The BMW M140i is a small hot hatch that packs a big punch from its turbocharged 3.0-litre engine. It’s certainly fast, but its back seats are pretty cramped and lots of features cost extra
The BMW M140i is a high-performance hot hatch with a turbocharged 3.0-litre engine and a well-built interior. It doesn’t look quite as extreme as the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, but it’s easier to live with every day and quite a bit faster, too.
Inside, you’ll find the BMW M140i’s cabin looks just as sober as its rather subdued exterior. The standard blue highlights and subtle leather-trimmed sports seats don’t have quite the same pizzazz as the carbon fibre trim and bright-red bucket-seats you get in the Honda, but everything feels a bit more solid.
There’s a decent amount of equipment in the BMW M140i’s interior, too. You get a 6.5-inch infotainment display with built-in sat nav as standard, and – unlike the standard 1 Series – all models come with dual-zone air-conditioning and extended mood lighting as standard.
Identical to the standard 1 Series, however, is how much passenger space you get in the BMW M140i. Tall drivers will have no trouble getting comfortable, but space in the back for six-foot-tall passengers is rather tight. Five-door versions are much easier to live with if you regularly carry adults in the back, but there’s a tall lump in the rear floor that gets in the way of your middle passenger’s feet.
So, the BMW M140i isn’t the most practical car when it comes to carrying passengers, but at least it comes with a bigger boot than the likes of the Audi S3 and Ford Focus RS. There’s space for a few suitcases in the back with the rear seats in place and enough room for a bike with them folded flat. Unfortunately, there’s quite a large lip that makes loading very heavy luggage quite tricky.
The BMW M140i looks so similar to the standard 1 Series that you’d never guess there was a 340hp six-cylinder engine hiding under its bonnet
Chances are, you probably won’t be filling the BMW M140i’s boot to the brim very often. More likely, you’ll be spending your weekends barrelling from one country road to another – something the BMW M140i does very well. Its turbocharged six-cylinder engine produces enough power to sprint the BMW M140i from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds, despite not having a grippy four-wheel-drive system like Audi S3.
Sure, driving the BMW M140i might not feel quite as involving as the likes of the Honda Civic Type R – especially if you go for the slightly notchy manual gearbox – but with the optional adaptive suspension fitted it’s a much more usable performance car. It’s easy to drive, fairly comfortable and even pretty relaxing to cruise in for long periods – providing you’re happy to pay extra for adjustable lumbar support.
Around town, you’d hardly notice the difference between the rapid M140i model and the standard BMW 1 Series. The light steering means it’s just as easy to manoeuvre, and the equally poor rear visibility will give you just as big a headache when you’re trying to squeeze into a particularly narrow parking space.
Thankfully, you do get parking sensors as standard, but you’ll have to fork out for plenty of active safety kit that comes as standard on some alternatives. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, for example, is an optional extra, and adaptive cruise control only comes as standard in top-spec cars.
If you don’t mind paying a little extra for a few desirable features, the BMW M140i makes a very good hot hatch that’s good fun to drive yet still sensible enough to use every day. Read on for more detail about the BMW M140i in our interior, practicality and driving sections.