What is special about the BMW M135i? It is the first petrol engine model in the new BMW M Performance category; it’s a top of the range version of the successful BMW 1 Series. The BMW M135i has all the specific characteristics of BMW M Performance cars including the M Performance power units which have a much improved performance than any of BMW’s previous engines.
There is a six cylinder petrol engine with Twin Scroll Turbo technology, Valvetronic Double VANOS and High Precision Injection. It can go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds in a manual and 4.9 in an automatic. The newly developed six speed manual transmission has dry sump lubrication. But it is the ZF eight speed automatic gearbox with gearshift paddles that is the real joy even though it costs £1,685 as an option. The auto is smooth and fast and worth the extra money.
BMW say that the BMW M Performance Automobiles are “defined by agility, precision and emotion” – a very grand statement. But they are also very realistic about the car being very suitable for daily use. BMW modified the suspension with alterations to the front axle and developed a new tyre exclusively for this car only. Standard kit was given a sporty upgrade with sports steering as standard and sports chassis, sports brake an sports package.
Outer air vents have 3D flaps, a little nod to automobile racing. The air vents are not just there for decoration though as these vents are needed to assist with cooling the straight six cylinder engine. These vents sit where the fog lights are normally located on other versions of the three door BMW 1 series. Horizontal struts in a Ferric Grey metallic separate the air vents, a typical BMW M Performance car detail. LED daytime running lights eliminate the need for fog lamps. The front apron has typical M styling and a friendly 3 Series face with silver intake surrounds.
Initial test drives have revealed that the car is very ‘grippy’ and performs well on twists and turns, however, transition from understeer to oversteer has been described as ‘clumsy’. The vast amount of test drive reviews so far are positive though. You can upgrade the car from a three to five door hatchback for an extra £530 premium. Efficient Dyanmics technology enables the M135i to be pretty fuel economical. Prices start from just over £30,000 for a car with 315 bhp.