What is it like?

Used BMW M135i 12-15 review

(2013 - 2016)
Used BMW M135i 12-15
Review continues below...

What's the used BMW M135i hatchback like?

Figures don’t tell the whole story, of course, but those for the BMW M135i do you give you more than a rough indication of what to expect from this car. It’s a compact three or five-door hatchback powered by a strong and flexible 315bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six engine, and all that muscle is delivered to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

It is not so much a hot hatch, this car, as a mega hatch, as its impressive power to weight ratio is strong enough to propel this unassuming looking thing from 0 to 62mph in just 4.6 seconds and on very quickly to a limited top speed of 155mph. Out on the open road, this rocketship can dismiss the dash from 30 to 70mph in just 4.1 seconds, too, just as much time as it takes to raise an eyebrow.

But there’s even more to it than that. If a sports car like this should be able to deal with bends of all shapes and sizes at reasonable speed and with maximum driver enjoyment the M135i’s got that licked, too. It comes as standard with a range of driving modes, from Eco to Sport+, and it could also be specified with electronically controlled adaptive dampers for even faster reaction times. It works terrifically well with both. The steering is smooth, accurate and quick, with a quicker ratio as you turn the wheel further. Grip levels are high, and its handling is beautifully balanced, eager, rewarding and ultimately secure, despite the urge of all that power heading to the rear tyres. What it also is, above all else, is tremendous fun.

Inside, its modesty is quite deliberate. The M135i could be had as a three or five-door car, and in either interior space is acceptable rather than stunningly good. Up front things are fine, though, and the low-slung driving position is excellent, with plenty of electrical adjustment to the steering wheel and seat. There are three rear seats, but space will be tight there for taller adults, especially leg room. You do get Dakota leather upholstery, sports seats and dual-zone climate control as standard, though.

What is lacking inside is any sort of sporting drama, as there’s precious little in there to distinguish it from the more run-of-the-mill 1 Series. There is of course a practical hatchback, and within it an average-sized boot that can be increased in size by folding the rear seats down, which in turn reveals a usefully flat floor.

So the M135i’s figures add up. It’s a remarkably entertaining and rewarding hot hatch. With the inevitable march of time the car was eventually superseded by the even more powerful but broadly similar 335bhp M140i in 2015.

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