UK magazine Autocar delivers the most comprehensive review we have seen of the BMW M135i. The M Performance Automobile is the first to come out of the new family of M-touched vehicles that uses a gasoline engine. It is powered by a 3-liter, straight six-cylinder engine delivering 235 kW/320 hp and 450 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm.
It went on sale earlier this year and it is available only for the European market. An M235i based on the 2 Series family will most likely make it to the U.S. as well.
Here is an excerpt from the review:
It is, however, extraordinarily better than the previous-generation BMW 130i, and quite bearable even in its firmer settings, which provide far tighter control of the M135i’s body movements. There’s never much discernible road feel through the steering, but it’s smooth and accurate and comes as standard with a slower ratio around straight-ahead than it does once you get off-centre.
It’s a common trick that gives straight-line stability allied to a feeling of agility once you’re on lock. The M135i tipped our scales at 1545kg, yet it turns with the willingness and accuracy of a car a couple of hundred kilos lighter, no doubt aided by the fact that only 52 per cent of its weight is on its front tyres.
Typically, we’ve found 1-series to be quite pleasingly balanced and adjustable at their limit, but seemingly the M135i would be overly tail happy were it to wear the same width rubber on the front as the back. As it is, it’s a rather enjoyable steer down most roads, with just the right level of adjustability when you get serious.
The M135i brakes well, pulling itself to rest from 60mph in just 2.6sec in the dry and comfortably under 3sec even in the wet.
A halfway house. Nearly, but not quite, an M-car. A midway compromise between the standard range and a full-blown product.
That’s what the M135i looks like being on paper, and that’s what it turns out to be in practice: a car that retains the mainstream 1-series range’s sensible appeal, but with the wick turned up to cast a larger glow than you’d expect of a regular model.
It’s a compromise that works as well. This is an entertaining, enjoyable car.