Long-term update: Running costs of Omar’s BMW M135i in Qatar
It’s been a good while with the 2013 BMW M135i so let’s talk about running costs. Servicing is cheap as it comes with a 5-year service pack so the only thing I should have to cover are tyres (which I’m sure will be fearsomely expensive if I stick with the OEM Pilot Super Sports) and batteries. The car came as standard with a 3-year service pack, but the cost to extend this to 5 years was a paltry QAR 500 — a real bargain considering that this period will probably include at least one major service (Inspection II in BMW parlance).
Fuel consumption has averaged about 15 litres/100 km mostly due to my leaden right foot and the fact that I drive in Sport for 90% of the time. Driven conservatively, it should be able to manage 10 litres/100 km based on other owners’ experiences, but frankly who can drive a car like this conservatively when petrol is so cheap here.
The only minor problems with the car in this time have been with the iDrive system “forgetting” phones that have been paired with it (resolved by updating the system software) and the rear bumper needing to be resprayed because of a small scratch caused by someone scraping the back of the the M135i while it was stationary in traffic. In both cases, the after-sales service from dealer AlFardan has been very good.
I have to say that I’m not overly thrilled with the build quality. My abiding impression of BMW build quality comes from the old E34 5-Series my father owned in the 1990s. That car felt like it was carved from granite — completely solid. Sadly the latest BMWs don’t quite have that unbreakable feel any more (and this applies to my previous 2007 BMW 130i as well as the M135i). While nothing has broken or fallen off, I can already hear a couple of mild creaks in the interior which makes me long for the glory days when German cars were built like bank vaults. Sadly, given my similar experience with VW’s build quality in the Scirocco, I suspect those days are long gone.
The question of value for money is a difficult one. Frankly, I think there’s few cars which can match the M135i for practicality and performance (i.e 0-100 kph in under 5 seconds) at the same price point. The only ones that come to mind are the Evo X/WRX STI or the SRT twins (Charger and 300C). The Evo & WRX STI can’t match the BMW for interior quality or practicality, and while the SRT twins offer immense straight line performance, they are huge cars and you can really feel their size and weight in the handling. Looking at it in this light, I think the M135i makes a lot of sense as a purchase (but then again, I could just be rationalising) as I paid about the same as those cars for a custom-ordered BMW.
In the end, I can wrap up my thoughts on the M135i with this simple equation: Small Car + Big Engine = Massive Fun. That’s really all there is to it, and every journey (no matter how short or mundane) in this car puts a smile on my face. I really can’t ask for more than that.
Original Mileage When Bought: 70 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 15,500 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 15.0 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: QAR 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: QAR 500
Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: QAR 1475