BMW appears to be returning to a more traditional naming convention for its cars with the announcement of its M135i concept. This follows previous European models such as the M535i and M635csi, replacing the clumsy 1 Series M Coupe adopted for the recent limited-edition M-tuned 135i.
This new car has been chosen to wave the flag for the new range of BMW M Performance automobiles, which will be unveiled at this year's Geneva International Auto Show in March.
The M135i Concept is based on the European three-door hatchback model currently unavailable in the US. It uses the straight six-cylinder 3.0L turbo gasoline engine from the 135i Coupe, seen for the first time in the hatchback version.
It appears the concept will make do with the Coupe’s stock 300hp, rather than getting the engine mods from the 1M Coupe. However, it does get re-tuned suspension, as well as an M braking system. The 18” M wheels have a double-spoke design but look a little like flowers, in our opinion.
Exterior enhancements include a new front spoiler with large air intakes to cool the turbo motor, large brakes and to house the intercooler.
The rear-end is supplemented by a more sculpted lower panel that’s finished in Dark Shadow metallic, while the tailpipes are in dark chrome.
The mirror caps are Ferric Grey and the window trim is seen in High Gloss Shadow Line – both are characteristics of the new M Performance line.
There are also sculpted side skirts no the car as well as distinctive M tricolor stripes that run the length of the car and appear on the tailgate.
With its distinctively sporty appearance, the BMW M135i Concept clearly points to a performance version of the 1 Series hatchback in Europe, although US officials have always maintained this model would never be sold in the US. But we’ll have to see whether the M135i’s combination of high performance and practicality can tip the balance in favor of US motorists.