More immediately noticeable M135i identifiers include a new front bumper unit with larger air intakes, a rear bumper with twin exhausts and 18in alloys, and tyres, that are wider at the rear.
Which is why the BMW M135i noses ahead in this test. What Car? How times change. Subscribe to our newsletter Subscribe to What Car?
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For a start, the engine is a high-revving, turbocharged 3. Impressive performance figures, and it looks like good value, unlike most Beemers. See full stats. It seems that the M135i's looks are very sensitive to reflections, light and the height of the viewer's eyeline. What's the used BMW M135i hatchback like?
The M135is front seats feature heavily bolstered side supports to hold you in place during hard cornering, aided by a slip-resistant, suede-like leather covering.
The hideously expensive Audi RS3 Sportback has been and gone , the next generation of Volkswagen Golf R and Ford Focus RS didn't appear any time soon and it has had the best part of a year's head start on Mercedes-Benz's new turbocharged four-cylinder A45 AMG , which is more powerful still than the M135i but also significantly more expensive.
There are three rear seats, but space will be tight there for taller adults, especially leg room. Just as crucially, though, a lowered ride height, specially selected springs and dampers, and the M division's insistence on fitting high-grip, non-run-flat tyres means you can place the car on the road with supreme accuracy.
Then a model.
BMW M135i 2012-2014 review. Subscribe to our newsletter Subscribe to What Car? We like the M135i at its cheapest price so we'd keep the car as close to its cooking spec as possible.
Indeed, the BMW M140i wades into battle with an eyebrow-raising 335bhp. To find out what that is, stay with us over the next few pages for our detailed review.