BMW M135i vs 1M: a comparison our own Shawn Molnar has made recently and that finally may have an answer after the first driving impressions.
AutoExpress UK drives the new M135i and tell us how it feels on the road and how is it different than the 1M.
“With 316bhp from its 3.0-litre turbocharged engine, and a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds, it can outstrip a Porsche Cayman R in a straight line, but promises more everyday usability than the extreme 1 Series M Coupe. “The M Coupe was a race car that had been tamed slightly, whereas the M135i takes the road car as a starting point and takes it to the limit,” Dr Friedrich Nitschke, BMW’s M boss, told us.
Under the skin, this is a very different car to the M Coupe. Firstly the six-cylinder engine has a single, rather than twin turbos, there’s no limited slip differential, it uses adaptive dampers instead of rock-hard fixed-rate suspension and the M135i comes with the option of an eight-speed auto, unlike the manual-only M Coupe.
But don’t imagine for a second this car is soft. The engine’s performance in thrilling, although it never feels too ballistic for the road, and it sounds fantastic too – the raspy engine note fills the car and there’s muffled pops and bangs from the exhaust on the overrun.
What sets this sensational powertrain apart though is its smoothness, even as you scream towards the 7,200rpm redline, which is partly thanks to the superb eight-speed auto gearbox. The six-speed manual will still be the purists choice, but there’s now no shame in ordering the auto.
The standard M Sport adaptive suspension sits 10mm lower to the road, but leave it in Comfort mode and it’s easily forgiving enough for everyday use. Crank it up through the driving modes though – which also tweak throttle response, gear change speed and steering weight – and it gets significantly firmer. Sport+ is best reserved for driving on track, but even so it’s not as bone-shaking as the M Coupe.”