The interior layout, fit and finish
There’s plenty of tweaking potential for the driver’s seat and steering wheel in the BMW M135i, albeit done manually unless you pay extra for electric adjustment. Variable lumbar support is optional, too. We'd certainly add the lumbar adjustment at the very least; it isn't that expensive and makes the part-Alcantara sports seat tremendously supportive in all situations.
A 10.3in digital display replaces traditional dials behind the steering wheel. The graphics look good, but the equivalent displays you find in the Audi S3 and Mercedes A35 AMG are clearer and have a greater collection of modes and styles to choose from.
The view out of the front is good, but the chunky rear pillars restrict vision out the other end. Fortunately, front and rear parking sensors are standard, and, for a very reasonable sum, you can add the Park Assist pack, which includes a rear-view camera. Meanwhile, with LED headlights as standard, it's easy to see at night.
There's another 10.3in screen for the iDrive infotainment system, which is certainly one of the best on the market. It can be operated from the touchscreen, by using voice command or by using the rotary controller and physical shortcut buttons between the seats. Having the rotary controller means it's simple to use on the move, while the touchscreen is the quicker option when stationary.
Gesture control is available as an option but don't bother with it. It's useless, apart from making your passenger believe (for a brief moment at best) that you've learned the art of magic and can turn up the volume simply by a mid-air swirling hand motion. A DAB radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are more useful standard items.
While its interior doesn’t have the visual wow factor of the A35’s, rock-solid build quality makes the M135i’s dashboard feel like it’s been carved out of the side of a cliff, albeit, thankfully, with plush, soft-touch materials covering the rock face. It's certainly a big step up from cars like the Honda Civic Type R, Toyota GR Yaris, and even the Volkswagen Golf GTI, when it comes to panache. It's a cut above that of most other hot hatches.
Would you like more detail about the inside of the BMW 1 Series? Then check out our main review.
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