Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The BMW M135i is a bargain next to the enormously expensive Mercedes A45 AMG, but priced very close to the Audi S3 and Mercedes A35 AMG. It's a lot costlier than more exciting hot hatchbacks, like the Honda Civic Type R and Toyota GR Yaris, plus, adding a few option packs can send the total spiralling sharply. Thankfully, it should hold its value well, if not quite as tenaciously as the AMG A35.
Its official combined fuel economy is just under 40mpg, while its CO2 emissions stick it straight into the naughtiest company car tax band of 37%. Still, it's a hot hatchback so that's to be expected, and most of its rivals are no better.
The M135i comes with a reasonable list of standard equipment, including automatic lights and wipers, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, 18in alloy wheels and a racy bodykit to set it apart from lesser BMW 1 Series models. One of the options includes the ability to turn your smartphone into the key for the car, allowing you to unlock and start the car with it.
In our 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, BMW ranked the best of any premium manufacturer other than Lexus; in ninth place, one behind Honda. Toyota also beat it, while Audi and Mercedes were a lot lower down the pecking order. The BMW 1 Series as a whole also proved to be one of the more reliable family cars on sale. The M135i is covered by a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, matching that provided by Mercedes for the A35.
And what about safety? When it was tested by the experts at Euro NCAP, the 1 Series received a maximum five-star rating. However, it should be noted that the Mercedes A-Class proved safer, scoring higher for adult chest protection and pedestrian safety. Standard safety kit includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, speed limit assist, and a system that will warn you if you get too close to the car in front.
On top of that you can select the optional Driving Assistant package. This gets you an upgraded AEB that looks out for pedestrians, blindspot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and rear cross traffic alert.
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