BMW M Series M135i 3.0 3 Door Review
Bavarian killer hatch

Story and Photos by Benjamin G. Kline
14 Mar 2013

Introduction, Exterior

These days, you get the impression that BMW is throwing around their special letter a little too liberally. Well, who can blame them for capitalizing on their decades of motorsport prowess? And BMW knows full well that chances are if there’s an ‘M’ badge on it, it’ll sell.

And the latest model to inherit the M badge is this little hatch that takes over where the the 1-Series M coupe (1M) left off. But those are some mighty huge Michielins to fill. It’s no surprise why its predecessor was the darling of motorheads everywhere.

The recipe for the 1M was simple. Take the already brilliant 3.0-litre straight six from the 335i and shove it into the smallest lightest chassis you can find. BMW’s brilliant stroke though was to shoehorn much of the running gear of the E92 M3 into it. And as a cursory nod to enthusiast drivers everywhere, they gave it a slick-shifting six speed manual box. Most of the work after that was down to the physics of a large engine on a small body.

So now they’re at it again with the same engine but on the latest F20 1-series chassis but does it faithfully replicate what the 1M was?



Externally, the M135i retains much of the docile styling of its donor model. But a redesigned splitter in the front brings it closer resemblance to its M siblings. It sports the same enlarged intake that has been trademark of M cars since the E92.

Further defining its M roots, it gets a redesigned diffuser in the rear with twin pipes. At the same time, the hatch gets a set of specially designed 18-inch alloys to compliment the M badges. Part of this M design, the hatch also gets blue coloured four pot callipers defining its performance further. 

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Engine Capacity 2979cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 6
Compression Ratio 10.2:1
Bore x Stroke (84.0 x 89.6)mm
Power 320bhp @ 5800rpm
Torque 450Nm @ 1300rpm
Power to Weight 213.3 bhp per ton


Acceleration 5.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 12.5 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed ZF
Drive Type FR
Steering Electric


Body Type 3 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4324 x 1765 x 1411) mm
Wheelbase 2690 mm
Kerb Weight 1500 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 52 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs