First drive review: BMW M135i

1-series | July 6th, 2012 by 5
BMW M135i photos 391 750x500 First drive review: BMW M135i

BMW M135i gets its first reviews and they are nothing short of spectacular. Autocar UK says the M135i is “one of the most entertaining in …

BMW M135i gets its first reviews and they are nothing short of spectacular.

Autocar UK says the M135i is “one of the most entertaining in the entire BMW range, offers truly memorable go for the money and a highly capable and entertaining chassis besides.”

The three and five door version of the M135i is only available to European customers, but a coupe version of the M135i was specifically built to meet the demands of US customers.

Here is an excerpt from their review:

BMW M135i photos 391 655x435 First drive review: BMW M135i

“Either way, this new three-door 1-series is eagerly, muscularly and excitingly quick with the potential, you may think, to become a flailing handful if you dare to meddle with the ESP button. But the first bold dive into a rain-sheened bend uncovers grip reserves far deeper than expected – deep enough that when that DSC button is prodded for partial disengagement, it takes some lead-foot ambition to get the rear axle’s wider 245/35 R18s to get a skate on, the slide part-managed by a brake-deploying virtual limited slip diff.

So it’s pretty neat, controllable and reassuring, the more so because this rear-driver is quite a finely balanced tool, as proved by a too-fast arrival into a tight, low speed turn that fails to bring on any plough-on understeer. That said, you can expect to see plenty of the orange light that confirms an active ESP system, which is no surprise given all this energy and rear-wheel drive.”

“Much of the M135is’s considerable entertainment repertoire is provided by the straight six. This Twinpower motor features a twin-scroll variable geometry turbocharger, variable timing of both inlet and exhaust cams, variable valve lift and direct injection, these features managing to almost eliminate turbo lag. Indeed, you must actively search it out to find any, by shifting manually and having the revs build from 1000rpm to the 7500rom limit in second, say. Then you’ll uncover a slower-moving tacho needle to 1300rpm. From this point the six has already reached its 320lb ft torque peak, this figure impressively maintained through to 4500rpm, although the revs don’t rush at you until this peak has passed, the tacho needle performing a lightning flit to the limiter.

Throttle response is not as instant as you’ll find in a normally aspirated M3, but it’s sharp enough for most circumstances.  Couple the six’s breadth of urge to that eight-speeder, and you have a car that powers near seamlessly from a dawdle to its easily struck – and restricted – 155mph maximum.

M division has tuned the 135i’s exhaust to provide a smoothly busy soundtrack that makes paddling your way through eight ratios an absorbing business, even if the noise can turn slightly wearing. Happily it quietens off at a motorway cruise. And we suspect the same may be true of the ride, which showed signs of choppiness on Germany’s mostly smooth roads.”

Full review at Autocar

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