The New BMW M135 Is a 312-HP Hot Hatch We Won’t Get in the US

2025 BMW M135 xDrive

We’ll have to wait until the next 2 Series Gran Coupe arrives to get our paws on this powertrain.


Europeans have it good. Not only do they get the Audi S3 Sportback and the Mercedes-AMG A45, but also the BMW M135i. The M division is transitioning its hot hatchback to the next generation, alongside the regular 1 Series. The fourth iteration of Munich’s entry-level model has gone through significant cosmetic changes while retaining the front-wheel-drive architecture.

The exterior styling is evolutionary, remaining immediately recognizable as a 1 Series but with sharper-looking headlights. At the rear, the taillights look like they came from the latest X2. The M Performance derivative gets a quad exhaust system, inherited from the X1 M35i and X2 M35i. With the new performance hatchback, BMW is signaling the beginning of the end for the letter “i” (from “injection”) in the names of its gas models. Check out the tailgate and you’ll notice it only says M135.

In keeping with BMW’s latest design trends, the performance version gets the M-specific side mirror caps that used to be a staple of actual M cars until a few years ago. We can say the same about the M badge on the kidney grille. Heck, there’s even an M logo on the plastic engine cover with its fake carbon fiber. The not-quite M model gets its fair share of glossy black trim, along with a meaner grille featuring horizontal slats.

The normal 1 Series, be it with or without the M Sport Package, has a rather odd grille design with interlaced vertical and oblique lines. While most of the newer BMWs have flush door handles, the 1er keeps the traditional layout. Elsewhere, this is the company’s first car to offer a contrasting roof finish with a glossy black look. Wheel sizes start from 17 inches and reach 19 inches for the M135, which also gets optional compound brakes.

Stepping inside, the cabin is a vast departure from the old model. The 2025 1 Series gets BMW’s iDrive 9 infotainment system with dual screens. The digital instrument cluster measures 10.25 inches while the touchscreen has a 10.7-inch diagonal. As with other models featuring side-by-side displays, most of the conventional buttons are gone. In fact, even the traditional iDrive rotary knob has been deleted in the name of minimalism (or cost-cutting, depending on your outlook on life).

The chunky gear lever has made way for a small selector to further declutter the cabin. The seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission can be optionally ordered with shift paddles, which are standard on the M135. That version also gets body-hugging front seats with an illuminated M letter, just like in the big-boy M cars. A fully vegan interior is standard with the new generation.

The M Lite 1 Series will be available from day one, packing the latest iteration of the B48 engine. This turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline mill is going to make 296 horsepower in EU countries where there are stricter emissions regulations. In other regions, BMW will unlock the full 312 hp.

That’s how it is already with the mechanically related X1 M35i and X2 M35i crossovers. Torque is rated at 295 lb-ft, regardless of market. It’s enough four-pot punch for a sprint to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds and a top speed electronically capped at 155 mph.

The only other gas engine available at launch is a puny 1.5-liter turbo three-cylinder in the 120. It’s a mild-hybrid powertrain rated at 168 hp and 206 lb-ft. The base 1 Series takes 7.8 seconds to complete the sprint to 60 and maxes out at 140 mph.

There’s also a 120d with a 2.0-liter turbo oil-burner. This diesel, also with 48V technology, delivers 161 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The most economical 1 Series does the 0-60 sprint in 7.9 seconds and reaches 138 mph at full tilt. A cheaper 118d makes do with 148 hp and 265 lb-ft, enabling a 0-60 run in 8.3 seconds en route to an identical 138 mph.

As before, there are no plug-in hybrid or fully electric derivatives of the 1 Series. The next 2 Series Gran Coupe (F74) will premiere later this year with nearly the same technical specifications, plus a US visa. The M235 is likely to be available from day one. Americans will get the uncorked version of the engine.

Meanwhile, the new 1er will go on sale in Europe in October once production starts in Leipzig, Germany.

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