The all new BMW 1 Series

M135i is a 'hardcore hot hatch'!

Nearly two million 1 Series models have been sold since the introduction of the first generation ten years ago, and now the latest incarnation is here.
The M135i, in three or five-door formats, feels like the potent motor that it is. Its testosterone-fuelled 322bhp petrol lump with well-weighted, razor-sharp, steering enables you to burn through corners with aplomb. The 120d, in contrast, feels tame.
Its steering is feather-weight and, with diesel power, there isn't the same level of gusto. In many ways the oil-burner drives like any number of premium quality hatchbacks. Cars like the Golf and Audi A3 spring to mind. 
The German automaker’s famed mark hasn’t undergone a radical change whichever model you drive, though. The 1 Series’ looks have altered a bit with a nose and a tail job - and interior kit has been bulked up.

Upgraded engines have also made the range quicker and more efficient. It is the new power-plants that make the biggest difference, and particularly the ushering in of the identical 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel that features in the latest MINI; in the BMW, it’s fitted to the 116d. Fresh four-pot petrol-turbos appear in most of the other motors, with the 118i and 120i motorised by 2.0 litre 134bhp and 175bhp lumps. The 125i acquires a 215bhp 2.0 litre, while the M135i stays as a six-cylinder turbo, but with a 7bhp power hike. When it comes to the oil-burners, the three-cylinder 116d sets free 114 horses in both normal and Efficient Dynamics guises, while the 118d, 120d and 125d models all use varieties of the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, putting out 148bhp,187bhp and 221bhp. It is the three-cylinder that produces the major fuel savings, but all these engines are more cost-effective than their forerunners.
Step inside any of the latest 1 Series cars and you’ll find well bolted together cabins, with dashboards that look logical, yet sophisticated.  The seats are comfy, too.  But the most thrilling and impressive model is the M135i. Its meaty steering wheel, bucket seats and throaty exhaust all point in the direction of real athleticism.

Furthermore, the petrol-powered beast’s suspension is virtually the same as the much-admired M235i coupe. Add a manual gearshift with a shorter throw and smoother action into the mix, and you have a winner. The upshot is that the M135i is a hardcore hot hatch. Six cylinders give it an instantaneous advantage, while the velvetiness of the 322bhp engine, harmonising with the tuneful tailpipes, combines to make this car one heady brew of pleasure. It will do the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.1secs and will spin all the way up to 155mph.
But it’s the M135i’s dexterity and superglue-like road holding that make it such a great car to drive, especially on our twisty British rural routes.
Grip     - yes
Thrills  - yes
Comfort  - yes
High-price - no
Max speed: 155 mph
0-62 mph: 5.1 secs
Combined mpg: 35.3
Engine: 2979cc 6 cylinder 24 valve ‘TwinPower Turbo’ petrol
Max. power (bhp): 322
Max. torque (Ib.ft): 331
CO2: 188 g/km
Price: £31,195 (3 door) £31,725 (5 door)

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