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BMW 1 series M135i 2012 Review

The engine is as smooth as silk - but that smooth visage hides a crouching tiger.

There's some good news and some bad news. The good news is that BMW is about to deliver one of the hottest hatches that Australia has ever seen. The bad news is that delivery of the car has been delayed, at least until the end of the year.

Apparently a small flaw has been detected in the design of the wheels and you know what perfectionists the Germans are . . . The exciting BMW M135i tops the 1 Series range and partners the $75,000 135i M Sport Coupe - but it's going to be cheaper and offers the added versatility of a five-door hatch. There's a three-door version too, but we'll only be taking the five-door for which the company says there's a greater demand.

POWER

The turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six with direct injection develops a maximum 235kW of power and 450Nm of torque from an ultra low 1300 revs. It's hooked up to a six-speed manual or optional eight-speed sports auto, with drive through the rear wheels.

All-wheel drive is available overseas but it won't be offered in Australia (for some obscure reason). The coupe in comparison produces 225kW and 400Nm of torque.

THE STATS

There's not much in it. The dash from 0-100km/h takes just 4.9 seconds for the auto and 5.1 seconds for the manual. Of particular note however is the fact the car is just as quick as the previous 254Kw 1M Coupe and only a tenth of a second slower than the hallowed M3.

DESIGN

It looks a whole lot better without that nasty 'banana' line of the previous 1 Series. The blunt, squared off front end projects a feeling of power and the proportions are better this time, giving the car a more cohesive look. But we're still not real keen on the rear apron, especially the black, cutout section.

NOT A REAL M?

No, it's not a real BMW M model - but it's pretty damn close. Suffice to say it looks the part, sounds the bizz and goes like a cat on a hot tin roof. As well as the powerhouse engine, it's fitted with a body kit and M Sport suspension, that drops the ride height 10mm.

It can also be optioned with adaptive suspension and electronically controlled dampers. M Sport four and two-piston stoppers have been added and it sits on 18 inch ferric grey alloys, with 225/40s front and 245/35s at the back.

FUEL ECONOMY

It's actually not too bad. It benefits from BMW's Efficient Dynamics program and is fitted with auto start/stop as well as offering the ECO PRO driving mode to maximise fuel economy. Average fuel consumption for the manual is a claimed 8.0 litres/100km and 7.5 litres/100km for the auto. We recorded a figure of 11.2 litres/100km over a distance of about 120km at the launch of the M135i this week in Germany which wasn't bad considering the way we were driving.

THE DRIVE

In a word, impressive. The engine is as smooth as silk. But that smooth visage hides a crouching tiger. Ambling along the highway the car cruises smoothly and effortlessly, with little input from the driver. But, punch the accelerator, and it takes off - no, make that blasts off. The rear of the car squats and squirms in quick succession as the specially developed tyres scramble to put all that power to ground. Bang. Bang. Bang. The gears snap home one after the other, either automatically or using the large steering wheel mounted change paddles.

Off throttle it has lovely bubbling burble. The car has that typical BMW feel and smell, composed and confident with a chunky sports wheel that's ergonomically perfect - or is it the other way around? With a wider track and longer wheelbase, the car sits flat and almost attached to the road, with high levels of grip that will challenge the tightest corners. Then there's the four-piston M Sport brakes that bite hard but progressively when the need arises. Overtaking can be accomplished almost at will. All in all, it's a force to be reckoned with.

VERDICT

What's not to like? It's cheaper and faster than the coupe and half the price of an M3. And you get the versatility of a hatch thrown in, which means it will fit right in with an active lifestyle.

BMW has put a price tag of $68,400 on the M135i and even at that price there will be no shortage of takers. Yes. It's a bloke thing, but anything that can blast from 0 to 100km/h in less than five seconds deserves our continued and undivided attention. Thank you BMW.

BMW M135i

Price: from $68,400
Engine: 3.0 litre 6-cyl petrol 235kW/450Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto or 8-speed manual; RWD
0-100kmph: 4.9 seconds automatic; 5.1 seconds manual
Thirst: 7.5L/100 automatic; 8.0L/100km manual
 

Pricing guides

$17,990
Based on 63 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$14,500
Highest Price
$30,950

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
135i 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $26,800 – 35,530 2012 BMW 1 Series 2012 135i Pricing and Specs
1M 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $32,300 – 42,350 2012 BMW 1 Series 2012 1M Pricing and Specs
135i Sport 3.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $19,700 – 27,390 2012 BMW 1 Series 2012 135i Sport Pricing and Specs
M135i 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $14,700 – 20,680 2012 BMW 1 Series 2012 M135i Pricing and Specs
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.