When a conversation about circa-£30,000 hot hatches comes up, the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, Ford Focus RS and the new Hyundai I30 N tend to dominate proceedings. But there’s one contender that’s often forgotten, and it does things rather differently. We’re talking about the BMW M140i.
It has more cylinders than all its rivals. It sends its power exclusively to the rear wheels. And it’s also available with some bonkers discounts in the UK, making it potentially a lot cheaper too. Sounds like there must be a catch, right? Sadly there is - this inline-six-powered, RWD little beasty will soon be replaced with a all-wheel drive car packing an inline-four.
This is something we’ve known for a while. The whole 1-series range is set to be based on a development of the transverse UKL architecture that underpins the 2-series Active Tourer and various Mini models, and that’ll inevitably mean the fastest next-gen 1-series will be all-wheel drive rather than rear. Now though, we have some new details about the 1er range-topper.
Autocar reports that the M Performance version will be dubbed ‘M130iX’. The ‘iX’ suffix is a nod to the AWD versions of the E30 3-series and E34 5-series, and here it’s referring to BMW’s multi-plate clutch ‘Xdrive’ system.
It’ll be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four, kicking out around 300bhp. The car will be going toe-to-toe with rivals like the Audi S3 and Mercedes-AMG’s new ‘A35’ hot hatch.
Struggling to come to terms with the idea of an all-wheel drive M Performance machine? Seek solace in the fact that the next 2-series will still be rear-driven. The coupe is expected to use a short version of BMW’s CLAR (cluster architecture) platform, so yes, that means the next M240i and the full-fat M2 will still send power rearwards.