BMW M135I – this BMW breaks every old school M promise

“Ve vil only hear von klik!” I’m sure you remember the ad?

Now replace Frau Airhostess with Herr BMW Emm all grey suited up at Ascari on the M6 launch fifteen years ago and change the words to; “Ve vill nefer turbocharge our cars and BMW M cars vil alvays haff rear veel drive.” I went on and wrote that. So it makes me accessory to the lie.

Still this little number certainly flies in the face of all of that.

Damn — it’s not even really all-wheel drive either — traction defaults to the front and will only send fifty percent aft if you really get silly. Not that any of this matters to ninety percent of the people, but I’m sure it does to a far greater proportion of our readers. And so to us.

It’s not that M135i is at all a bad car — I mean should I really be calling it out after heaping so much praise on the likes of Golf R ands Audi S3? No, definitely not.


It also keeps BMW all clean in everyone’s eyes, although lockdown may change a few of those views — I doubt that Greta clown was even born back at Ascari anyway, but curbing emissions is always good. At least lockdown has proven that after all.

So, what about this newfangled front wheel-drive biased turbo-four-cylinder automatic M car that takes over from the traditional rear-drive three-litre bruiser you could even still get in manual? In short, if you can get all of that out of your mind, it’s a pretty brilliant little drive.

Delivering 225kW and 450Nm, the 2-litre turbo 4-pot M135i replaces the outgoing M140i’s 250kW and 500Nm six and does an admirable job. One thing about these auto 4×4 rocket ships is that if the box says four-point-eight seconds, you will damn well get four-point-eight seconds to 100 and that we did with mesmeric consistency. Von klik, remember?

For the record, some of us do actually still test cars and this new AWD machine all but matched the 4.7 seconds the old M140i produced in our runs a couple of years back, although it must be mentioned that it had to make up for half a second’s worth of tractive losses up to sixty and was long gone by one-sixty. Just saying.

So don’t let them fool you with all this nonsense that an efficient 2 litre turbo can live with a just as efficient three-litre turbo — its what they stole from Audi that makes it all-even where everyone looks. The old one is also half a second quicker 80-120 and a second faster 120 to 160. Why else do you think its name lost five digits from 140 too? Thanks Greta.

Noise Defficiency

Anyway, besides that horrid synthesised effort to overcome a definite noise deficiency over that splendidly sonorous old six, there’s very little else we can criticise this car on. Out tester came without optional adaptive suspension, but it did have those cool 19-inch wheels and 10mm lower M-Sport coils and it certainly was comfy enough in ride.

Although I’d imagine a tad harsher than that space age set-up on some of the less than perfect tar roads we need to drive. You’re nto going to power slide it like its predecessor and we never even bothered hooning for the pics. Handling is however nimble and crisp — in fact it’s at least as good as what we called great in Golf R.

M135i has everything you’d expect inside a premium BMW — and for the price, of course. Infotainment os top drawer and compatible — or will very soon be compatible with whatever your mobile device may be. This One had quite splendid eight grand M-Sport seats and all the latest BMW cabin trickery and style bits, including mood lighting that reminded me a bit of a distant veld fire.

Personally I don’t quite like the looks, but I’ve long learned to live with great cars that looked like crap, so that’s a moot point. To me at least.

Overall, the only real problem this brilliant little M135i supercar has, is its own heritage and pedigree. Take that away and it’s among the best on the block. So now all we need to do is get them all together to really how good his car really is… — Michele Lupini

Images — Giordano Lupini

Engine: 225kW 450Nm 2-litre turbo petrol I4
Drive: 8-speed automatic AWD
0-60km/h:         2.16 sec
0-100km/h:        4.83 sec
0-160km/h:        11.79 sec
400m:             13.1 sec @ 169km/h
80-120km/h:       3.25 sec
120-160km/h:      5.11 sec
VMax:             250km/h
Fuel:             7.5 l/100km
CO2:              171 g/km
Warranty/Service: 2y unlimited/5y 100Kkm
LIST PRICE:       R715K
RATED:            8
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