BMW Concept M135i at 2012 Geneva motor show

Published: 05 March 2012

This is the BMW Concept M135i, which will be revealed at the 2012 Geneva motor show, and it previews a future hot 300bhp-plus 1-series.

So what is the BMW Concept M135i?

It’s a glimpse at a future BMW M Performance automobile. M Performance? It’s BMW M Division’s new sub-brand, to sit above the M Sport kits that adorn most 520ds but below its full-on M-cars. The first M Performance models have been X5, X6 and 5-series models fitted with a complex triple-turbocharged straight six diesel engine, but this is the first petrol-powered vehicle. And knowing the history of BMW show cars prefixed with the ‘Concept’ tag, the hot 1-series you see before you will make production very soon. BMW says this ‘pre-series concept car offers a fascinating outlook on a corresponding offer in the premium compact segment’.

Anyway, the BMW Concept M135i. It’s our first look at the new three-door bodystyle of the 1-series, but more importantly it’s the most performance-focused version of the latest One. The 135i tag signifies a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine with over 300bhp, of course it's rear-wheel drive (though we hear rumours of a four-wheel drive variant for left-hand drive markets), and BMW says the suspension has been ‘meticulously modified’.

Blue-painted brake calipers (in line with those fitted to the latest M5 and M6) are a move to help differentiate M Division’s hotter models from lesser BMWs, and clamp discs that are part of an M sports braking system. The wheels are 18in alloys, shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, and there’s a full bodykit upgrade too, from bumpers, to dark chrome-trimmed exhausts pipes, mirror caps in Ferric Grey and side window surrounds in gloss black, the latter two both trademark features of BMW M Performance automobiles. The less said about the tricolor stripes the better though. 

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By Ben Pulman

Contributor, former road test ed of this parish, tallboy