A halfway house. Nearly, but not quite, an M-car. A midway compromise between the standard range and a full-blown product.
That’s what the M135i looks like being on paper, and that’s what it turns out to be in practice: a car that retains the mainstream 1 Series range’s sensible appeal, but with the wick turned up to cast a larger glow than you’d expect of a regular model.
It’s a compromise that works as well. This is an entertaining, enjoyable car.
Inevitably, however, the lack of bespoke M division engineering and components leaves the M135i feeling far more like a conventional BMW than an M product. Of the two paths, the normal 1 Series is the one to which the M135i remains closer.
Nevertheless, this is a fine driving companion and a car with both a spectacular set of performance numbers and a determinedly alluring price.