BMW Malaysia has officially introduced the most powerful version of the third-generation 1 Series, the all-new (F40) M135i xDrive. The sole variant of BMW’s much-anticipated entry-level hatchback will be the sole offering for the Malaysian market at this point.
In a break from the tradition, BMW Malaysia has introduced the range-topping version in hopes of setting its own benchmark in the premium compact performance segment in the country. In terms of competitors, the new M135i will be taking on equally formidable rivals such as the Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic, Volkswagen Golf R, and Renault Megane RS.
Underpinning the M135i is BMW’s UKL platform, which is shared with the (F48) BMW X1, which makes the third-generation 1 Series a front- or all-wheel drive proposition, unlike the first two generations.
Powering the BMW M135i xDrive is the BMW Group’s most powerful 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, the (B48) M Performance TwinPower Turbo which outputs a maximum output of 306 hp and a peak torque of 450 Nm. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox, which distributes power to all four wheels through a BMW xDrive AWD system.
To put all that power safely to the ground, the predominantly front-wheel drive M135i features technology transferred from BMW’s i division. Dubbed ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation) – as seen in the i3s; it uses a slip control system positioned directly in the engine control unit, to reduce power as soon as the threat of wheel slip on the front wheels is detected.
Separately a newly developed Torsen limited-slip differential integrated into the eight-speed transmission which optimises traction by distributing power to individual wheels. It functions as a front differential, and channels power to the wheel with the most traction in fast corners. The M135i is capable of sending up to 50 percent of its power to the rear wheels when traction is needed.
The Torsen limited-slip differential also utilises a launch control feature, which when enabled, allows the M135i to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and will keep accelerating to a top speed of 250km/h.
As is typical for any BMW wearing the ‘M’ badge, the M135i comes with a number of aesthetic highlights to make it look the part. At the front, the aggressive fascia is highlighted by the grille surrounds (replete with unique insert design) and side air inlets are finished in Cerium Grey, as are the wing mirror caps and rear tailpipe finishers.
Along the flanks, the M135i is equipped with 19-inch ‘V-spoke’ Style 557 M Bicolour light-alloy wheels. At the rear, taillights with a three-dimensional ‘L-shaped’ light strip sit above a sporty rear bumper with a larger diffuser section finished in black. Finishing off the roof section is a BMW M rear spoiler.
On the inside, the new platform and drivetrain architecture has greatly improved interior space; providing additional knee room and elbow room for easier entry and exit. Thanks to the space-saving rear-axle design, luggage capacity has also increased to 380 litres (+20 litres), expandable to 1,200 litres with the rear seatbacks lowered down.
Other cool highlights on the inside include the ‘Illuminated Boston’ interior trim finishers, BMW Individual Headliner, and 16-Speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system.
Note too, that the M135i is equipped with BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional (augmented by the BMW Operating System 7.0) displaying data on two screens: a customisable 10.25-inch Instrument Display and high-resolution 10.25-inch touchscreen Control Display. The new premium BMW hatchback is also equipped with BMW Digital Key, Apple CarPlay, Remote Software Upgrade and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.
Additional driver and safety aids include BMW Personal CoPilot which features the Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant and the Reversing Assistant. The Parking Assistant is also available, along with the intuitive Active Park Distance Control. The Reversing Assistant recalls the last 50 metres covered and is able to manoeuvre back the same way by taking over the wheel while the driver controls acceleration and braking.
Elsewhere, Lane Change Warning, Rear Crossing Traffic Warning, Rear Collision Warning, Speed Limit Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Frontal Collision Warning with braking assistance is also supplied as standard.
The M135i xDrive is available in Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Misano Blue, Mineral Grey or Melbourne Red, alongside black Leather or Magma Red ‘Dakota’ leather upholstery.
The M135i will be in dealerships starting 28th of July, priced at RM355,646.25 inclusive of SST exemptions, with BMW Malaysia’s 5-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty with Free Scheduled Service Programme, Roadside Assistance, and Privileges Card.
Check out our coverage of the BMW X1 sDrive18i here, which was launched alongside the BMW M135i xDrive.