I have had many cars over the years and I can honestly say that the BMW term, "Ultimate Driving Machine" stands true. For me this translates to the BMW M140i.
Having been fortunate enough to have also owned a Nissan 370Z and an Audi S3 Sportback in the past, the M140i has proven to be the best all-rounder as an inner-city run around in Comfort Mode on weekdays, while transforming into a more than capable sports car and GT in Sport Mode on the weekends. Definitely a Jekyll and Hyde persona…
That glorious sound and power of the B58 turbo 3.0-litre 6-Cylinder engine with 250kW and 500Nm of torque is addictive and more than enough grunt for Australian roads and speed limits. The steering, whilst a little vague in Comfort, hardens up when the Sport or Sport+ mode is selected. The 8-speed ZF transmission also sharpens, with the ratios changes and the gears being held for longer. Oh, and those cracks and pops from the exhaust!
Personally, I run on 19-inch 624M wheels and lower 35/30 profile tyres that I had initially thought would compromise the ride versus the standard 18-inch wheels, but surprisingly with the adaptive suspension, the comfort levels are compliant with only the worst backstreets and potholes of Melbourne revealing any form of firmness. Sort of expected when buying a sports car though, right?
Opinions are divided on look of the current 1 Series – subjective of course. I bought one, so obviously I like it! Moving into the interior where the default black on black can be a little drab, I chose the Cognac Tan contrast which both brightens and modernises an ageing look. The iDrive 6 info system remains one of the best and is complimented by Apple CarPlay, although that can be somewhat temperamental and frustrating at times. I do however enjoy that the CarPlay is wireless…
Fuel economy was not high on the wishlist for me as it was my intent to buy a sports car. With that in mind, a claimed 7.1 litres per 100 kilometres appears quite good on paper, but does not translate into the real-world where a combined 10L to 11L/100km result is more realistic. I blame the exhaust! The only downside here is the 50-litre tank.
All in all, for me there is nothing much negative to say about the M140i. The fuel tank is small, as are the back seats. We are a two-person family and I can honestly say that we have not had a rear seat passenger in the 7 months since delivery. And for that reason, the M140i hits the brief for me.
I can only suggest that if this is the vehicle for you, get in quick as production ceases shortly. This is the last of its kind from BMW; a big engine, rear-wheel drive, small chassis vehicle that will hit the spot before the next-gen 1 Series comes later this year. Will the M140i become a classic? Time will tell.