It’s sort of odd for American BMW enthusiasts to feel sad about the rear-wheel drive 1 Series switching to front-wheel drive. While it’s understandable for European enthusiasts to mourn one of the brand’s best cars in ages, the 1er Hatch never made it ‘Stateside. So American enthusiasts have been deprived of the 1 Series Hatchback’s charms. Still, it doesn’t take having to drive it to realize how good of a car it is and why it’s a shame the next model will be front-wheel drive. So when we read reviews like this one from Car Magazine, of the BMW M140i, we’re a bit sad that this generation of 1 Series will soon be gone, as it’s been one of BMW’s best.
Powering the BMW M140i is the new B58 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine that makes 335 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. When paired with an automatic gearbox and rear-wheel drive, the M140i can hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. That’s pretty damn rapid for a hatchback. It’s not as fast as an Audi RS3 Sportback or the Mercedes-AMG A45 but it’s faster than the Volkswagen Golf R and is still far fast enough to be fun. Plus, it’s the only car in the segment to have rear-wheel drive, so it’s the most dynamic, engaging and fun to drive.
But it isn’t just the speed that makes the M140i so brilliant. It’s the engine, too. That B58 engine is one of the world’s best, as it delivers silky smooth power throughout its rev-range and it sounds fantastic. “The 3.0 liter straight-six’s tenor-like noise alone can make your neck hairs stand on end, and revving it until the 7000rpm redline is hugely addictive.” said Car Magazine about the M140i’s engine.
What makes the M140i really shine, though, is its nimble handling. Combine its short wheelbase with quick steering, rear-wheel drive and a punchy I6 engine and the M140i becomes one of the most entertaining cars in BMW’s stable. The BMW M2 gets all the praise these days but the M140i offers a lot of the hooligan fun the M2 can deliver but at a far lower cost and with more practicality. The BMW M140i is properly fun little car.
We constantly get accused of being BMW fanboys here, but it’s only because it’s hard not to wax lyric about certain Bavarian products. It’s not every BMW that we’re this positive about and it’s not only us that’s positive about the M140i. Here’s what Car Magazine had to say about the M140i to close out their review. “It has so much more character than the Golf and, although it’s not as fast or powerful as a Mercedes-AMG A45 or Audi RS3, the dynamic poise and gorgeous engine will make you come back for more.” That’s about all that needs to be said.