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BMW M135i: Buying guide and review (2012-present)

BMW M135i: Buying guide and review (2012-present) Classic and Performance Car
BMW M135i BMW M135i BMW M135i BMW M135i BMW M135i BMW M135i
BMW’s M division has been catering to the top end of the sports car spectrum for decades, and with their high-revving overtly sporty demeanour there has always been a fair gap between these M cars and the top mainstream models. Not a company to leave a niche unexplored, BMW introduced the M Performance Automobile range to cater for those looking for some of the M car goodness in a more day-to-day useable package.
 
Enter the M135i, introduced in 2012 with a 316bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged straight six engine, and M fettled suspension, it straddled the space between the standard 1 Series offerings and the fully fledged M models. Keenly priced and with scintillating acceleration it was well equipped to take the fight to the very competitive small performance car sector. 
 
Since its inception the M135i has remained a performance bargain, with rear-wheel drive dynamics and that great engine it is still a unique package in a world of front-wheel drive four-cylinder alternatives.
 
Which one to buy?
 
Looks may be subjective but there is no denying the allure of a straight six engine allied to a well-balanced rear wheel drive chassis. While the M135i is well priced it is also relatively sparsely equipped as standard so with so much choice on the second hand market it is worth looking for one that has the extras you desire. 
 
The M135i was launched in three and five-door body styles with an option of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions. The majority of cars were specced with the ZF automatic gearbox, which is smooth in operation and improves fuel efficiency. The manual cars do offer that extra level of driver involvement however. 
 
The mid-life face lift introduced a small 6bhp power hike and a refreshed exterior with new head and tail light units. A totally revised infotainment system meant that satellite navigation became standard and a number of internet reliant services were available such as live traffic updates and music streaming. Notable extras to look for on used examples are the adaptive M sport suspension, cruise control and comfort access feature. Some European markets have the option of an xDrive M135i which offers added security in slippery conditions, although there are no plans to offer these models in the UK at present.
 
Driving enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that a limited slip differential was a dealer fitted optional extra for face lift models, although finding one of these cars especially in manual guise will be a challenge. Aftermarket diffs are available too.
 
Without quite having the polish of a ‘proper’ M car at the ragged edge, the M135i is still a well-balanced machine and more than dynamic enough for its less track-biased role. The added practicality of the five-door body style and the traffic friendly eight-speed auto make it a great choice for the family man, who can’t quite settle for a diesel estate just yet. Facelifted models don’t differ much dynamically from the earlier models, so the choice between the two comes down to how important the latest infotainment and tech systems are to your needs.
New BMWs are available with a Service Inclusive or Service Inclusive Plus plan, which cover basic servicing for the first five years or 50,000 miles, transferrable between owners.  the majority of second hand models would still fall under this plan if chosen when new.
 
Performance and specs
 
BMW M135i 
Engine 2979cc, 24-valve DOHC in-line six-cylinder 
Power 322bhp @ 5800-6000rpm 
Torque 332lb ft @ 1300-4500rpm
Top speed 155mph (Limited)
0-62mph 5.1 seconds 
Fuel consumption 35.3mpg 
Gearbox six-speed manual/eight-speed automatic
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2690mm
Length 4340mm
Width 1765mm
Height 1411mm
Weight 1505kg
 
Common problems

• The M135i has proved to be a reliable car and no recurring issues have been noted just yet. This may be due to its relatively young age, however the 1 Series platform is generally trouble free, so running costs should be very reasonable for a car with this level of performance.

• The turbocharged engine has proved to be a reliable unit and is used in a variety of applications throughout the BMW range. These engines can use oil though, and without a physical dipstick, keep an eye on the electronic readout for when top-ups are required. 

• Many tuning companies offer ECU ‘chipping’ with the promise of liberating lots of extra horsepower. Be wary of these, as warranties can be invalidated and the extra power can shorten engine component lifespans.

• Rear tyres tend to wear out rather quickly under enthusiastic driving however in general use few owners had any complaints other than a few buckled alloys from potholes. 

• The adaptive suspension option is highly recommended, as over rough road surfaces the standard setup tends not to absorb bumps very well making the car feel unsettled. Run-flat rubber exacerbates the problem so standard performance tyres can help in this regard. Just remember to carry some tyre sealant with you.
 
Model history
 
2012: M135i Introduced with 316bhp turbocharged inline six cylinder engine. Available in three and five-door body styles, with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
2015: Facelift carried out with new head and tail lights, now featuring LED lighting. It also got a 6bhp power hike and a small improvement in fuel consumption. Revamped infotainment and Internet connectivity options available, as well as the option of an LSD. 
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.bmwcarclubgb.uk
• www.bmw.co.uk
• www.babybmw.net - Forum for 1 and 2 series BMWs
 
Summary and prices
 
The earliest 2012 models start at £19,000, and mileages tend to be lower than average. While there is not a huge amount of choice compared to lesser models, most M135is have been well cared for. Pre-face lift cars from late 2014 are £25,000 and up which does not seem like a massive saving over the £32,000 of a new car, however once you factor in the value of the optional extras a realistic price for a modestly optioned eight-speed auto M135i is closer to £36,000. In light of this the pick of the bunch has to be one of the earlier models, as long as you’re not after the latest in-car tech. 
 
Undercutting its key rivals on price while offering a unique drivetrain package, the M135i is a very desirable combination of practicality and pace, with just enough of the BMW M car DNA sprinkled on top to make it an enjoyable B-road companion.
 
Words: John Tallodi
BMW M135i BMW M135i BMW M135i BMW M135i BMW M135i BMW M135i
Last updated: 18th Dec 2015
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BMW M135i
16990 23995 GBP
  • BMW M135i

    £16,990 £16,990

    • Mileage: 34348 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
    £16,990 £16,990
    Cuckfield Motor Company
  • BMW M135i Estoril Blue

    POA POA

    BMW M135i Estoril Blue for sale Black Dakota Hide Turned Aluinium Trim Heated Seats Multi Function Steering Wheel Cruise Control with Brake DAB Radio CD with Aux In & USB Bluetooth Telephone Adaptive M Sport Suspension Driver Comfort Package Xenon Headlights Rain Sensor with Auto Headlights Rear Parking Distance Control 18″ Anthracite Alloy Wheels Full BMW Service History. 2 Years left of 5 year service package

    • Year: 2013
    • Mileage: 14000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • BMW M135i

    £23,995 £23,995

    2 Keys, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Full Leather, Alarm, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Privacy Glass, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Folding Rear Seats, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Isofix, Child Locks, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Spoiler, Rear Wash/wipe, Auto-dip Rearview, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Push Button Start, CD Player, Radio, Aux point, DAB radio, Day Time Running Lights, usb, Alloy wheels

    • Mileage: 13063 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
    £23,995 £23,995
  • BMW M135i

    £17,995 £17,995

    Bluetooth, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Dual Climate Zones, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Xenon Headlamps, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Traction Control, Stability Control, ABS, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Metallic Paintwork, Front Fog Lamps, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Push Button Start, 18'' Alloys, Full service history VIEWING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY PLEASE. A quite remarkable car in excellent condition and full service history. Staggering performance from the straight six 3.0 litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine twinned with 8 speed automatic gearbox and steering paddles for manual driving. Fitted with in excess of £5,500 worth of options and accessories when new including BMW Professional Media Package, Sport Automatic 8 Speed, Rain sensing wiper, Carbon fibre mirror caps, subtle BMW front valence, rear spoiler and side skirts.Adjustable engine modes for either best performance or economy. One of very few cars to have over 300 bhp yet still be only £220 road tax - the best of both worlds! Please ask for any further questions you may have.

    • Mileage: 42000 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
    £17,995 £17,995