BMW F20 M135i Test Drive by Sport Auto

Because of the ingrate posture in which the F20 M135i was put in (replacing the incredible 1M Coupe), most people consider the new 1er a proper M car. The guys from Sport Auto chose to see for themselves if the most powerful F20 could stack up to the late E82 1M.
BMW F20 M135i 1 photo
Photo: BMW
Looking at the numbers, you'd say the M135i is not far behind its older brother. Despite having just one turbocharger instead of two, the F20 has 320 HP and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) of torque. The 1M had two turbochargers of the N54 engine and pushed out 340 HP and a maximum of 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque.

So, the power difference is only 20 HP and 50 Nm (37 lb-ft) due to over boost. How about the weight? Well, the 1M Coupe weighed 1,495 kg (3,296 lb) and the M135i adds up to a grand total of 1,500 kg (3,307 lb). That's even closer.

The main difference you'll feel when driving the new car will be the rear differential which is no longer mechanical. Be that as it may, the M135i comes really close to the original and, when taken to the track it manages to stay close behind it.

The F20 wins in interior space and new features but the 1M is, and will forever be, one of the best looking BMWs ever to come out of the assembly lines of BMW plants.

The manual transmission is true to the BMW DNA. It offers a lot of enjoyment for the buck and will make your car lighter than the 8-speed automatic one. Of course, you'll never be able to change gears as quick as the ZF gearbox but you will definitely have more fun and the differences will not be as big as you might think ( the 0-62 mph or 0-100 km/h times differ by just 0.2 seconds).

Bottom line, even though the M135i is not a proper M car, it is the best you can get for a small hatchback. The engine is strong and economical, the transmission will make you feel alive and chassis' combined sportiness and comfort will make you forget you're driving a car that can easily be taken to the racetrack and carry your groceries too.

This is one car that will definitely remind you of the cars BMW used to make back in the day. In case your are too young to know how that felt, this 1er will show you why the world loves BMWs so much.

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