2020 BMW M135i xDrive drivenBy khulekani / on Jan 10th, 2021 / in Car Reviews, featured
By Otsile Kadiege
Ever since its inception in the year 2004, the BMW 1 Series has always followed one format: long hood, rear-wheel drive and an optional rear-wheel biased all-wheel drivetrain for the F20 generation (for the overseas market). Much to the disappointment of car enthusiasts, BMW changed the formula. For the F40 generation, the hood is shorter, it is front-wheel drive and the xDrive all-wheel drivetrain in the range topping M135i is front-wheel drive biased.
Exterior highlights of the M135i include Cerium Grey finished accents on the single-frame grille, functional air inlets, mirror caps, M135i specific style 557 M 19-inch wheels and M135i badging. Other features like the integrated rear wing, rear diffuser and large dual exhaust tips differentiate the M135i from the 118i.
The interior looks and feels premium thanks to the use of soft touch materials. Our test car was fitted with optional perforated Magma Red M Sport seats which kept us snug on long drives and were supportive when we spiritedly drove the potent 1 Series through bends.
Atop the soft touch dashboard is a 10.25-inch touchscreen tilted towards the driver. It is running BMWs intuitive iDrive 7 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay. It is flanked by a configurable 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster with clear and crisp graphics. The Harmon Kardon audio system in our test car sounded incredible.
Driving in the CBD and on the highway, the M135i, in its comfort setting, felt pleasant to drive. Its suspension did a good job at soaking up road imperfections. Our test car was fitted with driver assistance systems like PDC, active cruise control with stop and go function, parking assist and a heads-up display.
Far away from the hustle and bustle, we selected the M135i’s most ferocious setting and unleashed its 225 kW and 450 Nm from a transversally mounted 2-litre 4-cylinder engine paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It felt planted when driving through bends at high speeds. We noticed the steering became very light at high speeds. Activating the launch control was a bit tricky, but once we did the M135i will sprint from standstill to jail speeds in mere seconds.
BMW claims an average of 7.5l/100 km but throughout our time with the M135i, we averaged 8.2l/100 km thanks to our heavy footed driving.
The BMW M135i xDrive goes up against some fierce rivals like the Mercedes-AMG A35, the Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf 7 R. It is priced from a steep R 763,300.