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.
What used BMW M135i hatchback will I get for my budget?
It’s possible to pick up a Cat D or high-mileage M135i for around £12,000, but we’d suggest spending between £13,000 and £15,000 and trying to seek out a 2013 car with an average mileage for the year and a full service history, preferably bought from an independent dealer. Up the money to between £16,000 and £18,000 and you’ll be looking at a good 2015 car with all the same criteria satisfied.
How much does it cost to run a BMW M135i hatchback?
On paper its claimed average fuel consumption figure of 37.7mpg is quite respectable considering the performance on offer, and that corresponds to CO2 emissions of 188g/km. This is important as cars registered before the tax changes of April 2017 came into force are all taxed according to CO2 output, and all M135s will be thus. In fact this figure means you won’t pay a fortune annually, and its insurance grouping of 39 is again reasonable considering the car’s speed and desirability.
Which used BMW M135i hatchback should I buy?
There is only one version of the M135i, and when it was launched it was at a relatively low new price. However, there were a number of options that need to be added, and if you can find them on a used car so much the better. The adaptive damping system is worth having, for its quicker responses, as are ultra-useful parking sensors.
Our favourite BMW M135i: M135i
What alternatives should I consider to a used BMW M135i hatchback?
The Ford Focus RS has superb handling, strong performance and is amazingly good fun to drive. Countered against that, its ride is firm, its driving position is a little compromised and its steering has a rather limited lock, but such is the fun factor you’ll soon overlook all of those ailments.
The Honda Civic Type R handles brilliantly, goes like a rocket and looks like nothing else. It’s also surprisingly easy to live with, and if its infotainment system is as dreadful as the standard Civic’s that can once again be overlooked when you consider how much fun the rest of it is.