What's the used BMW M140i hatchback like?
When BMW launched the BMW M135i in 2012 it caused quite a sensation, because although it was based on no more than the rather unassuming 1 Series family car, this rear-wheel-drive hot hatch went like stink and had more entertaining handling than many of its rivals. The even faster M140i that arrived in 2016 raised even more eyebrows, but not as many as it does now that used examples can be had for the price of an entry-level new small car.
BMW, not wishing to break a successful formula, made only minor changes to the fastest 1 Series: the turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine now produced 335bhp, and that extra performance dropped the 0 to 62mph sprint time from 4.9 seconds to 4.6. The power was still fed to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or a surprisingly suave eight-speed automatic one. The top speed remained electronically limited to 155mph.
Standard kit levels are reasonable and include sat-nav, dual-zone climate control and auto lights and auto wipers. Meanwhile, there’s also a Shadow Edition to seek out that adds dark grey wheels, a black framed grille, dark headlight surrounds, tinted rear lights, rear parking sensors and cruise control.
On the road, the recipe is much the same as the old M135i, and that’s a good thing. The engine pulls eagerly from low down and makes a delicious sound as the needle spins quickly around the dial towards the 7000rpm redline. It’s very quick, of course, with plenty of torque always on tap. Approach a bend and again it’s as before; the steering is quite light, even in the sportier modes, but super-responsive. Turn in to a corner and you’ll find the grip is immense and the handling eager and entertaining. Of course, it being rear-wheel drive, there’s good traction off the line and the ability to be a bit playful with the car’s rear end, should you be driving on a track.
Like the M135i, the M140 is tremendous fun, although we would try to find a car that’s had the optional adaptive dampers, because these give the car a surprisingly forgiving ride on all but the most broken surfaces. It feels comfortable enough around town even in Sport mode, shrugging off smaller imperfections with relative impunity. As a day-to-day proposition, it’s in a different league of comfort and refinement compared with its firmer hot hatch rivals.
Inside, it’s a rather modest thing considering all that easily accessible performance. It can be had in three or five-door forms, but interior space is acceptable rather than stunningly good in both. Things are fine up front, where the low-slung driving position is excellent, with plenty of electrical adjustment to the steering wheel and seat. However, while there are three rear seats, space will be tight for taller adults, especially leg room.
What is absent inside is any sort of sporting drama; there’s precious little inside to distinguish it from any 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.
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