2018 BMW M140i performance manual Video Review
The BMW M140iis a handsome hot hatch for those looking for something just a bit different.
It is pricey, but with that outstanding price comes outstanding performance. The 8 speed auto gets to 100 in just 4.6 seconds, but this is the manual, and it is better just because.
It is getting harder to find thrilling drives under $60k, but this certainly fits the bill.
BMW nomenclatures see odd numbered models with 4 or 5 doors, and even numbers with 2 doors. That is of course if you don’t count the gran Coupes.
The M upgrades are not to be confused with M models such as the urgent M3, and fiery M5.
The M140i is BMW’s budget buster. It is for the well-heeled who don’t fancy themselves in a Focus RS or Subaru STI, as if the latter could be considered inferior in any way. Sometimes, the badge matters more than anything else.
The black-on-black-with-just-a-touch-of-black exterior exudes power and presence.
A front end is dominated by the kidney grille which sits between quad angel-eye headlights. The Adaptive LED headlights have High-Beam Assist, and look so distinctive that no one will mistake a BMW for any other brand.
The pert rump continues the strong belt-line which starts just behind the front wheel arch. Massive LED tail lights take up much of the real estate from behind. The C pillar manages a strong angle thanks to the rear doors and rear hatch sweeping lines.
A small car by any standards, the 1 Series makes parking a snip. Short doors give easy access in car parks dominated by careless SUV owners who insist on using several spots at once.
Head and tail lights also feature highly in side profile adding light and safety where it is needed.
18” wheels, also in black, finish off a slightly menacing look. It makes the stance even more impressive especially for such a diminutive 5 door hatch. There is a muscular look that is subtle at the same time.
Don’t let the key holes in the black door handles fool you, the M140i has smart entry/start and will never see any use beyond a fob with flat batteries. Locking is by touching the ribbed pad on the upper handle surface. Unlocking the car means touching the inner surface of the handle, then pulling gently on the door.
The cabin feels premium for sure, but it is not in the same league as her posher siblings.
At first glance, the controls appear deceptively simple because much of the function is subsumed by a combination of a high-resolution LCD tablet, and the I-Drive controller between the front seats. Most menus are best tackled while parked.
Using the touch screen is by far the easiest method of manipulating the system. The latest BMW environment has largely done away with the need for an I-Drive controller. For some reason BMW persists with the system which first appeared in the unlovable Bangle-Bustle 7 series. I can’t help but feel its days are numbered.
The one drawback of a touch screen is finger marks which ruin the pristine images.
Face level air vents continue BMW’s centre temperature control scroll. I’ve never been able to understand why it is there, even in the ones I’ve owned myself. I doubt anyone ever uses it. Be gone with it!
An asymmetric centre console houses the High Alter containing the manual gear lever and drive mode control switch. The I-drive controller rounds out a deliciously effective layout.
- Park distance control
- Adaptive M suspension
- Harmon/Kardon audio
- Manual transmission (NCO)
- Adaptive LED headlights with auto high-beam
- Variable sport steering (electric)
- Aluminium Hexagon trim
- 18” M black allow wheels
- M adaptive drive mode
- M Aerodynamics package
- Superb handling
- Spritely performance
- Rev matched manual
Not So Good Bits
- Some controls not easily reached
- CarPlay not standard
- Tight rear seats and cargo hold