Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
2 minute read
9 Apr 2014
7:00 pm

BMW M135i ends off on a flyer

Mark Jones

Unfortunately, my time with the ever-impressive BMW M135i has come to an end.

The past few months have flown by without a single rattle or squeak to report on. But is there any downside to the M135i?

Maybe, but this would depend on how you like your motoring to be delivered. The car I had was a three door model; I personally would have opted for a five door, as I have two kids and would have preferred the extra versatility.

And then there was the gearbox. Again, I might have opted for the class-leading eight-speed auto option but the six-speed manual unit did the job I required of it – and that was to get around anything twisty in a hurry and normally at the front the pack.

Either way, as a potential owner you can opt for what you want and chose exactly how you like your M135i configured. And on both fronts my M135i offered the best money could buy.

The car came with R120 000 worth of extras and that is a bit extreme, but this car was specced to showcase all that BMW has to offer from luxury like electrical adjustable seats to the likes of adaptive headlights, navigation, Internet, to apps and even high performance Michelin non run flat tyres, to name just some of the class-leading technology onboard.

BMW M135i 42

And staying with the high performance stuff, the car could transform from comfortable executive family type transport into quite a little track monster. And to back this up I won a few gymkhana events with the BMW Car Club Gauteng. But the big test would be putting the car against the mighty BMW 1 Series M Coupe on a track, like I said in my previous update.

I went out first in the newer M135i and recorded a time of 2.05.221 seconds on a greasy, cold Kyalami race track. The levels of grip and precision were higher than I expected for a car that does not run a proper mechanical BMW M diff at the rear.

I changed straight away into the 1M and immediately the car felt stiffer and twitchier on the track. This made for a rear end that constantly communicated with the driver while allowing that extra grip out the corner.

BMW M135i 43

The harder set-up of the 1M meant that you had to be awake and not just stomp on the throttle on corner exit. The wheels easily would spin and cost you precious time. The slightly softer M135i was more forgiving in this regard and was the easier of the two cars to get around the track.

That all said, the extra bite of the bigger, wider rubbered and M diff equipped car meant I could get around Kyalami in a time of 2.04.696 seconds. Faster than the M135i, but not by much – and this just shows how far the new generation 1 Series has moved on from the previous car.