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BMW’s bespoke mini missile


IF POWER is the root of all evil, then BMW has spawned something rather demonic. It’s the most powerful hatchback ever and it’s called the M135i.

There’s certainly a fair amount of mystery surrounding this 1-Series, because let’s be honest, most 1–Series cars we see on the road aren’t exactly riveting in terms of design appeal. Luckily this BMW has had minor design changes, so it looks the sporting part. But the critical part of the car is the 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six-cylinder powertrain that delivers more kick than a samurai master!

The figures say it all. Zero to 100km/h takes 4.9 seconds and the M135i continues to sprint onto a limited top speed of 250km/h. These are the same figures the now-iconic 1M delivered.

It brings a tear to my eye knowing that this 235kW and 450Nm hatchback has the potential to kill most V8s to 100km/h and will use less fuel doing it, with a claimed fuel consumption of around 7.5 litres/100km.

We managed to get our hands on the eight-speed auto derivative, which is one smooth criminal. It’s sharp off the line when you stomp the loud pedal and the car rips through the gears smoothly as the torque converter allows for fast gear changes. Playing with the paddle shifts behind the steering wheel provides you with an even sportier drive.

The well-finished cabin is what you’d expect from the premium automaker and the racy driving position does fuel the passion for speed. Add to this a free-revving engine that emits a snarl at the pipes with every stomp on the accelerator and you suddenly feel like a boy racer.

The handling is impeccable. It provides you with constant feedback as you feed the car through the bends. That said, the healthy array of active and passive safety features will keep you in check should things get a bit out of hand. It’s like hanging out with your cooler older cousin who likes to party, but isn’t scared to step in when things start to go wrong.

BMW’s concocted a rather potent cocktail in the M135i – from the ravenous engine to massive stopping power courtesy of the four-piston Brembo brakes up front and the two pistons at the rear. The rest of the package is just as capable, thanks to the dynamic chassis and the luxurious interior.

The entry of the M135i into the hot-hatch market is sure to ruffle a few feathers. All we want to see now is how the new Golf GTI will compare to this clean-shaven hoodlum.

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