The F40 generation was one of the biggest downgrades in BMW history as it lost the predecessor’s rear-wheel-drive platform and inline-six engines. Seeing the glass half full, enthusiasts got an M Performance version with just over 300 horsepower. A mechanical upgrade was introduced a few years ago with tweaks to the suspension and chassis but a fully fledged Life Cycle Impulse never came to be.

The third-generation 1 Series is skipping the facelift and jumping straight to the next-gen model, codenamed F70. It won’t happen until later this year, and in the meantime, the outgoing hot hatch was taken to the Autobahn for a full-throttle blast. It’s a stock car without any modifications, and we’d argue it’s seriously quick for only a four-banger.

The AMG A35 and Audi S3 Sportback rival isn’t a proper replacement for the old M140i but it can hold its own against other compact performance hatchbacks. We wouldn’t count on the upcoming generation to level up for an AMG A45 and Audi RS3 competitor since it’ll likely be a hatchback variant of the new X1 M35i and X2 M35i crossovers. Nevertheless, a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) run in 4.6 seconds is nothing to sneeze at, especially since BMW underrates the sprint time at 4.8 seconds.

That said, a spirited hatch isn’t solely about outright speed but more about having fun in the corners, thanks to sharp handling and a responsive suspension. The problem is compact cars have gained weight with each new generation, and even BMW’s smallest car tips the scales at a substantial 1,560 kilograms (3,439 pounds). Well, perhaps that doesn’t sound so bad when you look at the XM

It’ll be interesting to see what BMW has lined up for the future M135i xDrive, which should be available from day one with the lesser variants. The fourth-gen 1 Series is rumored to enter production in July 2024, so an official debut could take place in late spring or early summer. An equivalent sedan, the new M235i Gran Coupe, is also due this year.

Source: AutoTopNL / YouTube