But hey, at least it’s a looker!
Photos of what appears to be BMW’s new flagship compact, the M135i, have snuck their way onto the internet for all to see, well ahead of its official debut later this year. What’s interesting is that the leaked images are of the car in storage, and what appear to be a near-finished production prototype of sorts, rather than a heavily-disguised and very-camouflaged example.
Replete in what looks like Estoril Blue and in full M-Sport guise, the M135i certainly looks a treat. The face features engorged nostrils (as usual) flanked by slim headlights on either side, finished in a satin-grey hue that’ll likely be the reserve of this model. The bumper is also an incredibly-aggressive unit with huge air intakes on either edge which, to us, appear to be functional.
The next photo (oh yes, there’s two) shows us the rear end which naturally has a pair of wide, L-shaped taillights. Beneath those sit air-breathers at the furthest corner of the bumpers which, in contrast to the front bumper, do not appear functional at all (though we could be wrong). Between them sit a darkened lower-section which houses a diffuser and a couple of tailpipes. We hope this thing sounds rorty.
It’s common knowledge now that the new 1-Series will be based on BMW’s FAAR architecture, meaning front-wheel drive with a transversely-mounted engine. However, you can see on these photos from Bimmerfile an xDrive badge affixed to this blue example, which means that the M135i will employ a fit-for-purpose all-paw system to fully harness the power of the 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo mill, and perhaps give it a more rear-biased feel than what it would otherwise be endowed with.
The engine should be shared with the X2 M35i, which means outputs of 225kW and 450Nm, with power going through an 8-speed automatic. The M135i should also benefit from the ARB traction control system that debuted on the i3S, which allows the traction control system to intervene more accurately (some 10-times faster than traditional setups) thanks to its controller being mounted directly on the engine. As such, the ARB can be manipulated to work better with the BMW Performance Control, allowing the M135i to be more of a driver’s car than the outgoing 6-cylinder M140i.
What’s clear is that while rear-wheel drive is dead for the 1-Series, it might not be the end of the line for driving joy and utter hoonery. Be sure to stay tuned to CarShowroom as we bring you more updates as they come.