BMW M135i vs M140i - Which one should you pick?

Posted 15th September 2022

BMW M135I VS M140I

BMW M135i Vs M140i Mobile

The latest generations of both the BMW M135i and BMW M140i are undeniably very different cars. The M135i is now the only M performance model of the 1 Series that can be purchased from new. BMW’s most radical version of the 1 Series ever released was the M140i, which ceased production in 2019. 

We’re lucky enough to have both models in stock here at Dick Lovett BMW. Both the M135i and M140i are incredible, but which one should you pick if you're in the market for a new car?

F40 M135i (2019-Present)

The current generation of the BMW 1 Series, which includes the M135i, is known as the F40 or 3rd generation and was first released in 2019. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0l inline-four engine, the M135i produces 306 bhp and 332 lb-ft (450Nm) of torque through BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. That means you can expect impressive performance no matter the weather - a very nice trait to have in the UK. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about 0-62 mph times, you can expect to achieve this in around 4.8 seconds.

BMW M135i Front

Available in 5-door only, this hatchback sports an entirely different design to that of the previous generation M140i. With a more aggressive factory-look, the M135i definitely stands out. To further enhance this, BMW individual colour options as well as M Performance Parts are available to add an extra touch of flair.

F20/21 M140i (2011 - 2019)

The F20 (5-door) and F21 (3-door) variants were the last of the M140i life cycle. We really hope it’ll one day return but for now we’ll continue to admire just how unique this car is. There are a few big reasons why the M140i has gained such a huge following, particularly in the UK car scene. It’s simply outrageous - in a good way of course.

BMW M140i Front

Under the bonnet sits BMW’s famous B58 3.0l engine, an engine present in many M Performance vehicles as well as the MK5 Toyota Supra. In the M140i, the B58 produces 340bhp and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) through the rear wheels only. Yes, you heard that right. Although an xDrive version of the M140i was produced, it never came to the UK.

Where the new M135i is only available with an automatic transmission, the M140i offers both automatic and manual options. As expected, opting for an automatic will provide snappier shifts, improved fuel economy, and you won’t have to worry about changing gear, of course. The manual alternative provides us, enthusiasts, the opportunity to continue to complete that motion ourselves.

Now, let's go through the key differences between the M135i and M140i.

Performance Comparison

It goes without saying that both cars are quick. The 300+bhp figures possessed by both are perfect for UK roads. In the right conditions the M140i will just about beat the M135i to 60 mph, but with only milliseconds in it.

However, that's the key difference between the two. While the M140i outputs 100% of its power through the rear wheels, the M135i is outfitted with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Unlike many other BMW cars with xDrive, the M135i is actually front-wheel biased. This means that on most occasions, power will be outputted through the front wheels as opposed to the rear. Despite this, when the car senses that more power is required at the rear, it will be redirected accordingly. This is done to assist the car’s launch capabilities as well as to improve the traction of the rear wheels when required.

xDrive will improve traction levels when in wet and other adverse conditions - an improvement over the M140i in this respect.

BMW M135i Wheel

BMW M140i Wheel

Although most buyers won’t prioritise running costs and miles per gallon (MPG) when purchasing this type of vehicle, both are among the most efficient in the hot-hatch category - when driven in an economical fashion, of course. Both cars offer similar combined miles per gallon figures, that being just below 40mpg. The manual version of the M140i is slightly less efficient at around 36mpg.

Sound

For many petrolheads who aren’t yet considering a move to the world of electric vehicles, sound is still a large part of the driving experience. You’ll be pleased to know that both cars produce a satisfying engine note. The M135i and M140i also come equipped with valved exhaust systems, giving you the freedom to be as sensible or as rowdy as you wish.

BMW M135i Rear

BMW M140i Rear

Tip - for those who love an exhaust that pops and bangs, look out for an M135i registered in 2019. The exhaust systems on these cars are less filtered than those fitted to cars built in 2020 and beyond.

Options

As with most BMWs, there is a wide selection of option packs available that will further enhance different aspects of the driving experience. For the M135i, the following packages are available:   

  • M135i Pro Pack - 19" 557 M Bi-colour Alloy Wheels, Sun Protection Glass and Harman Kardon Surround Sound Audio System
  • Comfort Pack - Heated Steering Wheel, Electric Bootlid, Comfort Access and Electric Memory Seats
  • Technology Pack - Adaptive LED Headlights, High-Beam Assistant, Parking Assistant, Head-Up Display, Enhanced Bluetooth with Wireless Charging and WiFi hotspot

Options can also be specified individually outside of their packs (when bought new).

M135i Interior

Due to it being an older generation BMW 1 Series, the M140i doesn’t compare too favourably in the tech department. However, you can still expect to find a satisfying level of helpful equipment on board. When buying used, you’ll have to pay close attention to what options are on the car, as depending on what year the car was built, some features may have been optional rather than standard. Here are our top picks:

  • M Performance Limited Slip Differential (LSD) - this is essential for those who want to truly optimise the car’s performance. This mechanical rear axle differential ensures that should low traction be detected at one of the rear wheels, then more torque will be directed to the appropriate wheel to reduce slip, and in turn, improve traction
  • Harman Kardon Sound System - for those who love to pump out some great tunes, the Harmon Kardon sound system upgrade is a must! 
  • Pro Navigation - this optional feature focuses on upgrading the iDrive infotainment system - a larger 8.8 inch display, as well as extra features such as split-screen capability, accompany the upgraded navigation system

M140i Interior

M140i Shadow Edition - it’s important to consider this special edition version of the M140i when looking for your next car. This version has some unique exterior styling changes as well as improved standard equipment that would have been optional extras on the normal version of the car.                                

Price

At the time of writing this article, a new BMW M135i will set you back £39,825. Naturally, used M135i prices will depend largely on the mileage as well as the specification of the vehicle.

The used car market for the BMW M140i is rather diverse. As the car had been produced from 2011 - 2019, there’s been a considerable number of alterations across the years - most notably a significant design change in 2015. There have also been more subtle changes since then, this includes upgrades to the interior and other equipment onboard.

We highly recommend going for one of the later-built cars. These cars will not only have the latest design features but also a greater number of standard features and optional extras.

Verdict

Both cars are a true joy to drive and offer fantastic performance as well as practicality. The M135i is certainly easier to live with and we’d definitely recommend it to those who wish to use it as a daily driver. The interior design and technology aboard is a significant step up from that of the M140i, especially on vehicles with option packages fitted.

BMW M140i and BMW M135i

Those with a family to think of will also benefit from the additional legroom and increased boot space. As well as this, the incredible levels of grip provided by the xDrive system really inspires confidence. The car is incredibly well-refined. Whether you wish to comfortably cruise around or experience its true performance potential, it can all be done using BMW’s fantastic customisable driving modes. 

The M140i offers a thrilling driving experience and will be adored by those who love a rear-wheel-drive drivetrain. The larger, six-cylinder engine and additional power is certainly noticeable, especially in the mid to high rev range. The M140i edges the M135i in the fun-factor department and will also be a great option for those who like to drive on track from time to time. There is also more room for modification - should that be your cup of tea. While less of an all-rounder than the M135i, if you’re looking for one of the most ambitious hot-hatches of all time, this is your car.

Now it’s over to you. If you’re still unsure about which car is best for you, why not book a test drive to find out? You can also browse our current stock of both vehicles below.

Book a test drive

 View Used M135i for sale  View Used M140i for sale

For more information, please contact Dick Lovett BMW:

Bristol - 01173 216 725

Hungerford - 01488 853 606

Melksham - 01225 562 706

Swindon - 01793 393 757

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