Used test: BMW M135i vs Honda Civic Type R

These two used hot hatches couldn’t be more different in character. But should you choose the BMW M135i’s stealth or the Honda Civic Type R’s flamboyance?

Words By What Car? team

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BMW M134

Our Verdict

For two such remarkably different approaches to building a hot hatch, it’s remarkable how close a call this is going to have to be. Both of these cars are incredibly exciting to drive in their own way, both look fantastic, and each makes its own case for practicality and usability.

In the Honda, your head will be won over by the vast boot, the lower running costs, the impressive reliability and the two very usable rear seats. Meanwhile, the frantic, nervy nature of this car bestowed upon it by the rabid engine and writhing steering will undoubtedly set your heart racing, but don’t think the Honda hasn’t got true talent, either; it’s a deeply satisfying car to drive fast. If you want a car that never stops exciting you, you won’t be disappointed.

The problem for the Honda comes when you do want it to calm down a little bit, because it rarely does. On long trips that engine drone becomes irritating, and the ride never settles in quite the same way as the BMW’s does. The interior’s all at sixes and sevens, too, and the touch-screen infotainment is light years behind most other cars’.

Which is why the BMW M135i noses ahead in this test. True, its steering doesn’t quite involve you as much as the Honda’s, and it’ll be pricier to service and tax, if perhaps not to fuel. But frankly, there’s little else not to like here.

In almost every other way, the M135i either matches or betters the Honda’s sense of fun, whether it’s in the playful, malleable chassis or the thrusting, torque-laden engine. Yet it backs that up with a more mature attitude to day-to-day life; that is to say, the smarter interior, the greater versatility, and that more relaxed character when you’re not driving like there’s a venomous insect crawling up your shirt. It seems, therefore, that by a small margin, the menacing whisper is preferrable to the banzai scream.

Read our review of the all-new Honda Civic Type R

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Also consider:

1st – BMW M135i

For Sports car performance; playful handling; supple ride; value

Against Overly light steering; higher running costs

Verdict Outrageously fast and fun, yet uncompromised in daily use

Rated 5 out of 5

Read the full used BMW M135i review

Find a used BMW 1 Series in the What Car? Classifieds

2nd – Honda Civic

For Grippy handling; decent steering; good driving position; excellent reliability

Against Trickier to live with; so-so interior quality; dreadful infotainment

Verdict A weapon on road and track, but not as rounded as the BMW

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full used Honda Civic review

Find a used Honda Civic in the What Car? Classifieds

Specifications: BMW M135i

Engine size 3.0-litre petrol

List price when new Β£31,730

Price today Β£19,000

Power 322bhp

Torque 332lb ft

0-60mph 4.9sec

Top speed 155mph

Fuel economy 35.3mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 188g/km

Specifications: Honda Civic Type R

Engine size 2.0-litre petrol

List price when new Β£29,995

Price today Β£19,500

Power 306bhp

Torque 295lb ft

0-60mph 5.7sec

Top speed 167mph

Fuel economy 38.7mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 170g/km

Price today is based on a 2015 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

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