What Car? says...
Like the less extreme models in the 1 Series range, the latest generation BMW M135i is a very different kettle of fish to its predecessor. First up, that means no rear-wheel drive, and the six-cylinder engine has gone, too. It's now a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that's coupled to four-wheel drive.
Is that a good or a bad thing? Well, it all depends on how wedded you are to the idea of doing massive, smokey burnouts and tail slides around every corner. BMW’s research would seem to suggest that, while some folks love the thought, in reality, buyers want a useable, predictable car. This is a hot hatch, after all, and not a track-oriented supercar.
Four-wheel drive should provide stable handling, and the smaller, four-cylinder engine should make the M135i a more economical car to run than the ‘big six’ engine of the previous models. Of course, we’re here to tell you whether that’s the reality, and if it is, whether the M135i has become a bit too sanitised or still manages to be fun.
And there’s the rub of it. Hot hatches do have a fine line to tread between everyday driving, but still putting a smile on your face when you head out for a blast. They also come in all shapes and sizes, from the zesty Toyota GR Yaris, the race car car-like Honda Civic Type R, to the M135i’s nearest rivals, the Audi S3 Sportback and Volkswagen Golf R.
Over the next few pages you’ll find out how much fun the BMW M135i is, what it’s like inside and what you get for your money. And, whichever hot hatch takes your fancy, don’t forget to look at our New Car Buying pages for handy and healthy savings.
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