The formula is simple, it's one that has been proven time and time again. Take one relatively light car, place a relatively big engine in it and make sure the power exits through the rear wheels. Add some thoughtful concern for 50:50 weight distribution and you have what can be described as a fun drive, it's physics after all, you're working with the laws and not trying to fight them.
The way a rear wheel drive just gives you that something when you exit a corner, balancing the car with the throttle and being able to pinpoint exactly when that smile will appear on your face. It's a joy being able to know when that silly giggle will come, a good car knows how to give that to you.
Put simply the M135i is fast, very fast. Three red line gear changes in the auto will see you quickly entering speeds not appreciated by law enforcement, however you can set off from the traffic lights at a snail's pace and see the same three gear changes before you've crossed the intersection, torque is your friend here and the M135i has plenty of it.
A key part to all this is the transmission, in this case it's the 8 speed auto, it is fun, who would of thought you could have a fun gearbox? It's a fast gearbox, very fast gearbox, always in the right gear and when it comes time to play it delivers precision changes through the paddles.
Despite how good it is I still remember the words of the salesperson "So would you like the manual then?". The purist in me says "Yes, I'd love the bloody manual", the practical person in me succumbs to the reality of life in traffic while commuting to the office so I ordered the auto.
The engine, apparently it's turbocharged but in my experience this means some lag then some whoosh then you repeat for the next few gear changes. There is virtually no lag in this engine, maybe a touch way down at 1100 rpm but good luck finding it.
The way the engine revs so easily is almost disappointing due to its perfection, while great for performance maybe a bit of lag and a shove in the back would add some theatre to it all? Maybe just maybe an engine can be better because it's not perfect? The 3 litres of forced induction will give you some smiles though especially once the speed climbs.
So what about the rest of the M135i, well it just doesn't matter. Want some giggles then buy this. Just remember cars like the M135i won't be around for long especially at this price point. A proper M car would surely be better and the M135i doesn't really deserve its "///M", a real M is double the price however it's questionable if you would get double the grins.
The M135i looks a bit weird, some say ugly, the way it wiggles the rear as it exits a corner at full noise though, well, that makes the drive to work just a little more special and those moments can make your day just a little better. If only that rear end had a LSD....
The M135i, it's special in a perfectionist way, kinda ugly looking but it's guaranteed to give you some smiles.