2017-Bmw 1 Series M140i-xDrive

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The hyper-hatch market is booming with inflated performance claims and extra competition, and knows it AWS. While takes the crown as the fastest out there, there isn’t really a more practical hatch that matches it like-for-like. 2017-Bmw 1 Series M140i-xDrive

This BMW M140i is the closest we’ll get to a full-fat M Division  but that doesn’t mean that it comes to the hot hatch party half-cocked.

We’ve tested the five-door M140i with the eight-speed sports Steptronic automatic ‘box here. 2017-Bmw 1 Series M140i-xDrive

 

So what’s under the bonnet of the new BMW M140i? 2017-Bmw 1 Series M140i-xDrive

Most small, fast cars come with cruise-missile-spec 2.0-litre turbocharged fours, but the M140i brings a nuke to the party: a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six is shoehorned under the long bonnet, producing 335bhp and a muscular 368lb ft of torque.

That’s the largest engine in any hot hatch currently on sale, trumping even the warbling on cylinder count. But BMW has forgotten the adage ‘It’s not your size, it’s what you do with it’ – the M140’s power output is trumped by both the RS3 and

Not that the M140 is a slow car. From from it. The 4.6sec 0-62mph time of this automatic gearbox-equipped version out-drags a and is only 0.1 seconds slower than an M2. 2017-Bmw 1 Series M140i-xDrive

This isn’t a numbers car, though – it’s more than that. The 3.0-litre straight six’s tenor-like noise alone can make your neck hairs stand on end, and revving it until the 7000rpm redline is hugely addictive. Despite turbocharging, its power delivery is surprisingly linear, and there’s a constant weighty shove that you don’t feel as prominently in a  say.

How is it from behind the wheel?

The car’s personality is controlled using four different modes: Eco Pro keeps everything quiet, forces the gearbox to shift as early as possible and even disengages the clutch as a coasting function; Comfort is resolutely normal – steering weight, suspension softness and engine noise is kept to an acceptable level; while Sport and Sport+ put things on a war footing at the racier end.

Sport mode can be engaged in three ways: the engine or the drivetrain can be in Sport only, or both can be engaged for the full experience. When the engine is in Sport, the exhaust noise is on maximum attack and the stop/start is switched off for speedier getaways. When the drivetrain is in Sport, the steering weight is heavier, the suspension firms up to an almost-unbearable-for-longer-than-five-minutes level and gearchanges are so sharp you might get whiplash. 2017-Bmw 1 Series M140i-xDrive

Sport+ turns the traction control off, allowing you to make full use of that rear-wheel drive configuration and is the mode you need if you wish to indulge in launch control.

No matter which mode you’re in, the steering is nicely weighted and sharp without being manic, allowing you to place the car exactly where you want and that rear-wheel drive layout allows you to be… creative about your cornering angles. Even so, bucketloads of grip are on hand from the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres fitted to our car, so it’ll never come unstuck without heavy-handed provocation. 2017-Bmw 1 Series M140i-xDrive

OPTIONS

– Abs
– Air Conditioning
– Airbag
– Alarm
– Central Locking
– Cruise Control
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