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BMW m140i: An Endearing RWD Hot-Hatch

BMW m140i on road in orange colour

In the hot hatch market of today, you have several possibilities for about forty to fifty thousand dollars. Most are built around turbocharged four-cylinder engines and utilize sophisticated AWD systems or challenging front suspensions to distribute the power, but BMW provides something a little different.

BMW m140i from the back in blue colour

The premium 1-series hatchback already defies the class norm by having rear-wheel drive, but the M140i from BMW's M Performance brand adds the time-honored 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six to the mix.

A little improvement over the M135i, the terminology might have changed, but that also brought a 14bhp increase and several other minutes under-the-hood adjustments that smoothed the edges of the preceding vehicle.

Although the M140i isn't quite a full-fledged M model like the latest BMW M2 Competition, it does have modifications to help set it apart from its diesel competitors.

A Throwback to the BMW m140i Transition

BMW E8x in white
  • Before 2011, the predecessor of the BMW m140 series was the famous E8x.

  • This generation was produced from 2004 to 2011.

  • It had replaced the 3 series compact.

  • Similar to the F20 and F21 shapes for the one series, this predecessor also had the 3-door and 5-door options.

Five door hatchback in red by BMW
  • The first model of the one series F20/F21 BMW series was the five-door hatchback.

  • It made its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

  • This was the start for the m140i legacy.

BMW m135i in orange colour
  • The F21 model, which was the 3-door version, was launched in 2012. The car was a BMW m135i with a six-cylinder inline engine.

  • The 2015 facelift included revised bumpers and taillights, and it also had LEDs. The Lights had directional headlight technology.

  • The m135i had the famous B58 engine by BMW in 2015, the first facelift for the One series.

BMW m140i badge close up
  • The m140i replaced the m135i from the year 2016.

Trims and Specifications for m140i

The BMW m140i had various trim levels. The handling and technology of the versions changed just a bit. There are four trim levels for the BMW M140i: SE, Sport, M Sport, and M Sport Shadow Edition. Additionally, the M140i is offered in two alternative hatchback configurations: a 5-door hatchback (F20) and a 3-door hatchback (F21).

BMW m140i trim and specs table

The Specs for m140i

The petrol engine offered is:

  • 3.0 L N55/B58 I6

The two transmissions offered are:

  • 6-speed manual

  • 8-speed ZF 8HP automatic

The BMW 1 Series is the only vehicle in its class with rear-wheel drive, making it more enjoyable to drive dynamically. With this performance variant, the M140i, this is further intensified further.

The vehicle's turbocharged straight-six engine produces an astounding 340 horsepower and 450 Nm of peak torque, enabling a 0-62 mph speed of under 4.6 seconds.

Running expenses are not as severe as you may assume, as it can return up to 40mpg if you're careful, despite the lively handling and rapid performance.

Some inside news leaked from BMW said the manual gearbox would no longer be available to enjoy in the upcoming m140i models. The 6-speed manual for the clutch-lovers will be greatly missed.

Performance of BMW m140i

0-60 figures for m140i

BMW m140i in blue colour on a road going fast

Even though this car lacks focus on the impressive performance BMW offers with its M badge. The manual trim has a figure of 4.8 seconds from 0 to 60 miles per hour. This is all due to the plenty of torque it has packed up and how it makes you rev up to seven thousand rpm unstressed.

With the introduction of technological advancements by BMW, the automatic trim drops the same 0 to 60 times down to 4.6 seconds. With its short gears and sharp shifts, the ZF transmission, the BMW m140i is far off on the charts from its counterparts, the Mercedes AMG 45 and the Audi RS3.

BMW m140i in rain on a wet road

When the conditions are wet, the price rivals like the Golf R and the Audi RS3 will leave this BMW m140i for dead with their all-wheel drive option. Let’s not worry about that; it won’t rain every day.

Engine and Transmission for BMW m140i

BMW m140i engine

The first look might not be appealing for the M140i with its same 3-litre straight six engine, the same as the m135i. The capacity, although, has increased from 2979cc to 2998cc. It all comes to horsepower figures where the M140i has the upper hand with 14 horsepower more, making the total 335 brake horsepower.

This new engine sits happily at 7000 horsepower and loses no power, even in the red lines. It’s sad that you can only hear the six-cylinder roar properly from the outside.

Inline-six three litre engine by BMW

The basic gearbox for the BMW m140i is a six-speed manual. It perfectly complements the new engine's tremendous torque output, which results in outstanding acceleration even in higher ratios.

The eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission from the ZF gearbox brings drama to this car. With zero faults, it has quick effects and the most direct gear changes.

How does the m140i handle?

BMW m140i in black colour on a road at country side

The M140i rides incredibly smoothly and maintains fair control when the Comfort driving option is chosen. Although there is some body roll, it is slight and natural, and the car handles sloping roads at a reasonable speed with little drama at all. Sport and Sport+ don't significantly alter the BMW's attitude, but every move you make has a greater impact on the vehicle. The most pronounced feeling occurs when the automobile is coming out of a corner when applying the throttle, which truly excites the rear wheel and aids in turning the vehicle.

BMW m140i drifting

If you’re on for some fun, you can turn off the traction control all the way. The three hundred and thirty-five horses will show you how this car was meant to be driven. If, in case, the grip is lost, the amount of power and torque this car has easily corrects that.

The m140i as a standard trim does not come with a limited-slip differential, which can be purchased as an option for $3000. Therefore, recovering traction can be touch-heated even if the chassis tries to keep any resultant slide predictable due to the absence of an LSD.

Interior and tech for the BMW m140i

BMW m140i interior

Like all BMWs, the interior of the M140i is built on a strong basis of superb artistry and aesthetics. Except for trim changes and infotainment system improvements, the current version that debuted in 2011 didn't have the most spectacular appearance.

The M Performance model's standard equipment is robust with sports seating and a sport steering column elevating the interior atmosphere above regular versions.

The seats in front have ample space. The seats at the back have a slight disadvantage as its rivals are a little better in that area.

BMW m140i xDrive infotainment

The widely used i-drive system is intuitive and well-designed. Upgrade to the more "professional" i-drive system and one of the greatest user interfaces in the industry is complemented by the newest set of online services from BMW.

The Outlook of BMW m140i

BMW m140i front headlight close up

At the launch of the series, the one series had a substantially long bonnet and an odd front. With time comes betterment. With its mid-facelift, BMW paved the way for a change that looked aesthetically pleasing.

BMW m140i rear view mirror close up

The latest m140i has a more coherent look thanks to a reworked front end with new LED headlamps and a new rear end. Over the more conventional M Sport models, the M140i has distinctive aesthetic elements such as satin silver accents on the front bumper, mirror covers, and dark-finished 18-inch alloys.

What do the Famous Journalists say?

The BMW M140i’s six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel-drive layout make it a rather old-school hot hatch compared to some high-tech four-wheel-drive alternatives.”-Matt Watson(carwow)

Not that the M140i was lacking in that department anyway – as the smooth and great-sounding six provides a huge boost, whatever the revs”-AutoExpress

Features and attributes of BMW m140i


Thanks to the 1-series’ relative age, the car comes with various features like:

Emergency autonomous braking part of a Driving Assistant option for $478.

Electronic Stability Control

Lane assists optional.

Speed assist optional

Hill start assist.

Light sensors

Rain sensors

Driver alertness detection optional


The 5 powerful facts by BMW themselves

  1. Extremely powerful inline 6-cylinder engine

  2. M specific rear-wheel drive

  3. From 0-100 km/h in 4.4s with BMW xDrive

  4. M specific suspension tuning

  5. Refined design


Although full of adrenaline and sportiness, it has it's flaws.

The gear change in manual transmission isn’t the slickest of actions; it feels too rubbery, and the center armrest puts your arm at an awkward angle.

When launch in automatic transmission with gear changes can be a bit too abrupt, though; in the wet, the severe changes can cause the rear tires to lose traction.

The m140i does not come with LSD as standard.

Adaptive cruise control and automatic parking are not available even on the options list.


Considering the functionality of the BMW M140i, it is understandable why this vehicle is loveable. You can place your bets on this hatchback with a powerful engine and robust dynamics, making the M140i a winner. Whether it is daily driving or long trips, the BMW M140i is practical and safe, providing a good solution to your traveling needs.

As Jeremy Clarkson stated

“If you hate the BMW M140i, then you hate driving.”

BMW m140i in dark

In addition, it has a charming interior and premium materials, so you won't feel like compromising on quality. The car's exterior is rather manageable, and customization is easy, making it versatile. The major setback of the M140i is the cramped backseats, an issue of comfortability that cannot be compromised.

The M140i has a tone of competitors, which is wonderful for buyers. The Honda Civic Type R will appeal to fans of track days, while those looking for a superb engine and chassis combination will choose the BMW. The Ford Focus RS is a fantastic value mix of both. The M140i still stands out as one of the best vehicles available.


How much would a used M140i cost?

The average cost in the USA for a used is around forty four thousand dollars.

What are some standout features of the car?

The BMW M140i interior features comfortable seats, premium materials, and customizable options. It offers a driver-centric layout, intuitive controls, and ample cargo space for a hatchback.

Is this a good daily driver?

This car would be the best possible daily driver for a hatchback as it holds both the performance and the practicality of a normal car.

What is the top speed of BMW m140i?

The BMW M140i boasts an impressive top speed of 155 mph, making it suitable for those who enjoy spirited driving.

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