Skip advert
Advertisement

BMW M135i

We've been behind the wheel of the storming new BMW M135i on British roads for the first time

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

Find your BMW 1 Series
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

With the M135i, BMW has created a very impressive all- round package. Acceleration is ferocious, but the car always feels planted and composed. The steering could do with more feel, but on the road, the M135i feels supple enough to be driven every day. The sub-£30k price is good value, too. Engaging to drive yet highly useable, it’s BMW at its best.

Advertisement - Article continues below

While the BMW M135i looks understated, it’s a brute of a car. Making 316bhp from its 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine, it eclipses the 276bhp Vauxhall Astra VXR and the 296bhp four-wheel-drive Audi S3 for horsepower.

And unlike those cars, the BMW is rear-wheel drive, so it should be the default choice for keen drivers who prefer to do without the safety net of four-wheel drive. But it’s no maniac – regardless of how hard you bury the throttle, the M135i remains composed, while the superb optional eight-speed automatic gearbox (£1,600) manages the power perfectly.

Unlike the raucous 1 Series M Coupe, this hatchback is very well suited to everyday driving. Just flick past the ECO-PRO and Comfort driving modes to Sport and you immediately notice the steering weight up and the throttle response sharpen.

Press the button once more and you’ll find Sport+, which partly disengages the traction control and further improves the hatchback’s driving dynamics.

Although devastatingly quick, the acceleration always feels manageable – it’s you driving the car, not the other way around. The 0-62mph sprint takes 4.9 seconds, which is only a tenth of a second slower than a Porsche 911.

The 135i looks the part, too. As with all M cars, its styling is discreet, not ostentatious. It gets a set of sculpted bumpers, side skirts with big creases and gaping air vents at the front. Ferric grey mirrors and chromed exhaust pipes complete the look.

At £29,995, the M135i costs more than most current hot hatches. But when you consider it’s £10,000 cheaper than the limited-run, 335bhp 1M Coupe, it looks like remarkable value.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Deputy editor

Richard has been part of the team for over a decade. During this time he has covered a huge amount of news and reviews for Auto Express, as well as being the face of Carbuyer and DrivingElectric on Youtube. In his current role as deputy editor, he is now responsible for keeping our content flowing and managing our team of talented writers.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

No more EV! New BMW X3 gets petrol, diesel and PHEV power only
BMW X3 - front
News

No more EV! New BMW X3 gets petrol, diesel and PHEV power only

The all-new premium BMW X3 SUV has a sharp new look and cutting-edge tech, but no iX3 EV this time around
18 Jun 2024
New Citroen C3 Aircross gets seven-seats to fight Dacia Jogger, plus £25k pure-electric version
Citroen C3 Aircross - front reveal
News

New Citroen C3 Aircross gets seven-seats to fight Dacia Jogger, plus £25k pure-electric version

Citroen has somehow managed to cram seven seats into its new compact SUV, although the pure-electric e-C3 Aircross is only available with five
19 Jun 2024
Ford Explorer review
Ford Explorer 2024 - front
In-depth reviews

Ford Explorer review

Ford’s long-awaited electric SUV drives well, has some neat touches and impresses for efficiency
18 Jun 2024