BMW’s range-topping hatchback gets a new engine, but no upgrades inside and out

BMW introduced the second-generation BMW 1 Series in 2011, when the redesign also brought a split between the hatchback and the coupe models. While the former continued to use the 1 Series badge, the latter was renamed the 2 Series. The new 1 Series had a fresh design, updated technology, and revised engines. However, unlike the first-gen car, the F20/F21 models didn’t get a proper M variant. Instead, BMW launched the M135i, which was equally powerful despite not being a full-fledged BMW M.

While Munich doesn’t seem very eager to build a new 1M anytime soon, it has just updated its range-topping 1 Series for the 2017 model year. It goes by the name M140i and comes with extra horsepower, optimized fuel consumption, and improved performance. On the flipside, the new badge changes nothing in terms of exterior design and interior features, leaving the performance-oriented hatchback unchanged for the 2017 model year.

The bad news is that BMW still doesn’t want to bring the second-generation 1 Series to the United States, and as a result we won’t find the updated M140i in dealerships. This leaves us with the similarly sized M240i Coupe that BMW launched alongside the hatchback or the absolutely wild M2. Until BMW decides otherwise, let’s have a closer look at its most powerful hatch to date.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M140i.

  • 2017 BMW M140i
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    335
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.8 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8/10

Exterior

2017 BMW M140i
- image 676269
2017 BMW M140i
- image 676270

Despite the name change, the M140i remains identical to last year’s M135 model. In fact, BMW didn’t even bother to release new photos and simply used a picture of the facelifted M135i. Not too upsetting given that there are no visual updates to run by, but it’s annoying that BMW didn’t even take the time to throw in a couple of new shots with the press release. Sure, some images will probably be released in the coming weeks, but it’s still inappropriate for a BMW to be launched with an old photo.

The M140i is identical to the facelifted M135i model that BMW unveiled for the 2015 model year

Anyway, the M140i is identical to the facelifted M135i model that BMW unveiled for the 2015 model year. The hatch received a few nips and tucks on the outside, including a wider grille, updated air intakes, and sportier headlamps. The M140i also benefits from the LED daytime running lights and optional full-LED lighting that came with the mid-cycle update, as well as the new taillights, and aggressive rear diffuser. As the sportiest member of the 1 Series family, it also features standard 18-inch, double-spoke M wheels, a black-chrome exhaust tip, and silver front fender inserts and mirror caps.

Much like its predecessor, it’s available in both three- and five-door body styles.

Interior

BMW had nothing to say about the car’s interior, but based on the fact that the exterior carried over unchanged, it’s safe to assume that the M140i’s cabin is identical to last year’s M135i. In other words, it carries over with the changes the range-topping model received with the 2015 model year facelift, including the updated upper center console with new control for the radio and climate control.

The M140i should also come with numerous standard features over the regular 1 Series, including sliding armrests, dual-zone climate control, an M leather steering wheel, sports seats, M-design interior trim, an M gear switch, a leather-wrapped handbrake, a BMW Individual headliner, a driver-side knee pad, an M footrest, and a special lighting package.

The bespoke side sills will carry M140i branding instead of the previous M135i, while the instrument cluster will also get the updated badge. The 12-speaker, 360-watt Harman Kardon audio system will probably remain optional.

Drivetrain

2017 BMW M140i High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 676165

This is where the new M140i badge finally makes a difference. Although the hatchback still uses the 3.0-liter, inline-six engine, the unit has been thoroughly revised, receiving an aluminum crankcase and cylinder head, a more efficient TwinScroll turbocharger, an electric wastegate control, and close-coupled arrangement of the catalytic converter. It also features a new Valvetronic fully variable control system that provides more precise load control, enhancing the engine’s responsiveness and efficiency.

Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes 4.6 seconds with the optional eight-speed automatic and 4.8 ticks with the standard six-speed manual

As a result, the hatchback now benefits from 340 PS (335 horsepower), a 10-PS (10-horsepower) increase over the M135i, which came with 330 PS (325 horsepower) and 450 Nm (332 pound-feet) of torque on tap. The updated output puts the M140i on par with the iconic 1M.

Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes 4.6 seconds with the optional eight-speed automatic and 4.8 ticks with the standard six-speed manual (for both the three- and five-door,) which makes the M140i exactly three tenths quicker than the M135i. Add xDrive AWD and the benchmark drops to only 4.4 seconds. On the other hand, the M140i can’t match the 4.3-second sprint of the 1M, despite the similar output. Top speed is, as usual, electronically limited to 155 mph.

Although more powerful and quicker, the M140i returns superior fuel economy when compared to the M135i. BMW says that average fuel consumption in the European test cycle comes in at 7.8 liters per 100 km (about 30.1 U.S. mpg) for the manual M140i and 7.1 l/100 km (around 33.1 U.S. mpg) for the automatic hatchbacks. The xDrive versions need 7.4 litres per 100 km (about 31.7 U.S. mpg). These figures equate to improvements of between three and five percent compared to the outgoing models.

As far as CO2 are concerned, they are now at 179 grams per km with the manual, 163 g/km with the automatic, and 169 grams per km for xDrive models.

Safety

Safety systems carry over from the M135i. The hatchback comes with standard driver and front-seat passenger airbags, driver and front-seat passenger side airbags, front and rear head airbags, three-point automatic seat belts for all seats, seat belt tensioners and seatbelt force limiters in front seats, crash sensors, and tire pressure warning. Standard driving stability systems include DSC with ABS, ASC and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), CBC (Cornering Brake Control,) DBC (Dynamic Brake Control,) brake drying function, fading compensation, and hill assist.

Prices

Pricing for the M140i is not yet available, but it’s safe to assume it will cost only a tad more than the outgoing M135i. In Germany, the latter retails from €42,200 (about $47,775) in three-door configuration and from €42,950 (around $48,625) with the five-door body style. xDrive versions fetch €46,350 (about $52,475) and €47,100 (around $53,325) before options, respectively.

The performance hatchback won’t be offered in the U.S., where the 1 Series is not available. The closest thing you can buy to the M140i is the M240i Coupe, which uses the same engine and has similar specifications.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG A45

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
- image 635514

Another hot-hatch that is not available here in the U.S. is the A45. Updated for 2015, this German hatch comes with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that cranks out 381 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque and a quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission. Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes only 4.2 seconds, while top speed is limited at 155 mph. Despite being quick and powerful, the A45 boasts strong fuel economy, needing only 6.9 liters of gasoline every 100 km (or the equivalent of 34 U.S. mpg). While the A45 is a tad quicker than the M140i xDrive, its starting price of €51,170 (about $57,910) is a good bit higher than we anticipate the Bimmer’s will be.

Find out more about the Mercedes-AMG A45 here.

Audi RS3 Sportback

2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 585654

The RS3 Sportback is another hot-hatch that’s been causing a great deal of frustration for not crossing the pond to the U.S. New for 2015, the RS3 sports the tried-and-true 2.5-liter, five-cylinder under its hood, but with a host of updates that increase output to an impressive 367 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. The oomph is routed to the wheels through a seven-speed S tronic transmission and the Quattro all-wheel drive system, enabling the hatchback to hit 62 mph from a standing start in 4.3 seconds. Marginally quicker than the Bimmer and a tenth-second slower than the Merc, the Audi has the superior top speed at 174 mph, thanks to a limiter that can be removed upon request. The RS3 Sportback, however, is the most expensive of the bunch, coming in at €53.500 (around $60,535) before options.

Read more about the Audi RS3 Sportback here.

Conclusion

With BMW having already replaced the 335i with the 340i, it’s not exactly surprising that the M135i has been updated and renamed the M140i. What’s surprising though is that the Germans didn’t bother to offer a few exterior upgrades with the new badge. Granted, the M135i already was a well equipped hatchback that had everything it needed to give the AMG A45 and RS3 Sportback a run for their money, but we expected a bit more from a premium automaker such as BMW. On the other hand, the extra power, enhanced performance, and improved fuel economy should keep most customers happy as long as the sticker doesn’t jump too much. The M135i’s main advantage over the Merc and Audi was its significantly more affordable price and the M140i needs retain this feature in order to remain competitive.

  • Leave it
    • No changes inside and out
    • Slower than its German rivals
    • Not a full-fledged M car

Press Release

The passing of the baton from one generation of engines to the next in July 2016 will enable the BMW M Performance Automobiles in the BMW 1 Series and BMW 2 Series model ranges to showcase their stellar sporting character with even greater élan. The new six-cylinder in-line petrol engine in question – which develops 250 kW/340 hp, a 10 kW/14 hp increase in maximum output over its predecessor – not only optimises the sprinting power of the two cars, it also lowers their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The 3.0-litre unit with further developed M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology is a product of the BMW Group’s latest engine generation. The advances in dynamics and efficiency that come as part of the package are also expressed by the new model designations for the BMW M140i 3-door (fuel consumption combined: 7.8 l/100 km [36.2 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 179 g/km), BMW M140i 5-door (fuel consumption combined: 7.8 l/100 km [36.2 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 179 g/km), BMW M240i Coupe (fuel consumption combined: 7.8 l/100 km [36.2 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 179 g/km) and BMW M240i Convertible (fuel consumption combined: 8.3 l/100 km [34.0 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 189 g/km).

This boost in power means the BMW M Performance members of the BMW 1 Series and BMW 2 Series model ranges now offer the same output levels as the BMW 1 Series M Coupe built between 2011 and 2012. They can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) up to 0.3 seconds quicker than their predecessors, and their fuel consumption and emissions (as calculated in the EU test cycle) are as much as 7 per cent lower. The BMW M140i 3-door, BMW M140i 5-door, BMW M240i Coupe and BMW M240i Convertible are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the latest version of the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission is available as an option. And as an alternative to sending their power to the rear wheels, all four models can also be ordered with BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive.

Setting the benchmark for power delivery, efficiency and refinement: the new six-cylinder in-line petrol engine with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology.

The engine developed for this quartet of compact power merchants stands out from the crowd with its instantaneous responses, high-revving ebullience and exemplary efficiency. Its dynamic power delivery is accompanied by a beautifully intense take on the emotionally rich engine sound characteristic of a BMW straight-six. The new unit has an aluminium crankcase and cylinder head, and the refinement that is likewise a hallmark of BMW six-cylinder in-line engines has been elevated to another level still thanks to new, near-source acoustic shielding. The TwinScroll turbocharger integrated into the cast-steel exhaust manifold is extremely efficient – on account of its compact construction and the presence of an indirect intercooler. Helping to minimise emissions, meanwhile, are electric wastegate control and the close-coupled arrangement of the catalytic converter.

The latest generation of VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control provides particularly precise load control, enhancing the engine’s responsiveness and efficiency. And rounding off the latest update of M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology is Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing on both the intake and exhaust sides. Also doing their bit to seal the exceptionally fine balance between driving pleasure and fuel consumption for this output class are a coolant pump that operates only as necessary, a map-controlled oil pump, Electric Power Steering, the Auto Start Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration and various other solutions developed under the banner of BMW EfficientDynamics.

A key element in the new engine’s ability to serve up thrillingly dynamic acceleration is the pulling power that comes on tap early and is maintained over a wide rev range. The new unit lays on peak torque of 500 Newton metres (369 lb-ft) between 1,500 and 4,500 rpm and generates maximum output of 250 kW/340 hp at 5,500 rpm.

Six-speed manual gearbox with throttle b lipping function, eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission with wider gear spread.

Technical innovations designed to enhance driving pleasure and optimise efficiency are also at work in the transfer of engine power to the driven wheels. The standard six-speed manual gearbox fitted in the compact BMW M Performance Automobiles offers an engagement speed control function to deliver exceptionally smooth gear changes. On downshifts, the transmission management increases shift comfort by initiating a throttle blipping function; as the driver shifts into a lower gear, this increases the engine’s revs to the ideal level for the target gear.

The latest-generation six-cylinder in-line engine can be combined with the likewise new version of the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission as an option. With its wider gear spread and further improved internal efficiency, this automatic transmission – fitted as standard on the all-wheel-drive versions of the compact BMW M Performance Automobiles – makes an additional contribution to increasing efficiency. The option of carrying out multiple downshifts opens the door to more dynamic gearshifts and particularly swift responses to movements in the accelerator. Added to which, the cars’ driving comfort and acoustic appeal both benefit from the use of a rev-linked vibration damper. The eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission provides top-class shift dynamics and, in addition to the Launch Control function delivering traction-optimised acceleration off the line, also offers a predictive shift strategy. Here, the transmission management works in conjunction with the car’s navigation system to analyse the driving situation and route profile and, in so doing, determine the ideal moment for a gear change.

Enhanced dynamics, lower fuel consumption: acceleration improves by up to 0.3 seconds, fuel consumption drops by as much as 7 per cent.

The extra dynamic potency heralded by the further developed powertrain technology is reflected by significantly improved acceleration values. The BMW M140i 3-door and BMW M140i 5-door complete the dash from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds with the standard six-speed manual gearbox or 4.6 seconds with the optional eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission. All of which means they reach 100 km/h (62 mph) 0.3 seconds sooner in both cases than their respective predecessors. An identical improvement can be seen with the BMW M140i xDrive 3-door and BMW M140i xDrive 5-door, which dispatch the same sprint in just 4.4 seconds. Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle comes in at 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres [36.2 mpg imp] for the BMW M140i 3-door and BMW M140i 5-door (automatic: 7.1 l/100 km [39.8 mpg imp]) and 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres [38.2 mpg imp] for the BMW M140i xDrive 3-door and BMW M140i xDrive 5-door. Which equates to a drop of between 3 and 5 per cent below the figures recorded by the outgoing models. CO2 emissions are now 179 grams per kilometre (automatic: 163 g/km) for the rear-wheel-drive models and 169 grams per kilometre where xDrive is involved.

The BMW M240i Coupe likewise powers from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds (automatic: 4.6 seconds) – or 4.4 seconds in all-wheel-drive guise. Those figures represent an improvement of 0.2 seconds in both cases. Fuel consumption and emissions in the EU test cycle are down by 4 to 7 per cent compared to their predecessors’ values. The BMW M240i Coupe now posts a figure of 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres [36.2 mpg imp] (179 g/km) with the manual gearbox or 7.1 litres per 100 kilometres [39.8 mpg imp] (163 g/km) when the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission is fitted. The BMW M240i xDrive Coupe is rated at 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres [38.2 mpg imp] (169 g/km).

Both variants of the open-top BMW M Performance Automobile race from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) 0.3 seconds faster than before. The acceleration figures now stand at 4.9 seconds (automatic: 4.7 seconds) for the BMW M240i Convertible and 4.6 seconds for the BMW M240i xDrive Convertible. Combined fuel consumption and emissions in the EU test cycle drop by 2 to 6 per cent – to 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres [34.0 mpg imp] (189 g/km) in conjunction with the six-speed-manual gearbox, 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres [38.2 mpg imp] (169 g/km) if the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission is fitted and 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres [36.2 mpg imp] (179 g/km) in the case of the BMW M240i xDrive Convertible.

Just like their further upgraded powertrain technology, the model-specific equipment compositions on board the compact BMW M Performance Automobiles are also geared to promoting a driving experience that fuels sporting ambitions. Standard specification includes M Sport suspension lowered by 10 millimetres, 18-inch M light-alloy wheels in exclusive double-spoke design, an M Sport braking system, Variable Sports Steering with Servotronic function, a model-specific M aerodynamic package and exterior mirror caps in Ferric Grey metallic. Playing their part in the sporting interior ambience are the cloth/Alcantara sports seats with blue contrast stitching, the M leather steering wheel and an M driver’s footrest.

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