The first small car from BMW’s recently formed M Performance range promises a sub-5.0 second 0-100km/h time as well as a price tag that should be well below the 1 M Coupe’s $99,990 starting price.
BMW Australia’s Scott Croaker said the local brand was hopeful the M135i would hit our shores before the end of the year. He confirmed the five-door M135i would become the flagship model in the 1-Series hatch line-up. The three-door M135i will not be sold locally.
Like the manual-only 1 M Coupe, the eight-speed automatic version of the M135i hatch races from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 250km/h. The six-speed manual variant is two-tenths slower at 5.1secs.
Under the bonnet sits a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six-cylinder engine producing 235kW of power (at 5800rpm) and 450Nm of torque (from 1300-4500rpm) – leaving it just 15kW shy of the twin-turbocharged 1 M Coupe (although the Coupe also offers an additional 50Nm on overboost).
Despite matching its performance, the M135i hatch is up to 22 per cent more fuel efficient than the 1 M Coupe, using just 7.5 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle when equipped with the auto gearbox (8.0L/100km for the manual).
BMW has confirmed an xDrive all-wheel-drive system will be available as an option to the standard rear-wheel-drive set-up, although xDrive models will only be produced in left-hand-drive and therefore will not be sold in Australia.
The body of the M135i mirrors the concept version unveiled at the 2012 Geneva motor show in March. The production model gets a unique front apron with traditional M styling and aerodynamic performance. The profile features grey mirror caps, specially contoured side skirts and 18-inch light-alloy wheels, while the rear sports a revised bumper with metallic grey diffuser and dual exhausts.
The M135i has unique suspension and damping systems, as well as its own Variable Sports Steering system. The M Sport brake package features four-piston units at the front and two-piston units at the rear, along with oversized brake discs and metallic blue calipers bearing the M logo.
The interior is fitted with cloth/alcantara upholstery with blue stitching, leather-wrapped M steering wheel, anthracite roof liner, and the choice of matt blue/aluminium or high-gloss black trim inserts.
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