BMW M135i Concept: Bimmer Got Back

Illustration for article titled BMW M135i Concept: Bimmer Got Back

Ain't no fruit sweeter than a forbidden one. Just ask Eve. Fans in the United States get a plethora of BMW 1 Sseries products, including a convertible and the delightful 1M Coupe. They should be content, but then BMW drops this. It's the BMW M135i three-door hatch concept and the yearning begins yet again. Damn you, BMW!


Because it's still a "concept", BMW's content to skimp on the details — this despite everyone and their mother claiming it's a done deal. What we know is this is proof that someone, somewhere inside BMW thinks that taking the popular European hatchback version of the 1 Series and M-fying is a good idea. Probably the same person who still misses the "clownshoe" BMW M Coupe.

BMW starts with the 1 Series three-door hatch and adds a straight-six gasoline engine with a pair of turbos and power output pegged at 300 horsepower (no displacement info is given, but this sounds similar to the N54 3.0-liter). Then they throw in a mix of M-developed suspensions upgrades.

Next comes the M sports braking system and light 18-inch M alloys. To make it look M-ish there are giant intakes upfront and a darkly painted rear apron that screams DTM, to those who know what DTM is. Oh, and lots of swoopy tri-color M paint.

There are a lot of hints from BMW that indicate what we've been repeating from other, more BMW-centric outlets — this is more than just a space filler at next month's Geneva Motor Show.

Here's a key bit from the press release:

Thanks to a distinctively sports-oriented appearance, the BMW Concept M135i offers attractive prospects for the further development of the BMW 1 Series model range. At the same time, a clear signal has been given for the expansion of the new product category of BMW M Performance automobiles.


Unfortunately, nowhere in the press release do I see the worlds "Baseball," "Jesus," "Willie Nelson," or "extra-wide seats" so this little peach is probably just too high on the tree for us Americans to reach. Although I hope I'm wrong.



Looking at it and the prospective specifications, I still can't justifying getting it instead of a Subaru WRX STI. Disregarding the lower output for more cylinders and the lessened practicality compared to the Subie, the biggest issue for me is the way it looks. Sure, it's a great ideal and I love the concept, as it is something that BMW has been needing for quite some time, but something about it is just a It's as though there's such a thing as the uncanny valley with cars.

First, the proportions are just not quite right. It seems a little...awkward. Gangly and unbalanced. I blame the rake of the hip line and rear windows. Pinching the rear windows like is so popular these days causes the front of the passenger compartment to look bulbous, as though the car has Down's Syndrome. The down-turned, lazy headlights do nothing to help this association, either.

This, coupled with the overly flat angle of the hood creates a discordant angle between the hood, windshield, and a-pillars that somehow manages to look both clumsy and sporty at the same time. The stilted ride height exacerbates this issue. Instead of looking planted and confident, it instead gives the image of a bulldog lifting itself up on its tiptoes. As for the rear end, I'm not sure if it's the lopsided stance or the actual proportions, but it looks like the entire car is being weighed down by its over-sized hindquarters, almost as if it's carrying too much 'junk in [it's] trunk'. It doesn't help that the ride height already causes the car to looks like an attempt at making a mini-crossover, a-la the Countryman, instead of a proper 2-door hatch or shooting brake.

Really, the crux of the issue is the angle of the car. I think everything could be fixed my lowering the ride height. Not evenly either, mind you. That would just make it look less like a wannabe crossover. No, in order to fix the awkward angles, the awkward stance, and the appearance of a bulbous forward cabin section, the front of the car needs to be set lower than the rear in terms of ride height. Seriously; just pivot the rest of the car counter-clockwise around the rear wheels for just a couple degrees and then lower the entire car's ride height by maybe a scaled inch or so. This would help it appear more eager, more agile, and more athletic, as well as making it look more aerodynamic, which is always important for the styling of a performance car.

Either way, something needs to be done about it, because as it stands right now, it's sort of like Rihanna: God-damn is that body nice, but I just can't get over the size of that forehead!