The M135i will almost certainly take its spot in a new product category for BMW, called M Performance Automobiles, and alongside what should be the mighty impressive M550d xDrive, M550d xDrive Touring, X5 M50d and X6M50d.
Initially, at least, the petrol powered M135i will be rear-wheel drive in both three and five-door configurations. Later in 2012 an xDrive version will also be launched, the report says.
Clearly visible in the spy shots is a more aggressive front bumper than is offered with the ‘M Sports' package for the current (F20) 1 Series. The rear styling is also more overt, with the diffuser encompassing two split exhaust tips; one on each side.
This Valencia orange prototype is a hint as to the probability of an M-style individuality program, which in this case, includes matte black side mirror caps.
It’s not confirmed, as BMW are yet to officially acknowledge the car, but expect a turbocharged, in-line six-cylinder 3.0-litre engine with 238kW of power to sit under the bonnet of the M135i.
The BMW M135i is likely to be revealed at this year’s Geneva Motor Show in March.
(photo source: Uberto for BimmerToday)