The BMW M140i is the M135i’s even faster replacement. We drove it for a week to see how it compares with the Ford Focus RS as part of our video review.
While everyone was busy dry humping the Ford Focus RS and its controversial drift mode, BMW updated the M135i. By introducing a new 3.0-litre straight-six with an extra 14hp and 50Nm of torque, it turned a fast car into a ballistic one and so the M140i was born.
We could understand why the dedicated hot-hatch aficionado may turn their nose up at it. The comfortable, executive-esque interior and a lack of a giant spoiler could be deemed too soft, too civilised.
Then there is the (brilliant) ‘breadvan’ design, reminiscient of the Z3M Coupe, which you could accuse of being too understated, and that it is a very common car. It’s as if you get one free when you buy a pair of socks.
But let’s get one thing straight. It is by no means as harsh as the Focus RS or as savage as the race-inspired Honda Civic Type R, but it is no less riveting. Not quite M2 levels of excitement, but not a million miles off either.
The Type R is the precision choice, admittedly, while the Focus RS feels more aggressive, but the Bimmer’s softer side makes it better for the mundane. This is bearing in mind the suspension has been firmed up to bring it in line with the M240i.
Mudane is a bad thing, of course, but it is nice to enjoy fast motoring without losing the versatility associated with hatchbacks. To live with, the M140i is much closer to the VW Golf R yet it leaves a bigger impression than the German.
The fact it is more livable is okay though, because it the combination of rear-wheel drive motoring, body control and grip makes it so memorable. It can even be had with a limited-slip differential, in case you need it to be sportier still.
The M140i does have its share of problems, mind you, as we outline in the video. But our appreciation for the M135i has carried over to the M140i – proper M car or not, it’s a great drive.
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PS Please forgive us for our initial gearbox mistake, we know it has a ZF and not a DCT…
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