After seeing the words “BMW M135i” captured in print from an ordering catalog of performance parts, the Bavarian Motor Works has dropped details and pictures on its latest performance compact.
Officially called a concept, the BMW M135i shows “prospects for the further development of the 1 Series model range.” In other words, it’s not so much an “if” as a “when,” especially considering the high-performance 135i coupe is going into its last model year, and BMW already discontinued the current-generation 1 Series M. The next part we’ll have to see is what it will look like when it reaches production.
The concept, as shown, is the first showing of BMW’s three-door hatchback version of the 1 Series. Up until now, the current generation has only been shown as a five-door hatchback. It’s also the first BMW 1 Series hatchback to receive BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6, which BMW promises will make upward of 300 horsepower.
Also new to the concept are widened wheel arches, a sportier suspension, and bigger tires mounted in 18-inch wheels. It’s intended to be a much sportier version of the BMW 1 Series, slotting into BMW’s new M Performance sub-brand underneath the not-for-us M550d xDrive sedan and wagon, X5 M50d, and X6 M50d. While none of those vehicles are meant for our shores, we’re thinking the next high-performance 1 Series will most likely make it here.
But instead of receiving a hatchback version, as pictured here with the M135i, we’re likely to keep getting coupe and convertible versions, and a sedan is also likely to join the fray. As M Performance slots below the true full-blown M division, the M135i will probably be top dog for some time until a new 1 Series M joins BMW’s lineup. Look for this car to make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show early next month with a possible (and highly likely) production version hitting the show circuit in a few months.