BMW reveals menacing M135i three-doorComment on this story
BMW has unleashed the three-door version of its 1 Series in production form, but the real news here is that along with the loss of two doors, the range has gained a menacing performance model.
As you'd expect after reading its badge, the M135i (due in SA this September) is hurried along by BMW's TwinPower turbocharged 3-litre straight-six petrol mill but in this form it's been tuned up to 235kW at 5800rpm and 450Nm from 1300rpm.
Expect to screech from 0-100km/h in just 5.1 seconds in manual form and 4.9 seconds when it's mated to BMW's eight-speed automatic gearbox.
As the first petrol-powered product from BMW's M Performance division, which slots beneath the traditional M division, the M135i receives beefed up suspension and some bespoke body and interior styling features. And if the three-door shell is not practical enough, you can also have this hot hatch contender in five-door form.
The topped-and-tailed engine range also includes a new entry-level version of BMW's 1.6-litre four-pot motor.
In another case of badge not matching engine size, this 1600 wears a 114i badge and its engine has been detuned to 75kW and 180Nm, which is still good enough to get it from zero to 100km/h in 11.2 seconds, says BMW.
While the South African line-up for September has yet to be confirmed, Europe receives a wide range of engines, including the 100kW 1.6 turbo 116i and 160kW 2-litre turbo 125i on the petrol front and three diesels in the form of the 85kW 116d, 135kW 120d and 160kW 125d.
There's nothing radical on the design front besides the longer doors and frameless door windows. Buyers can opt for the familiar range of design themes comprising of Urban Line, Sport Line and the M Sport package.
Inside it offers up to 1200 litres worth of luggage space (360 litres with the rear seats in up) and a 40:20:40 split folding seat is optional.
Of course, it emulates the five-door by offering a wide range of driver assistance and mobility features, including lane departure warning, rear view camera, adaptive headlights, speed limit info, real-time traffic info and internet access.