Looks can be deceiving, as this super-value BMW proves. Ed Stephens reports.
Fans of the BMW M Coupe who either missed out on the 450 limited production run or couldn’t afford the price can now buy a model from the German car maker that’s just as quick – but £10,000 cheaper.
The new M135i is the hottest of hot hatches and will hit 62 miles per hour in just 4.9 seconds – exactly the same as the M Coupe – on its way to a limited top speed of 155 miles per hour.
And with a price tag of £29,995, it’s just two-thirds of the price of the limited edition coupe.
It’s not classed as a “fully fledged” M model, hence the price, but with performance like this it can certainly match the real thing.
If ever there was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, this is it. At a cursory glance you would probably take it for a more sedate model in the 1 Series line up, and that’s part of its charm.
But with a twin turbo, 3.0-litre, 320bhp engine under the bonnet, it’s anything but sedate.
Floor the accelerator and the eight-speed Sport automatic box drops numerous gears in the blink of an eye and sends the rev counter wild as its needle flicks repeatedly and very rapidly into the red zone as you go back up the box.
At the same time the throaty exhaust is sending out a very clear “look at me” roar.
As soon as you sit in this model, it feels like the flagship of the range. With its lowered suspension and chunky M leather steering wheel with multi-function buttons, the M135i has the stamp of a real thoroughbred on it.
Standard features include 18-inch M light alloy wheels, M aerodynamic body styling, M Sport suspension and braking system, the M Sport instrument cluster and full leather upholstery.
The body of the new 3-door M135i has been designed with aerodynamics in mind.
The front bumper unit features much larger air intakes to feed the turbocharged, six-cylinder engine and the equally important large brakes, with additional panels replacing the fog lamps of standard 1 Series models.
And for price conscious motorists, the car is surprisingly economical, averaging almost 38 miles per gallon. Emissions are 188g/km, which is a lot better than a lot of the limited number of cars that can offer the M135i’s performance.
The new 1 Series three-door range, which has just been introduced, has grown compared to its predecessor. It’s longer and wider although the height has remained the same.
That growth means more leg room in the car as well as luggage space, some 30 litres more in fact. For buyers on a more limited budget BMW has just introduced a new 1.4-litre entry level three-door 1 Series model at £17,000.
The new 114i boasts 102hp, with a 0-62mph time of 11.2 seconds and a top speed of 121mph.
The diesel options for the new BMW 1 Series 3-door are all based on the latest generation, 2.0-litre BMW diesel engine with the range headed by the new 125d.