The new BMW 1 Series has finally been revealed, and of most interest to us here at MOTOR is the range-topping 2020 BMW M135i.
BMW calls it new entry level cars “sporty, cool, safe, and classy,” but hopefully the emphasis is on that first point for the M135i.
BMW Australia says the BMW hot hatch will be available upon its local launch late this year, though it can’t confirm pricing or exact specification at the moment.
Let’s take a look at its specs sheet to see what we can expect from the new baby Bayerische brawler.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the new 1 Series is the absence of something most will miss dearly, the 3.0-litre straight six as seen in the M140i.
In its place at the top of the range is the inline four which debuted in the X2 M35i – albeit as a motor not to be scoffed at.
The turbo four punches out 225kW in its upper reaches, past 4500rpm, and pulls hard with a solid 450Nm of turbo-induced torque between 1750rpm and 5000rpm.
If previous experience with this engine is anything to go by, BMW’s 4.8 second 0-100km/h claim might even be a little conservative.
It’s also worth noting that the new engine’s output is incredibly impressive for its size. Where the inline six made 93.4kW per litre, the four’s 112.6kW knocks it out of the park.
The engine is impressive enough to deserve its own heading in this list, but the rest of the drivetrain, namely the gearbox and driven wheels, might be a little disappointing for M Performance purists.
Rather than the option of a six-speed manual in a rear-driven wagon/hatch, the M135i now comes exclusively as an all-wheel drive offering with power being transferred through an eight-cog ‘Steptronic Sport’ transmission.
While well-tuned if the X2 M35i is anything to go by, it just won’t be as playful as the experience of 250kW being sent to the rears while you row through the gears.
On the outside, the new 1er is very slightly longer, wider, and taller (4319/1799/1434mm respectively in the new M135i vs 4324/1765/1411mm in the old M140i), but with a slightly shorter (by 20mm) 2670mm wheelbase.
Tracks are wider, however, with 1560mm at the front and 1563mm at the rears.
But the main dimension figure is the weight, now 1525kg thanks to the M135i’s heavier xDrive system. While it grants additional traction, it also pulls the power-to-weight figure down to 148kW-per-tonne, the M140i boasted 162.
Features and Styling
Style is arguably subjective so we won’t call the new 1 Series more or less attractive than the last, but it’s clear the design direction has changed to seemingly mimic the X2 in terms of its rounded front, and its larger grille. BMW says it’s aiming for a ‘shark nose’ look.
The rear also sports a more ‘SUV’ visual, with narrow taillights, a large trim panel below the hatch, and even a sloped window with a top ‘lip’ like the X2.
Inside, the new BMW interior is a step up from the old – a less subjective statement – with updated tech in the new iDrive system and a sleeker-looking centre console.
Stay tuned for more local details pertaining to the 2020 BMW M135i.
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