Priced from $68,400 (plus on-roads), the M135i enters on the top rung of the '1er' family, debuting as the first petrol model in the new M Performance line-up.
NOTE: Read TMR's review of the M135i here.
Power in the new M-tuned car is provided by the familiar turbocharged inline-six, producing 235kW and 450Nm of torque.
While the M135i churns out the same torque numbers as the 1 Series M, the latter has another 15kW of power over this new hatch.
And, where the 1 M could be had only with a manual transmission, the M135i gets a six-speed manual and - for an extra $4000 - 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 by 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 gets a hydraulic arrangement, the M135i packs an electromechanical system.
The M135i is available in Australia in five-door form only; it remains to be seen if the three-door option will make its way down-under.
"At this stage, the three-door model - both in M135i and 'regular' form - would be a low-volume offering that isn't suited to our local plans. We'll watch the market for demand however," BMW Australia's Scott Croaker told TMR.
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 an M Sport body kit all round, topped off by a high-performance exhaust system with dual tips - one at each end of the rear bumper.
Inside, there's an M-badged sports steering wheel, Alcantara-trimmed seats and red highlights.
BI-xenon headlights are standard, along with Bluetooth connectivity and voice control, climate control, auto headlights and wipers, idle-stop and brake-energy regeneration.
Safety features includes front, side and curtain airbags, Cornering Brake Control and Dynamic Brake Control, brake-drying and fade compensation systems, hill-start assist, crash sensors, tyre-pressure monitors, rear parking sensors and active cruise control.
In showrooms from October, the 2013 BMW M135i is priced from $68,400 for the manual model.
The automatic model, reaching over the Luxury Car Tax, adds a $4000 premium.
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