If you only read the spec sheet of the BMW M135i there’s a fair chance you’d want one. A hot hatch featuring an N55 turbocharged straight-six, sending 235kW/450Nm directly to the rear wheels, is a compelling package. Indeed, with a new slick 8-speed auto you can see off 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds. But there’s a catch. Of course, there’s a catch.
The elephant in the room with the M135i is the way it looks. Being polite, it’s just bloody ugly. To be fair, BMW has slightly improved the troublesome front end with a new styling package compared to the regular F20 1 Series.
But a question only you can answer: if the M135i was head and shoulders the best car in its class, could you do it? Because, as it turns out, there’s a fair chance the M135i is the best car in its class. Here’s what the early reviews are saying:
Autocar (Richard Bremner): “While some may desire the more uncompromising character of the 1M CoupÃ©, the fact is that this M135iâ€™s ride is less maskingly firm, its steering more delicate and its character easier to live with. And itâ€™s also a whole lot cheaper, being almost Â£10k less.”
Car (Chris Chilton): “It might not look as sexy as a Scirroco, or feel quite so single-minded as a Megane RS, but the BMW is faster, better built and just feels more special than any of them. We canâ€™t think of a more desirable, more exciting top-drawer hot hatch on the planet than this M135i.”
Evo (David Vivian): “The best thing about the M135i, though, is the grin it puts on your face on a twisty roadâ€¦ But I canâ€™t help thinking the real achievement is the focus on something Iâ€™d feared the M people had lost sight of: the bloke behind the wheel. Three hearty cheers for that.”
So when can you get your hands on one? BMW Australia is bringing the M135i here in a five-door layout only and hope to have it in showrooms before the end of the year. And we hear BMW is hoping to have M135i on sale with a list price of around $68,900. Assuming it’s relatively well equipped, and doesn’t require too many ticks on BMW’s expensive options list, that pricing is quite good.
So, we ask again, could you do it? We’ve got a couple of videos for you after the break that may or may not seal the deal.