Mike Stevens | May 13, 2012

Update: Five-door version of M135i confirmed for Australia. See BMW Australia comments at bottom of article.

BMW's M135i hot hatch has made the leap from Geneva concept to production reality, marking the debut of the new 1 Series in three-door form.

Developed specifically for the M Performance family - one step up from M Sport, one down from true M status - the M135i enters as the first petrol model in the new line.

To be doubly clear, BMW says this is not a successor to the limited-edition 1 Series M Coupe. But, for fans of big engines in little cars, it'll do the trick.

Power here is supplied by - no surprise - BMW's turbocharged inline-six, producing 235kW and 450Nm of torque.

For those keeping score, that's the same torque numbers offered with the 1 Series M, but the genuine M car has another 15kW of power over this new hatch.

While the 1 M was offered with a manual transmission only, the M135i gets a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic.

In auto form, BMW says the M135i will hit 100km/h in 4.9 seconds - yes, the same time as the manual 1 M - while the manual lists a 5.1 second run.

Those comparable acceleration figures are brought about in part through the huge torque, and also by the M135i's lighter kerb weight; around 70kg lighter than the 1 M Coupe.

One significant point of difference between these two cars, mechanically, is in the steering. While the 1 M benefited from a hydraulic arrangement, the M135i packs an electromechanical system.

2013 bmw m135i hatch 1 series three door overseas 08

The M135i's styling kit includes unique 18-inch rims wrapped in 225/40 tyres up front and 245/35 rubber at the rear, while the front bumper sees the fog lights replaced with large air intakes.

There's a unique body kit all round, topped off by a high-performance exhaust system with dual tips - one at each corner of the rear bumper.

Inside, there's an M-badged sports steering wheel, Alcantara-trimmed seats and red highlights.

The M135i's rivals will include the upcoming A-Class AMG and the Audi RS 3 - but as the only rear-wheel-drive offering in the trio, this one will have an appeal all its own.



Speaking with TMR today, BMW Australia's Scott Croaker confirmed that while the three-door is unlikely for Australia, the five-door M135i is a sure thing.

"When the M135i becomes available in the five-door we will grab that with both hands," Mr Croaker said. "We expect that will happen sooner rather than later but have no official confirmation as yet."

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