BMW is planning hot hatch supremacy with its racy 316bhp M135i. Seen here in production guise for the first time, the turbocharged 3.0-litre, six-cylinder M135i has been officially confirmed as the performance flagship of BMW’s second-generation 1-series line-up after being previewed as a concept at the Geneva motor show in March.
The rear-wheel-drive M135i is the second model to join BMW’s new M Performance line-up, following the M550d xDrive. Unlike its 376bhp, tri-turbocharged diesel sibling, the petrol-powered M135i has been engineered for both left and right-hand drive, and local sales begin in September.
Pricing for this long-anticipated hot hatch has not yet been officially confirmed, but Munich sources have revealed to Autocar that it will hit UK showrooms for about £29,900 in standard three-door, rear-wheel-drive guise.
Key among its rivals will be the significantly more expensive but soon-to-be-superseded £39,950 Audi RS3 Sportback, the £30,575 Volkswagen Scirocco R and the £26,040 Renault Mégane 265.
Also lined up firmly in BMW’s sights is the soon-to-be-revealed Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, which is expected to reach Britain early next year bearing a similar price tag and packing 335bhp from a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine.
Alongside the initial three-door model revealed here, BMW is also readying a five-door version that is tentatively planned to go on sale in the UK in November.
The M135i is powered by the latest take on BMW’s widely used N55 engine. Recently launched in the 640i coupé and convertible, the 3.0-litre straight six uses a twin-scroll turbocharger along with BMW’s patented Valvetronic variable valve control and double Vanos variable camshaft control systems, along with the latest in piezo valve-guided direct injection to deliver 316bhp at 5000rpm and 332lb ft of torque at just 1350rpm.