Over the past few months, USAF Linguist Casenas has been working with USN Veteran and Modification Expert Kirk Villeneuve on his ’08 135i. Not a stranger to modding, Linguist Casenas has previously customized an ’06 BMW 330i and a FBO-status ’99 C5 Corvette before making the switch to a 135i – opting for the 1 instead of an LS2-powered Pontiac GTO/Holden Monaro. Considering where this 1-series is now, it’s clear he made the right choice. Like most of us who like to mod things, when he bought the car, he promised himself he’d “keep it stock” – and barely lasted a month. (I lasted two months before modding my car, haha. -Ed.)


With the Turbo 1-series, BMW left a lot of power on the table with the twin turbo inline six motor. Which is why the first mod Linguist Casenas did was a Cobb AccessPort V2 for BMW N54 engines – like we said, BMW left a LOT of power available with the OEM engine and turbo setup – the tune alone is good for almost 100HP (30%!) and increases torque a whopping 120ft/lb (38% increase). It does not get any more dramatic than that! There are several tuner devices available for the N54 engine – including BMS, ESS, ActiveAutoWerke… The plus of a Cobb AP is that it’s not a piggyback unit and easily installs (and uninstalls for those of you who fear the dealer). Dollar for dollar, a tune is the single most powerful upgrade you can buy for your BMW N54 or N55 engine – and an AccessPort allows you to change maps to accommodate your other modifications are you make them. (Wait on that intake and exhaust til after you get a tune. Trust me. It’s worth saving up for. -Ed)


A stickler for quality, Casenas opted to upgrade the rather small OEM intercooler with a high quality EVO I Performance Intercooler from Wagner Tuning. The Wagner Tuning intercooler features a bar plate core offers an 85% surface area increase over the OEM design and is designed for a stealthy install with a subtle black finish, direct plug and play installation and even utilizes the OEM intercooler plumbing.

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The Charge Pipe into the throttle body is another point of restriction in the intake and offers an opportunity to pick up more power. Linguist Casenas spec’d out his Evolution Racewerks Chargepipe with a Tial Q Blow-Off Valve. The Charge Pipe, by reducing restriction in the intake pathway, increases throttle response and decreases turbo lag, and let’s be real, blow-off valves sound pretty darn cool.

Evolution Racewerks N54 Chargepipe Black Tial Blowoff Valve BMW E82 135i

Having improved the intake flow on the throttle-body side of the equation, it was time to look at the induction point of the intake as well. A BMS Dual Cone Intake for BMW 135i was just what the doctor ordered, offering a blend of aesthetics and performance – and are also one of the most cost-effective upgrades for the car – though nowhere near as dramatic as a tune.

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With the intake handled, it was time to look at the exhaust system.


Opting for a more stock exhaust setup for 135i, a set of OEM N55 midpipes complete the exhaust system without increasing noise much.


With the current suite of modifications, the car is pushing well over 130hp over stock, but USAF Linguist Casenas has gone for a true sleeper look, offering almost no visual cues that this 1-series is a hell of a lot meaner than it looks. I don’t care where you’re from, a 130hp gain – on any vehicle – with bolt ons alone – is one hell of an improvement. With a clear focus on speed and simple, clean aesthetics, about the only thing missing from is an oil cooler for the N54 engineand we’ve covered the reasons why this motor needs one. We salute USAF Linguist Casenas for his service to the country and for putting together one mean sleeper of a build.



If you’d like to get upgrades for your BMW E82, E87 or E88 1-Series, check out our selection at ModBargains.com or call 714-582-3330 to speak to our BMW-Specialist Modification Experts today. You can even reach Modification Expert Kirk Villeneuve at extension 8013.

Story by Nicholas Gregson
Photo Courtesy USAF Linguist Casenas