The fastest BMW 1-Series has been treated to a few upgrades to keep pace with the latest batch of mega hatches, currently ruled by the Ford Focus RS.
What was previously known as the M135i is now the BMW M140i. The engine is still a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six, but power and torque have been boosted to 335bhp and 369lb/ft, up 14bhp and 37lb/ft.
Spec the optional – and excellent – eight-speed automatic gearbox and the M140i will complete a launch control-assisted sprint from 0-62mph in 4.6secs. Cars with the standard six-speed manual ‘box take 4.9secs, a 0.3secs improvement. They also have auto-blipping on downshifts.
It’s even faster with the optional xDRIVE four-wheel-drive system, which drops the 0-62mph time down to 4.4secs. But for reasons known only to BMW, that won’t be available in the UK. Still, with rear-wheel-drive it’ll be a gloriously driftable thing, if not as easily as the Focus RS with its ‘drift mode’.
The M140i wears 10mm lower suspension than other 1-Series’, along with 18in wheels and a nicely subtle bodykit. And, if it matters, fuel economy has improved with the upgraded engine, the auto achieving nearly 40mpg.
The changes have also been applied to the 2-Series coupe and convertible, becoming the M240i. Incidentally, the old M235i remains one of my favourite cars.
The new models carry a £200 price cut over the cars they replace, with the M140i starting at £31,875, the M240i at £35,090.
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By Only Motors