of torque. That’s an awful lot of power to enjoy in a compact car such as this. And that dyno run took place on a really hot day with intake temperatures well over 80ºC and the ECU pulling the timing, so there’s potentially even more on tap than the figures suggest.
Of course, simply ramping up the power and hoping for the best is not the way to do things and most certainly not the way Dom was planning to do things. So those engine mods are joined by a supporting cast of chassis and drivetrain mods. The standard clutch would have been completely out of its depth with these sort of power figures so it’s been replaced with a much sturdier Spec Stage 3+ affair mated to a single mass flywheel. On the chassis front, BC Racing coilovers have been called to action, along with M3 lower control arms, and a strut brace. And that’s not all because Dom then took the car to FW Motorsport, run by Tom Walkinshaw’s son Fergus, who spent a day-and-a-half setting up the suspension after corner weighting the car. Dom is also planning to add some custom adjustable drop links.
The brakes haven’t been forgotten about either. With the 135i coming equipped with some pretty serious six-pot front calipers from the factory there was no need for a BBK, but grooved discs have been added and are clamped by Pagid RS29 race pads. Goodrich braided hoses and race brake fluid concludes the brake upgrades.
Somehow we’ve managed to make it this far without once mentioning the way this car looks – which isn’t easy because this is a 1 Series that stands out, and then some. A lot of this is to do with the Avery Denison Gloss Blue wrap. “The car was originally Monaco blue,” explains Dom, a colour that you can see lurking in the engine bay. “It had no presence and made the car not look as fast as it actually was. My neighbour had a GTR wrapped in this blue and I absolutely loved it, so I decided to get the 135i done in the same shade, and the bonnet and mirrors done in gloss black.”
With the 135i looking rather more rapid, Dom set about adding the aero addenda. This started off with the relatively subtle carbon front splitter, followed by the carbon bootlip spoiler, and then the bulging Seibon carbon bonnet with aero catches. But Dom refuses to take responsibility for that rear wing. “It’s all Hard Knocks’ fault,” he laughs. “They suggested I got a wing. I agreed and went online to buy it whilst in the pub… although I don’t actually remember buying it!” Oh dear. Still, while the APR rear wing would look out of place on many a car, the overall look of this 135i means it works here. It ties in nicely with the whole black and blue theme, as do the wheels, which are Apex Aero-7 18s, with the car’s arches having been rolled to help accommodate them. The wheels have been wrapped in super-sticky Advan AD08R semi-slick rubber for maximum grip.
As for that Gran Turismo sun strip: “I think it looks badass,” explains Dom, “and it makes a huge difference to the feel of the car when driving.” The interior has, for now, been left largely standard, bar the removal of the rear seats, but Dom was planning on fitting some bucket seats and a roll-cage, that is before he decided to sell the car…
We should be used to it by now, feature cars owners getting in touch not long after a shoot informing us that they are selling their BMW. That’s the way it is with projects, but it was still a little surprising to hear it from Dom considering just how much he’d put into the 135i. It turns out he’s gone and bought himself a Nissan GTR and, to be fair, the signs were there all along as we recall he mentioned it on the day of the shoot. We can’t really blame him either; the GTR is a hell of a car and probably one of the few things that could get his heart pumping the same way as his ferocious 135i. Could we, he asked, mention that it was going to be up for sale? Of course. But then, a month later, we received another email. The 135i was staying, a stablemate for the GTR, and Dom had, in his own words, “gone full circle”. In fact, he now plans to take the 135i to the next level: a roll-cage, bucket seats and steering wheel will transform the interior, while a race diffuser, a side exit exhaust, and a body kit will transform the exterior. “It’s come too far to go back…!” were Dom’s parting words on the email. We can’t wait to see him go all the way.
Custom-mounted meth injection kit helps keep inlet temps down and power up.
DATA FILE #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i / #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW / #BMW-135i-Tuned / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #Turbo-Dynamics / #Apex / #BMW-135i-Tuned-E82 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 , #Cobb-V3-Accessport custom mapped by #Litchfield-Motors , #BMS dual cone air intakes, #HKS-SSQV blow-off valve, #Turbo-Dynamics-Stage-2 hybrid turbos, #Pro-Alloy front mount intercooler, Fuel It Stage 3 upgraded fuel pump, custom- mounted BMS meth injection kit, #VRSF metal charge pipe with meth bungs, VRSF cat-less downpipes, Hard Knocks Speed Shop custom Y-pipe , custom straight- through two into one 3” de-catted centre section, custom quad exit exhaust system with electronic valves. Six-speed manual gearbox, #BMWP short-shift, Spec Stage 3+ clutch and single mass flywheel
POWER & TORQUE 476hp and 400lb ft+
CHASSIS 8x18” ET45 (front) and 9x18” ET50 (rear) #Apex-Aero-7 satin black forged wheels with 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Advan AD08R tyres, #BC-Racing coilovers, M3 lower control arms, strut brace, car corner weighted, Pagid RS29 race brake pads, grooved discs, #Goodrich braided hoses, race brake fluid
EXTERIOR Wrapped in Avery Denison gloss blue with gloss black roof and gloss black door mirrors, tinted windows, rolled arches, gloss black kidney grilles, carbon front splitter, #Seibon carbon #Powerdome bonnet with AeroCatches, carbon rear spoiler, #APR carbon wing, custom carbon diffuser, #BMW Darkline rear lights
INTERIOR Factory grey M Sport leather, Cobb V3 Accessport controller, rear seats removed
THANKS Chris Bourton (Badger) at Hard Knocks Speed Shop, Fergus Walkinshaw at FW Motorsport, #Litchfield motors for mapping, #SSDD-Motorsport , and Amber performanceStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.