It’s been said before, the M140i is the last of the purist rear-wheel drive cars in this hot hatch segment (with BMW moving to the UKL platform later this year) and I’m lucky enough to have one in my garage.
Not the prettiest hatch when it first arrived in 2012, a mid-life facelift has made it less ugly duckling, but still not quite a beautiful swan (that title might be reserved for the new A Class AMG).
As an Owner Review, this car is so much fun to drive. With a whopping 250kW this car certainly has some grunt, but it is practical enough to take the kids to soccer on the weekend and fit the golf clubs in too.
Value for money
At $64,990 drive away at the time I purchased, I think this car is amazing value for money. Competitively priced against similar cars in the segment, including the S3 and AMG equivalent, you get E90 M3-beating acceleration and school run practicality in a neat hot hatch. I only have the sunroof as an option, which kept the total price close to sticker (to be fair the options list is quite small when you are at the M140 in the 1 Series range), but BMW, and I guess the big Germans, all have lengthy and pricey option lists which can blow out the final cost you pay.
Let’s be honest, put this pocket rocket in Sport mode and the ride is firm, as its designed for the race track! But the upside is the associated acceleration and that artificial gurgling noise that you get when you take your foot slightly off the pedal. That noise is something else - something BMW have really nailed!
I have seen comparison tests between this and the M240i. Sure, the coupe is a looker, but the extra practicality you get from this car is something that should be valued, with proper rear split-folding seats to get some decent space.
Launch control! The mere name suggests something amazing is about to happen. It took me a number of months to investigate how this worked on the car. I thought that using Sport mode and planting it at the lights was enough to bring a grin from ear to ear (which it is), but there is something about the process to set up launch control which makes it that much more special. This sort of tech and gimmick factor really add to the enjoyment of driving this car. Oddly though, launch control is one of the things that I dislike about the car - it doesn’t always work, and sometimes you get unnecessary wheel spin, which can be quite frustrating. The counter is that if you have some friends (i.e. weight) in the back it helps plant the rear wheels to properly induce the ear to ear grin!
There isn’t much to dislike about the car. Sure the cabin is a little drab, especially black on black, but when you consider why you are buying a car like this, the value for money associated with it, and the thrills you can get out the daily commute, I say this is a car I want to own for years to come!