Making the case for this car is hardly difficult. We adored the bespoke savagery of the 1-series M Coupé, but that was an ultra-expensive, low-volume M-car model never intended for mass production. Clearly, what was needed was a similarly outrageous output wrapped in a cheaper to buy hatchback shell, atop a slightly less spiky chassis. Step forward the new M135i.
Whereas the 1M was meant as a showy halo product for the hardcore enthusiast, the M135i, in line with BMW’s new performance strategy, is intended as a natural range-topper and a genuine prospect for the multitude of buyers attracted to the modern mega-hatch concept.
It’s hardly alone in that market, but its appearance does seem remarkably well timed. The hideously expensive Audi RS3 has essentially been and gone, the next generation of Volkswagen Golf R and Ford Focus RS aren’t going to appear any time soon and we’re still waiting for Mercedes’ A25 AMG to take a bow.
Consequently, BMW’s effort has some room to breath. We’ll decant it over the next eight pages and discover if the car is worthy of its M badge’s vintage.