New 2019 BMW M135i xDrive - A 300hp Hot Hatchback Powerhouse

The new BMW M135i is the flagship of the 1 Series range, offering power and performance to match any other hot hatch. The M135i takes direct aim at the rival hot hatchbacks, such as the Mercedes AMG A35 and the Volkswagen Golf R and does not disappoint. The BMW 1 Series range has reached its third generation and is still as popular, if not more popular than ever before.

The new platform from which the 1 Series is built, means the new car is shorter in length than its predecessor but due to a new smaller engine and some intelligent design, the car is internally bigger than the previous model. There's more legroom, headroom and boot space. The body and stance is more aggressive and sporty, with the addition of the new larger kidney grille, a real eye-catching centrepiece.

BMW-M135i-frontview

The BMW M135i is a striking car. The styling M Performance package gives it the performance look, without being too outlandish - like say the Civic Type R, the typical 'boy racers' car. BMW has maintained that look of class, luxury and refinement, which you would expect from a premium brand, whilst still producing a car capable of exciting the Racer inside us all.

I was lucky enough to get to test drive a stunning black M135i, courtesy of the guys at Sytner BMW Nottingham, so I could write my review. I used to own a BMW 116i Sport around eight years ago and loved the way it handled and looked. The new 1 Series is even better looking, more spacious and much more family-friendly, whilst also affordable for such a quality premium car.

Continue reading the yoauto review to help you decide if the BMW M135i is the right car for you. If the M135i doesn't tick all of your boxes, then don't forget to visit our Used Car buying page, where you will find thousands of cars available across the UK at excellent prices.

Engine, Power and Performance

The BMW M135i is fitted with a new TwinPower turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder engine, which replaces the outgoing 3-litre turbocharged six-cylinder unit from the M140i. The new 2-litre engine is BMW's most powerful four-cylinder production engine, generating an impressive 306hp and 450Nm of torque.

BMW-M135i-engine

The M135i is fitted with the latest, enhanced version of the excellent xDrive four-wheel-drive system and an 8-speed Sport automatic transmission, featuring Steptronic functionality to increase responsiveness and seamless gear changes. These new and improved features help the M135i reach 0-62mph in just 4.8secs and will also hit a limited top speed of 155mph.

With the introduction of a smaller engine, which on paper is less powerful than the outgoing 3-litre unit (340hp), they both achieve the same 0-62mph time. The M135i however, is more economical achieving combined WLTP mpg figures of 34.4-35.8.

The BMW M135i comes with a selection of electronic aids to allow maximum performance levels at all times, including; Launch Control, M Sport suspension (which is 10mm lower than standard) and M Sport braking system. The M135i with the xDrive system grips to the road as well as, if not better than, any other hot hatch currently on the market especially if you go for the optional two-stage adaptive dampers. Due to the excellent handling and stability control, you don't feel like you're going as fast as you actually are, even when pushing the M135i hard, and there is a lot of pushing that it allows you to do! Does this take away from the excitement you got when in the rear-wheel-drive M140i? Hmm no, not really. The M135i is just as fast, but with the extra grip, it allows you to get more power down on the road and therefore a more exhilarating experience.

BMW-M135i-wheel

Interior Quality and Technology

The interior of the new BMW M135i is pretty similar to that found in the new big brother, 3 Series. It looks great and feels great. This is thanks to the high-quality materials used,  the build quality, as usual, is outstanding. All of the controls are set up to minimize distraction and maximize driver focus; everything is seemingly in the right place.

BMW-M135i-driver-display

The M135i is kitted out with the latest BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which includes a 10.25-inch fully digital instrument display cluster. Which is set behind the steering wheel, replacing the old analogue dials and a 10.25-inch colour control display located on the centre of the dashboard. It comes with BMW Operating System 7.0 and includes sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB Radio and Apple CarPlay to name just a few standard features. Be aware though, you only get Apple CarPlay for the first year, after that time you will need to pay an annual subscription. There is also no Android Auto option available.

Some of the other standard features include M Sport front seats with integrated head restraints and are available in a choice of luxury materials. Both front seats come heated and with a wide range of manual adjustment. Electrical adjustment and lumbar support can be added for an additional cost and would be worth considering for the extra comfort.

BMW-M135i-infotainment

The cockpit is pleasant and surprisingly cosy for a car classed as a hot hatch. It is suitable for daily driving, as well as blasting through the countryside. There is no residual stiffness or aching, as you feel in some other hot hatches, whose ride and comfort levels are not quite up to the standards of the BMW.

Space, Practicality and Safety

The BMW M135i is a vast improvement on the outgoing M140i in terms of interior space and practicality. Upfront both driver and passenger will have no issues getting in and out of the generous and soft seats. They also get an abundance of head, shoulder and legroom. In the back, there is more legroom and headroom than previously, although it should be noted that any passenger over 6ft will still find the top of their heads brushing the roof lining. The middle seat is also a little cramped and more suited to a small adult or child, mainly due to the rather large tunnel running up the centre of the car.

BMW-M135i-boot-capacity

There are various useful storage cubbies, ranging from large door pockets, cupholders and glovebox to a spacious cubby under the centre armrest.

The boot has a capacity of 380-litres, 20 more than in the previous model, and when you lie the backseats down capacity climbs to an impressive 1200-litres. The square shape of the boot makes it more practical and easy to load and unload, as well as being able to opt for an automatic tailgate as part of the Comfort Pack 2.

The BMW 1 Series scored an impressive full 5-Star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, thanks to an array of safety features and assists. Some of the standard safety features on the M135i include; Park Distance Control (PDC) front and rear and Active Guard Plus. Active Guard Plus is a safety pack which includes; Lane Departure Warning, Front Collision Warning and Speed Limit Assist. Other optional features include Driving Assistant and Parking Assistant.

BMW-M135i-rear-sideview

Overall the M135i is a fantastic car, with a surprising amount and interior space and comfort combined with the power and performance to match any other hot hatch. By utilizing the excellent xDrive system, BMW has created a car which can handle going around corners at high speed, without the fear of pushing too far. So although it may not feel quite as exciting as the old M140i at first, once you have driven it for a while, you soon realize that the excitement comes with the ability to drive even faster, with minimal body roll or loss of grip. For what is in effect the entry-level BMW model, the 1 Series is a cracking car with superb all-round capabilities. The M135i is the cherry on top of the cake. If you haven't tried one, then I would urge you to give it a go and book a test drive as soon as possible. Click here to find your next car.

BMW-M135i-rearview
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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
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