Why you shouldn’t overlook the LCI M135i
When BMW released the images and details of the new xDrive M135i earlier in 2019 many die hard fans were horrified by the German companies decision to replace the incredibly well reviewed M135i & M140i with a front wheel drive biased xDrive and four cylinder B48 engine. Starting at well over £35,000 for relatively well specced model you could save yourself a fair amount of money by simply purchasing a better but albeit slightly older car.
Now, I know what you are thinking.. ”Why are you overlooking the M140i as the car to buy? Its newer and more capable for tuning” Well, i think the bigger bargain lies with the LCI (facelift 2015 & 2016) M135i models because not only do they have an even greater sounding howl from the six cylinder N55 engine (that powers the original M2 by the way) but they are also an incredible bargain considering they share the same styling of the M140i for thousands less. They also have one less resonator in the exhaust, an engine that loves to go to the top of its rev range and have done most of their depreciation. Yes you can have the older car (2013-2015) but in my opinion it is really starting to look outdated now.
You are realistically looking at a price of £15,000 - £18,000 depending on year of manufacture, options, milleage and condition which is less than half the price of the new M135i. Key options are proffessional navigation, heated seats and adaptive suspension, although i recommend you drive the latter along with a car that uses passive suspension as the adaptive to me never feels settled in any mode. Can i also just take this opportunity to mention that you can pick up a manual gearbox car unlike the later M140i’s and new xDrive M135i and It’ll cost you less, too.
Reliability is strong and you can always call upon BMW’s Insured Warranty should you seek that extra peice of mind. Common faults are steering rack knocks and gearbox whines although the former can be repaired cheaply away from BMW and the latter affects lots of cars but doesn’t really cause any issues - Just check the car before you buy it and if its excessive then walk away.
While many would call this generation of 1 series a little bland (i’d agree with you) with a few modificiations you can really get the car looking to your taste. Options on my car include the M Performance carbon fibre interior trim, M Performance exhaust with carbon fibre exhaust tips and a set of Sparco Assetto Gara 18” alloy wheels. A few improvements and you certainly will be glad you aren’t driving in the new M135i that could be a Ford Focus, Kia and Hyundai lovechild.
The ultimate test is to go drive the ’old‘ M135i followed by the new one and i’m certain that you will have a smile on your face when you get behind the wheel of the slightly older car. Look past the slightly aging but very functional and comfortable interior and you’ll have one of the biggest driving bargains in recent years.