We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering — would you buy one?
What is it?
This is the kick off point for BMW's new range of M-enhanced cars as opposed to fully blown M cars. They use selected hot bits from the M operation and also performance bits from the general parts bin to produce higher performance versions at more affordable prices.
The six speed manual five door hatch is $68,400, four grand more for the eight speed auto. Also available are a three door hatch and a convertible.
What are competitors?
Not many really. The hot front wheel drive Euro hatches that recently came onto the market - Focus ST and Renault Megane RS 265. Not forgetting the Golf R and even WRX and Evo. M135i is rear wheel drive.
What's under the bonnet?
Generous performance comes from a twin scroll 3.0-litre turbo straight six with direct fuel injection and fully variable cam timing and cam lift. Power is 235kW with 450Nm from a low 1250rpm.
How does it go?
You won't be disappointed. Sub 5.0-seconds for the 0-100kmh sprint, superb roll on mid range response, cracking of the mark zip. Screams right through to redline at about 7000rpm. Rolls on Michelin 18s, has variable gearing steering, huge brakes, adjustable sports dampers.
Is it economical?
Surprisingly so. We recorded 8.0-litres/100km without trying. BMW says it will do 7.5 on 98 octane.
Is it green?
Yes, the engine is super efficient and passes Euro5 emissions regs Car also has auto stop/start to reduce emissions in city driving.
Is it safe?
Is it comfortable?
In a sporty way. The Comfort mode is still firmer than your average hatch or family slush box but the M135i has plenty of luxury and high quality components inside and out.
What's it like to drive?
Sensational. The four mode drive select system really changes how the M135i behaves from relatively benign right through to full race mode.
This is the sort of car you would get up early on a Sunday morning for - to take it for a spin on your favourite road almost unencumbered.
Is it value for money?
Extremely so for the level of performance and luxury you get.
Standard kit includes premium audio, voice control, multi media connectivity, Bluetooth phone and audio, leather, body aero kit, LED daytime running lights, bi-xenons, auto high beam.
Would we buy one?
Not a shadow of a doubt.
BMW 135i five-door
Price: from $68,400
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
Crash rating: 5-star ANCAP
Engine: 3.0-litre 6-cyl, 235kW/450Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual; 8-speed auto, RWD
Dimensions: 4340mm (L), 1765mm (W), 1411mm (H)
Thirst: 8.0LL/100km, 188g/km CO2