The BMW 1 Series arrived for the 2012 model year, and the following year, the wild M135i hatch made its debut, giving Bimmer the hot hatchback that Europeans crave so much. As we head into the 2015 model year in Europe – they are one model year behind us – the M135i is receiving a slight update that gives it cues similar to the rest of the BMW lineup. On top of its new looks, the 2015 M135i also gets a slight power bump and the option to send the ponies to all four wheels.

With this refresh, it is obvious that BMW is looking to do more than simply make the M135i look like the rest of its lineup. The extra power and the addition of all-wheel drive is a sign that Bimmer is playing keeping up with the Joneses with the A45 AMG 4MATIC and the upcoming Audi RS3, both of which feature all-wheel drive and quicker acceleration times. So, can the extra power and xDrive all-wheel drive close the gap enough to allow the Bimmer hatch to keep pace with the its Mercedes and Audi competitors?

Click "Continue Reading" to read my full review of the 2015 M135i to find out.

  • 2015 BMW M135i
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Transmission:
    Six-Speed Manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    326
  • MPG(Cty):
    21.4
  • MPG(Hwy):
    6
  • Torque @ RPM:
    332
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    30000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 BMW M135i High Resolution Exterior
- image 614345
Also included in these new headlights are LED daytime running lights, and optional full-LED lighting.

The M135i remains very much recognizable, but for the 2015 model year, Bimmer has made a few tweaks to the outside. First up on the list of changes is a revised grille that is now wider and bolder, and updated air intakes to add a tad more sportiness. Then to help increase the classy look and to pull it in line with the rest of its lineup, BMW widened the headlights and gave them a flatter geometry. Also included in these new headlights are LED daytime running lights, and optional full-LED lighting.

On the rear, BMW has given the taillights on the M135i – and the entire 1 Series hatch lineup – the brand’s signature L-shaped design to round out the exterior modifications.

The M135i comes with tons of sporty standard features, like the 18-inch, double-spoke M lightweight wheels, a black-chrome exhaust tip, and an aggressive rear diffuser. Once again, the peppy M135i is available in three- and five-door versions, giving buyers the option of shaving two doors for a sportier look or keeping the two doors for easier rear-seat access.

2015 vs. 2015

2015 BMW M135i
- image 618322

Exterior Dimensions

Length x Width x Height (MM) 4324 x 1765 x 1411
Wheelbase (MM) 2690
Track Front/Rear (MM) 1516 / 1534
Curb Weight DIN/EU (KG) 1430 / 1505 ; 1520 / 1595 (xDrive)

Interior

2015 BMW M135i High Resolution Interior
- image 618305
Also available in a 12-speaker, 360-watt Harman Kardon audio system.

Interior changes are a little less noticeable on the 2015 M135i, as they are limited to just an updated upper center console, with new controls for the radio and climate control.

Included as standard on the M135i are sliding armrests, dual-zone climate control, M135i sill plates, an M leather steering wheel, sports seats, M-design interior trim, an M gear switch, a leather-wrapped handbrake, an anthracite-colored, BMW Individual headliner, a driver-side knee pad, an M footrest, and a special lighting package.

Additionally, just in case the acceleration and handling doesn’t constantly remind you that this is no normal 1 Series, an “M135i” badge in the instrument cluster is there to serve as a reminder. Also available is a 12-speaker, 360-watt Harman Kardon audio system.

Drivetrain

In the engine compartment of the M135i is a 3.0-liter inline-six that cranks out 326 horsepower between 5,800 and 6,000 rpm, and 450 Nm of torque between 1,300 and 4,500 rpm. That is an increase of 6 horsepower over the 2014 model, while torque remains unchanged.

In 2015, the M135i is available with rear- or all-wheel drive – the latter is a new option for 2015. The rear-driven model can hit 62 mph in 5.1 seconds with the standard six-speed manual transmission and 4.9 seconds with the optional eight-speed Steptronic automatic. With xDrive all-wheel drive, which comes only with the auto transmission, the sprint time drops to a scant 4.7 seconds. Top speed is 250 km/h across the board.

Fuel economy for the M135i is decent, but not stellar for the European cycle. The base model with the six-cog manual is rated at 10.9 l/100 km in the city, 6.4 l/100 km on the highway and 8 l/100 km combined, while the auto transmission improves those ratings to 10.3, 5.9, and 7.5, respectively. With the newly added xDrive option the city rating is 10.8 l/100 km, while the highway rating is set at 6.1 l/100 km, and the combined rating is 7.8 l/100 km. The CO2 ratings are 188 g/km with the manual transmission, 175 g/km with the auto transmission, and 182 g/km with xDrive.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 3.0-liter I-6 TwinPower Turbo
Output (HP @ RPM 326 @ 5800-6000
Torque (Nm @ RPM) 450 @ 1300-4500
Acceleration (0-100 KM/H) 5.1 Sec (Manual) ; 4.9 Sec (Auto) ; 4.7 Sec (xDrive)
Top Speed 250 KM/H
Fuel Economy City/Highway/Combined (L/100 KM) 10.9 / 6.4 / 8 (Manual) ; 10.3 / 5.9 / 7.5 (Auto) ; 10.8 / 6.1 / 7.8 (xDrive)
CO2 Emissions (g/100 km) 188 (Manual) ; 175 (Auto) ; 182 (xDrive)

Prices

The updated M135i starts from £32,010 (the equivalent of around $46,710) in the U.K. for the 2016 model year, a £2,430 (around $3,550) premium over the outgoing hatchback. For that amount you get the three-door version with the manual transmission. For the automatic variant, the sticker is set at £33,500 (around $48,860). Moving over to the five-door M135i, the manual fetches £32,540 (about $47,480) before options, while the automatic retails from £34,030 (around $49,660).

The M135i is not offered in the United States, where BMW doesn’t sell the 1 Series.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG 4MATIC

2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG High Resolution Exterior
- image 492681

Another hot-hatch that is not available here in the U.S. is the A45 from the crazy folks at Mercedes-AMG. This rocket on wheels ships 360 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 450 Nm of torque between 2,250 and 5,000 rpm through an AMG Speedshift, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission on its way to all four wheels. This allows the hot hatch to hit 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 155 mph. While the A45 AMG is a tad quicker than the M135i xDrive, its starting price of £38,195 (about $55,730) is a good bit higher than the Bimmer’s.

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG here.

Audi RS3 Sportback

2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 585654

Though it still has yet to hit the market, the Audi RS3 Sportback has both BMW and Mercedes checking their rearview mirrors. With a 2.5-liter TFSI five-cylinder engine that packs 367 horsepower and 465 Nm of torque, the RS3 Sportback has the rule of the German hot-hatch roost. The power heads through a seven-speed, S tronic transmission on its way to all four wheels. This setup allows the Audi hot-hatch to hit 100 km/h in an exhilarating 4.3 seconds on its way to a limited top speed of 250 km/h – Audi says that it can remove the limiter and the RS3 will hit 280 km/h. In addition to being insanely fast, the RS3 Sportback can also turn in fuel consumption ratings of just 8.1 l/100 km and just 189 grams of CO2 per km.

Read more about the Audi RS3 Sportback here.

Conclusion

2015 BMW M135i High Resolution Exterior
- image 614344

The M135i was always an awesome rig, and the updates Bimmer made are just enough to keep it fresh for now. The power boost was a nice addition, and the xDrive all-wheel-drive system was freaking genius. However, with the A45 AMG outmuscling it, and the upcoming RS3 making both the A45 AMG and the M135i look like normal grocery getters, BMW needs to work quickly on retooling its hot-hatch to keep pace.

  • Leave it
    • Still slower than the A45 AMG
    • The RS3 embarrasses it
    • Seriously in need of about 30 more horses to remain competitive

Press Release

The new BMW 1 Series model range.

Almost two million units of the BMW 1 Series have been sold worldwide over the last ten years, and this latest edition is poised to set another new benchmark in driving pleasure in the premium compact segment. The new 3-door and 5-door BMW 1 Series models come with a comprehensively revised engine line-up and additional measures designed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, allowing them to lead the way once again in the introduction of new BMW EfficientDynamics technology.

The selection of engines available for the new BMW 1 Series model range has been enhanced by the addition of latest-generation petrol and diesel units with three and four cylinders. The torquey and high-revving engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology team up with rear-wheel drive – still a unique selling point in the compact segment – to deliver a suitably intense driving experience. And an even broader spread of standard equipment, an output boost for the six-cylinder in-line engine powering the BMW M135i M Performance Automobile and cutting-edge innovations from BMW ConnectedDrive also imbue the brand’s hallmark characteristics with renewed vigour.

Modified exterior and interior design includes familiar BMW styling cues underlining sports performance and premium characteristics.
Carefully considered updates to the exterior design of the new BMW 1 Series shine the spotlight on its sporting elegance and high-end presence. A newly designed BMW kidney grille and larger air intakes help to emphasise the car’s dynamic potential in familiar BMW style. Headlights with a significantly flatter geometry play a similar role. They come with LED daytime driving lights as standard and can now be specified in full-LED specification as an option. The rear lights have also been completely remodelled. They now display the “L” shape characteristic of BMW models and reveal LED-powered lights. Elsewhere, the sophisticated design of the upper centre console with the controls for the radio and climate control system is foremost in accentuating the premium ambience on board the new BMW 1 Series.

Automatic air conditioning, BMW Radio Professional and BMW iDrive fitted as standard; new equipment variants.
Standard equipment for the new BMW 1 Series model range now also features automatic air conditioning, a rain sensor, the BMW Radio Professional and the iDrive operating system, complete with a high-resolution 6.5-inch display integrated in the instrument panel as a freestanding monitor. And the Advantage, Sport Line, Urban Line and M Sport packages available as an alternative to standard specification provide fresh scope for targeted individualisation.

New generation of engines, new benchmarks in efficiency.
An extensively updated line-up of engines and extended BMW EfficientDynamics technology ensure that the new BMW 1 Series model range once again sets new standards in its class by further reducing fuel consumption and emissions. BMW 1 Series customers will now be offered three- and four-cylinder power units from the BMW Group’s new engine family. The new efficiency pacesetter in the brand’s model range is the BMW 116d EfficientDynamics Edition with 85 kW/116 hp and average fuel consumption of 3.4 litres/100 kilometres (83.1 mpg imp) combined with CO2 emissions of 89 g/km in the EU test cycle.

As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, there is the option of an eight-speed Steptronic transmission (standard in the BMW 125d, BMW 120d xDrive and BMW M135i xDrive). The latest version of the automatic unit now also offers transmission management supported by navigation data.

A 5 kW increase in output (to 240 kW/326 hp) from its six-cylinder in-line engine allows the new BMW M135i (average fuel consumption: 8.0 litres/100 km [35.3 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 188 g/km) to strengthen its position as the elite sports performer in the BMW 1 Series’ competitive segment. Like the BMW 120d and BMW 118d, the BMW M Performance Automobile can also be specified with the intelligent all-wheel-drive system xDrive which, as well as serving the causes of traction and directional stability, also enhances the car’s dynamics. The new BMW M135i xDrive (average fuel consumption: 7.8 litres/100 km [36.2 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 182 g/km) sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.7 seconds.

Sophisticated chassis technology, Tyre Pressure Indicator fitted as standard.
Advanced chassis technology teams up with rear-wheel drive and an almost perfect (50 : 50) distribution of weight between the front and rear axles to give the new BMW 1 Series unmistakable handling traits headlined by agility and dynamic excellence. Options include adaptive suspension, M Sport suspension, Variable Sports Steering and an M Sport braking system. A Tyre Pressure Indicator showing each individual wheel is now part of the standard specification.

New assistance systems and services from BMW ConnectedDrive.
The selection of optional driver assistance systems from BMW ConnectedDrive available for the BMW 1 Series now also includes the radar-based Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function. The latest-generation Parking Assistant now enables parallel parking in tight spaces restricted either by two obstacles or on one side only, as well as automatic transverse parking. Features such as the camera-based Driving Assistant, rear-view camera and Speed Limit Info system with No Passing Info display can also be specified.

All models in the new BMW 1 Series line-up come as standard with an embedded SIM card, which allows use of the likewise standard Intelligent Emergency Call and BMW TeleServices functions, as well as access to optional internet-based mobility services. In addition to BMW Online and Real Time Traffic Information, customers can also enjoy the Online entertainment function. Further online services can be integrated into the car using smartphone apps and operated safely, intuitively and conveniently via the iDrive system. Meanwhile, the new Navigation system Professional also offers automatic map updating by mobile phone via the embedded SIM card, which is free of charge to customers for the first three years following registration of the car.

Further information on official fuel consumption figures, specific CO2 emission values and the electric power consumption of new passenger cars is included in the following guideline: “Leitfaden über Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO2 emissions and den Stromverbrauch neuer Personenkraftwagen” (Guideline for fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and electric power consumption of new passenger cars), which can be obtained from all dealerships, from Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH (DAT), Hellmuth-Hirth-Str. 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen and at http://www.dat.de/en/offers/publications/guideline-for-fuel-consumption.html. LeitfadenCO2

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