Hurricane Callum, flooded roads, and a 335 horsepower rear wheel drive hatchback. What could go wrong?
3.0 Litre Turbo Inline Six Cylinder
7 Speed Automatic Transmission
335 bhp @ 5500 rpm
450 Nm @ 1520 rpm
0-62mph 4.6 seconds
The M140i is the most fun that I have had in any hatchback on the road. The car has a character that empowers the driver to have fun whenever the opportunity. On the flip side it has a real mile muncher mentality, where it can sit on the M40 at 70mph for hours with comfort and all of the practicality that you would expect from an ordinary one series.
What's it like?
Rorty and loud, even in normal mode the whole car burbles along waiting for you to exploit the 2998cc six cylinder. The turbo is unobtrusive and it stock tune, most people would be hard pushed to detect that it had a turbo fitted at all!
The interior manages to feel like a much larger car. This is down to the seats, being supremely comfortable and offering enough support to go with this hot hatchs' performance. The Bavarian beast is positioned in the premium hatchback segment, and the one that I had on test had a few options (listed below). The shadow edition is intended to extend the one series mild facelift making the car look more 'dynamic'. I'm not 100% sure what dynamic means in this context, but i think it could be replaced with the word 'meaner'. The M140i Shadow edition looks meaner..
The BMW iDrive system is great and feels suitably complex for its age having been first launched in 2001. The jocky wheel has great functionality where you can twist it to scroll and also push it in to enter. There is also functionality that allows the user to type letters into the system via the top of the wheel. This is great if you are left handed, but seems a tad dangerous and becomes frustrating after a short period of time. Not my favourite. The screen is very high resolution, and bright enough to cut through reflections despite it being a glossy screen. Couple this with the optioned Harman Kardon sound system fitted, this hatchback can't be faulted for it's interior luxuries. There's a great mode on all BMW iDrive systems where you can split the screen between a satellite navigation system and audio controls.
List of options:
Optional 18" M light alloy Double-spoke style 719 M wheels,
Bi-colour Jet Black Darkened rear lights with LED light bars
Kidney grille frame, High-gloss Black with Black vertical slats
Exhaust tailpipes, Dark Chrome
LED headlights, with darkened surround
Sun protection glass
Loudspeaker system – harman/kardon
Driver and front passenger seat heating
Media pack professional
The balance between grip and slip in sport mode is to be commended. The engineers managed to nail the calibration that allows you to go fast whilst feeling the car move underneath you. Couple this with the rare combination of rear wheel drive and lightweight car, the formula has so much potential.
The boot is surprisingly spacious. I managed to get a 58cm road bike (front wheel removed) 5 shirts and a weekend bag in the car with little worry once the seats were folded down. The only downside is the actual boot opening is a smaller size than a Golf or A3 which means that loading the bike is a little trickier!
The steering wheel felt brilliant. I couldn't quite nail down what I liked so much about it, but as one of three points of contact that the driver has with the car, BMW have got it sorted. I think it was the chunky feeling coupled with the metal shift paddles and soft padding. I was slightly sad to see that it didn't have the coloured M Sport stitching, but this can be chosen as an option with the M Sport steering wheel.
The Engine Control Unit (ECU) spikes the inline 6 to 1600rpm when the start button is pressed and makes you feel a little naughty every time. Cold starts seem particularly loud and I do worry that the neighbours may get a little bored of it after a while!
The below image shows just how good the M140i looks from the rear in the dark. The 'Bi-colour Jet Black Darkened rear lights with LED light bars' make the car look much wider and therefore more substantial than the E81-E88 series.
Not The Best Bits
Efficient dynamics mode (I know, I had to try it!). This mode dulled down the car to a point where it felt broken. Throttle response is so limited that it just didn't feel right. Going from normal mode into eco mode is alarming, as you expect the throttle movement to have the same acceleration effect, but it doesn't! Pulling out from a surrey roundabout I found this a bit of a shock as the car crawled away instead of it's usual spritely acceleration.
Depreciation is hefty, and you can buy <10000K mile examples for £25K (£10K off list price!). Although this does mean that those who buy used will steal a bargain with their purchase!
A brilliant car with two incredible personalities. Please check my 440i write up for a comparison!