2022 BMW M135i Shows off Sao Paulo Yellow, Does Autobahn Acceleration Run

Some five years ago, Autocar magazine was talking about a new M140i hot hatch from BMW. It was supposed to have an electric motor in addition to the 2.0-liter turbo already fitted to the M135i. However, that never materialized, so this 302 horsepower model is about as good as it gets.

BMW doesn’t sell the 1 Series hatchback in America, but the model has been in production since 2004. The first two generations were based on a RWD platform, the same as the 3 Series. And while this wasn’t practical for a grocery-getter, it was great for a performance vehicle.

The first-gen made about 260 horsepower in the 130i configuration, while the Mk2 really stepped things up with the 3-liter turbo setup. Until it was discontinued in 2019, the M140i made 335 hp, the same as a 2020 Supra, plus it came with xDrive (an option). But I don’t consider these two models to be hot hatchbacks. They were hot and they were hatchbacks, but they drove more like a GT car.

2019 marked the controversial switch to FWD for the 1 Series. The one major upside was that BMW could build a hot hatch in the same segment as the Golf R. The M135i is fitted with a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo engine and standard xDrive.

The 2022 BMW M135i is a mildly upgraded model, featuring some minor cosmetic changes. The engine is the same, but a new, attention-grabbing color has been added, one which is fitting for BMW’s one and only hot hatch. It’s called Sao Paulo Yellow and you may already know it from the M3 and M4. A number of body elements are painted gloss black for contrast, such as the air intakes, mirrors or window trim.

On paper, the powertrain is the same. As a reminder, the 2.0L turbo in this car is rated at 302 hp and 332 lb-ft (450 Nm) of torque. However, one of the most popular German car YouTubers, Automann-TV, was at the launch events and noticed many changes. He reports that the gear changes are crisper, the engine response has improved and there’s more exhaust in the cabin thanks to the Active Sound system. To test it out, the M135i was taken to the legendary road network that some Golf GTIs are named after, the Autobahn.



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