Vijay Pattni14 May 2012

This is the new BMW M135i hatchback

Three-door version of the new 1-Series debuts with range-topping 320bhp version

BMW M135i

Three important stats, two fewer doors and one turbo: all the information you'll ever need to begin your assault on Internet forums across the globe. This is the production-ready BMW M135i.

But, you're thinking, haven't we already seen this car before? Well, yes. It was unveiled as a concept just a few months ago as the second of BMW's new ‘M Performance' range; those series of cars that sit just underneath the proper, full-fat M Cars, the first of which is the ruddy amazing M550d. Which we won't get.

But we will get this BMW M135i, a car that headlines the new three-door bodystyle for the, uniquely styled 1-Series. And by uniquely-styled, you know what we mean.

Gallery: the new BMW M135i and three-door BMW 1-Series hatch

But set aside your reservations about its looks, because underneath sits the heart of a proper athlete. The M135i packs a twin-scroll turbo mated to a 3.0-litre straight-six petrol - a BMW hallmark that has been tuned for NOISE - producing a rather delectable 320bhp and 332 torques. Ditch the six-speed manual and opt for the eight-speed auto ‘box, and you'll find yourself on the happier end of 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds (versus 5.1secs for the manual). Top speed is limited to 155mph, naturally.

As par for a BMW, weight distribution is a perfect 50:50, and the M135i gets M-specific and individual control of the damping and suspension systems, that BMW is already claiming allows drivers to exploit that "uncommonly powerful engine". Nice.

M Sport brakes with four-piston units up front and ‘oversized' discs at the back sit beneath 18in light-alloy wheels, while externally it is distinguished via a new front apron, larger air intakes, contoured side skirts and an M-Sport rear bumper.

Prices will be confirmed later in the year. Don't forget, as we reported over a year ago, Mercedes is letting AMG loose on the new A-Class, and of course, there's the RS3 Sportback from Audi to consider also. Could you overlook the, erm, looks and revel in that straight-six?

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