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by Tim Beissmann

Our spy photographers have captured the new BMW M135i completing high-speed testing at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany.

The images confirm the production version of the M135i hot-hatch will look almost identical to the white BMW Concept M135i that debuted at last month’s Geneva motor show.

The hottest version of the new 1-Series hatchback range will join the German brand’s recently launched M Performance Automobiles model line, slotting in beneath the 5-Series-based M550d and the X5 and X6 M50d SUVs.

Under the bonnet of the M135i sits an inline six-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with in excess of 224kW of power, which can be paired with either manual or automatic transmissions.

Rear-wheel-drive will be standard, and BMW M boss Friedrich Nitschke confirmed to US magazine Car and Driver that all-wheel-drive will be available as an option, giving the brand a direct competitor to the upcoming AWD Mercedes-Benz A25 AMG.

Like the Geneva show car, the M135i sports a more aggressive visual profile with larger front air intakes, 18-inch lightweight grey alloy wheels, a lowered ride height and a sinister diffuser with twin exhausts. The brakes and suspension have also been uprated to create sportier handling and enhanced agility.

The Nurburgring prototype and the Geneva concept are both three-door hatches. BMW Australia says the three-door 1-Series hatch is not a viable model for our market and has no plans to introduce the new body style down under.

Despite this, company spokesman Scott Croaker says a five-door model is understood to be in the pipeline and BMW Australia would “certainly put our hand up for it” if and when it is confirmed for production

Croaker said there was no indication of timing for the BMW M135i five-door at this stage.