BLOG 2019


Barretts BMW loaned me the new 135i demonstrator, a hot hatch that is now all wheel drive and front wheel drive, a departure from the previous model that had a characterful 3 litre 6 cylinder engine and rear wheel drive...
To see how the new model has changed a friend, Liam brought along his previous generation 140i, the group photography session will be used in a future edition of BMW Car magazine. The big change alongside the drive system and four pot engine is the look of the car, now only available in 5 door and looking like a smaller compact SUV to my eyes. The car doesn’t look as rounded as the previous model, but the quality of the materials and overall build is an improvement.

The new model has a subtle body kit, 18" forged alloy wheels and the interior has high backed seats, and the BMW tricolour branding on the seatbelts. As usual the steering wheel is a thick rimmed leather M branded design, one thing I’ve always felt that they have never got quiet right. I had a 235i with the alcantara steering wheel which was slimmer and felt a lot more positive in terms of driving.

We used two locations for the photo shoot, Kent’s favourite coffee shop the Independent Pedaler In Bridge, and some country lanes around the back of St Nicholas at Wade, just outside of Canterbury. Both cars love B roads and after speaking to Liam on a spirited drive between the two locations the rear wheel drive of the 140i provided one or two lairier moments, the 135 in comparison held the ground well, although with it being front wheel drive the majority of the time I did feel some torque steer.

The new 135i sees itself up against the Mercedes A35 AMG, Audi S3 and Golf R, priced with some spec you’ll be ,looking around mid £40k which is where the other German brands sit, the Golf R is due a new model the latter part of next year and came in under £40k with spec so the one to beat in mark 8 guise. I’m not overly taken on the new design on the exterior, but the previous model was never a great looking car, it just had that lovely 6 cylinder engine that had a burble and thrust that put it up there as one of the purists best hot hatches around. At this time of the year with early morning frost, damo roads and rain most of the time the 135 X drive is probably all the car you’ll ever need, roomy in the back and an upmarket interior that is refined and intuitive to use with the I drive controller and touch screen interaction.

I only had the car for a few hours and I think that it’s one of those cars that the more you drive it the more you’ll get used to it, if you haven’t owned the previous mode then you’ll love this car as it ticks every other box, and as it’s BMW it will last you forever.