Fun and games (and everything else)

By Guilherme Marques

This is not a diesel runabout that will do everything well but leave you feeling cold – this is a serious car for serious drivers.

Just a really usable one.

When it was launched in the UK about a year ago, the BMW M135i cost from £29,990. British road testers then proceeded to say that, for the money, there was no other car in the market with such a wide range of abilities. Usually, these claims are either in relative or absolute terms, but in this case it was both. This was a special car, they said.

Although I had driven the M135i back in April, I chose not to write about it immediately because I wanted to carefully think about it, let the experience gently sink in, so I would not write something like ‘this is the best, most fun small family car in the world’ on the back of a fantastic drive through some twisty roads. That it was special though, I had absolutely no doubt.

Anyway, back to the M135i. I drove it for nearly 500km and there was not one area where it didn’t perform brilliantly. It was stupendously fast and one of the most rewarding everyday cars I have ever driven. Our car had the eight-speed gearbox, which suits its character to perfection, allowing for eye-blinking changes when I was going for it and being super smooth in traffic, enhancing the superior comfort of such a sporty machine. The car talks to you every step of the way and lets you know what it is doing. Every input counts, but the margin of error is so big you can even learn about your own driving talents, try a bit harder at every turn, push a bit longer at every straight.

I guess it has sunk in now. The thing is I feel exactly the same. I am sorry the M135i costs so much more here than in Britain, but the truth of the matter remains the same: there is no other car for the money offering such capabilities. 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, a top speed of 250 km/h, 7.5l/100km, comfort, quality, image and pure driving pleasure. Buy it in Estoril Blue II and it even looks good(ish). If you have around €57,000 to spend on one car, the BMW M135i is definitely it. And before I forget: this is the best, most fun small family car in the world.