GRR

M135 BMW loses power, gains DCT gearbox

05th June 2024
Russell Campbell

BMW has updated the 1 Series range 2024, including the M135 xDrive range-topper with updated looks, a revised chassis, and the company's latest infotainment.

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The current M135 (the 'i' dropped to differentiate it from BMW's EVs) xDrive has forever lived in the shadows of its rear-wheel drive six-cylinder predecessor, which developed a cult-like status thanks to its electric performance, rear-wheel-drive chassis, and the ready-tunability of its creamy-smooth six-cylinder.

Could now be the time to draw a line under that car? BMW certainly hopes so. Like the rest of the 1 Series range, the M135 benefits from a more rigid body, new anti-roll-bar mounts, new dampers, and 2 per cent more caster on the front wheels, "ensuring particularly stable directional stability and optimised steering feedback". 

You also get a quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch DCT gearbox in place of the old eight-speed slusher, and, from autumn 2024, you can specify the M Technology package that adds lightweight 19-inch forged alloy wheels and M Compound brakes. 

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BMW is less keen to highlight that power drops from 310 to 304PS (224kW), resulting in 0-62mph taking a tenth-of-a-second longer at 4.9 seconds. Top speed remains limited to 155mph.

If the M135 isn't faster than its predecessor, it does at least look like it, thanks to four exhausts replacing the old car's twin-pipe setup. Up front, you get an M-specific grille with horizontal bars, and you'll find model-specific wing mirrors on the sides. 

The M135 gets BMW's latest System 9 infotainment system with vertically displayed icons and Quickselect, allowing direct access to functions without moving off the home screen. There are also fewer physical buttons, with controls for the ventilation system moving onto the touchscreen. The performance model is the only version with the uprated Harman Kardon stereo fitted as standard.

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The base-level 1 Series also gets revised looks with diagonal grille slats, the new infotainment system, and the revised drivetrain. However, it drops its manual gearbox – it has the same DCT as the M135 – and its diesel engine. 

As a result, it's only available in '120' guise with the 1.5-litre three-cylinder now getting 48V mild-hybrid technology; it's good for 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds, 140mph flat out. and fuel economy of up to 53mpg on the WLTP cycle.

The new 1 Series is on sale now with prices starting from £29,950, and first deliveries expected in autumn.

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