BMW M135i vs Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG by Chris Harris [Video]
At the moment, BMW has only one car that can actually take on the new AMG hatch: the M135i. However, some things need to be explained here. Firstly, the M135i is not a performance car like the AMG. The M135i is just tuned to be faster and more responsive than any other 1 Series but it's no 1M.
That being said, everyone should calm down! Until BMW launches the new 2 Series and a possible M2, the A45 will probably be all alone in this segment. Sure, some might say that the 2 Series will either be a Coupe or a Convertible and not a hatchback, but BMW didn't say anything about releasing an M hatch (yet).
Some might say that the differences aren't so big anyway, but they'd be wrong. The BMW has the ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox on it and, no matter how great it is (and it is a brilliant piece of engineering), it's not the same as a DCT 7-speed one used on proper M cars or the AMG as a matter of fact.
The chassis didn't go through the usual M treatment and neither has the suspension but still, it manages to come close to the Merc and give a run for its money. In our book, that's impressive.
Chris has done this for a couple of years now and he definitely knows what he's saying. Actually, we found this test pretty convincing. Sure, the AMG will be the more exact and precise car, it will do better lap times, it's only normal but…
Look at Chris' face when he's driving the M135i. That will tell you everything you need to know. If, when he was driving the A45 he was all concentrated and frowning, when he stepped inside the Bimmer, especially on the track, he HAD FUN!
His conclusion was the same, in the BMW you'll be having fun, whilst the Merc will be the more precise choice, if you have a couple of extra thousand dollars/pounds/euros for all the AMG tech.