BMW's New 1 Series Is Pure Hot Hatch Forbidden Fruit

2025 bmw m135i xdrive
BMW's New 1 Series Is the Sweetest Forbidden FruitBMW

For a few sweet years, North American BMW enthusiasts were granted direct access to the first generation of 1 Series. Marketed as the Bavarian brand's most compact and affordable models, performance-oriented versions of the rear-wheel-drive 1 Series rapidly
earned the approval of U.S. gearheads, with the models even being characterized as the beloved E30-generation 3 Series reincarnated.

However, while it was dropped from the U.S. market last decade, the entry-level BMW continued to be sold in Europe, eventually moving to a front-wheel-drive platform for its third generation back in 2019. (We did see a version of this in the States as the little-loved 2 Series Gran Coupe.) Five years on — i.e. now — BMW is launch the fourth generation of 1 Series, and a new AWD performance version of the compact hatchback is drawing the attention of car lovers.

2025 bmw m135i xdrive

Known as the BMW M135 xDrive — note the use of BMW's new naming convention that leaves out the "i" after the numbers — this performance-oriented version of the 1 Series is the closest we'll likely ever get to a hot hatch from the Bavarians. Powered by a B48 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four, the M135 xDrive makes up to 317 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, fed to all four wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Featuring BMW's xDrive AWD system and a mechanical locking differential at the front axle, the M135 has the capability to funnel power from the front wheels to the rear through a hang-on clutch and driveshaft.


Fitted with adaptive shock absorbers, lowering springs, and extra rigid anti-roll bar mounts, the M135 xDrive is built for the kind of tight, hairpin-full roads that traverse across the Alps. 18-inch wheels are standard fare for the M135, though a heavy-duty compound brake pad package known as the M Compound brake system is a pay-to-play option. Four-piston calipers are fitted from the factory upfront while a single-piston, floating caliper balances out the rear end. Other notable options include a 19-inch, alloy forged set of wheels, track tires, and M Sport seats trimmed in Alcantara.

2025 bmw m135i xdrive

Beyond the performance-oriented build of the M135, BMW has made some structural changes to the 1 Series for its fourth generation. This includes a 20-percent increase in front-end caster, a new support system for the engine mounts, and the inclusion of stroke-dependent additional damping at the front axle. In short, this system allows for a smoother ride by integrating an extra sleeve on the shock absorber, in turn providing additional suspension stroke to absorb bigger bumps.

BMW has yet to provide pricing details or a production timeline for the new 1-Series, though it's important to note that we will not get this model in the North American market. Produced in Leipzig, the BMW 1 Series will compete with the likes of Volkswagen's Golf, the Audi A3 / S3 lineup, and Mercedes-Benz's A-Class models across the Pond.

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