BMW puts a lot of stock into its 1 Series motor cars. As its entry level line, the 1 Series was meant to both eradicate the memory of the failed BMW Compact and to lead first-time BMW owners toward more prestigious performance models, such as the M class. The BMW Concept M135i, which is slated to be put before the public at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show on March 7, 2012, is BMW's latest attempt to create a hot hatchback that combines and expands on both the 1 Series and the M lines.
A three-door compact, the M135i is unique in its vehicle class in that it is rear-wheel drive. It's also the first BMW M Performance car to feature a straight-six turbo-charged petrol engine producing 300 bhp. Like all BMW M Performance cars, this engine was specially designed for the M135i. It also has modified suspension technology, improved aerodynamic characteristics, an M sports braking system and 18-inch light alloy wheels with a double-spoke design.
But the centerpiece of the M135i is its design, which BMW describes as "emotional". Its stretched, low-slung appearance and wide doors tries to infuse a hot hatchback with the characteristics of an M-class car. Its front apron finished in Dark Shadow metallic deliberately draws attention to the M135i's width and the large intakes to cool the engine and brakes stand out with their three-dimensional flaps.
Dark chrome trim is also used on the rear apron that holds the M135i's dual tailpipes and the side mirrors are trimmed in Ferric Gray. Even the rear side panels have been designed to show off the flaring wheel arches.
The M135i certainly looks aggressive in a way one normally doesn't associate with three-door compacts. It's not quite the hot hatchback equivalent of their traditional M-class, but it does strive to look the part. Every line implies that this is a hatchback that could, theoretically, go like stink. It's emphasis on size and power shows that BMW is trying to redefine that "entry level" is.
Information from BMW is lacking on the details of the technical specifications of the M135i and its performance is still very much a mystery, but hopefully more will be revealed in Geneva.