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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:BMW M135i

Editor’s choice
Overall verdict
BMW performance hatch that is also a bit of a bargain. It's not quite a 1M, but it's close.


Ample on-paper appeal is realised on the road: very fast, very entertaining


Aside from rear space, nothing


What is it?

The hottest 1-Series, the BMW M135i is an M Performance Automobile. A what? Why, part of the BMW range positioned between regular BMWs and full-on M cars. It joins the X5 xDrive50d and X6 xDrive50d, and if the name is a mouthful, do as BMW execs do: call it an MPA. Or don’t bother, and just call it M135i - more proudly so for 2015 thanks to a welcome and very effective facelift.

Although it may not quite say so, this is a true M car. You can feel the magic is there (M engineers aren’t solely responsible, but they’ve certainly had an input). It’s not quite as hard-edged as the brilliant old 1-Series M Coupe, but it’s close. And £10k cheaper. Given how it’s a thoroughly modern car to boot, it’s a real bargain. Particularly considering the way it drives…

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
M140i 3dr [Nav] Step Auto
4.6s 168g/km 38.2 340 £35,430
The cheapest
118i [1.5] SE 3dr [Nav/Servotronic]
8.5s 134g/km 47.9 136 £22,790
The greenest
116d EfficientDynamics Plus 3dr [Servotronic]
10.4s 89g/km 83.1 116 £22,835
Continue: Driving