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Auto Show:  2012 Geneva Auto Show

BMW M135i Concept Preview: Geneva Auto Show

author photo by Nick Palermo February 2012
  • M Performance line adds upgrades milder than full-blown M versions
  • M135i gets 300 horsepower and a host of performance mods
  • Athletic styling matches improved handling and agility

BMW will reveal a sporty concept based on its European 3-door 1 Series at the Geneva Auto Show next week. The M135i packs more power with its turbocharged inline-six engine, while chassis upgrades improve dynamics. Styling is sportier too, with revised front and rear fascias, dark trim and 18-inch light alloy wheels. The M135i is the first gasoline concept included in the new M Performance lineup.

BMW is set to unveil the rest of the M Performance line at Geneva, too. With a powerful six-cylinder diesel motor available on X3, X5 and 5 Series vehicles, M Performance offers engine and chassis upgrades and sportier equipment, but not the race-ready bits reserved for full M versions. The aim with the M Performance treatment is to create a balance of outstanding dynamics and everyday usability.

To that end, the M135i concept gets a gasoline motor good for "more than 300 horsepower" and upgraded M sport brakes to handle the speed. BMW says suspension tweaks for the M Performance 1-Series concept result in "noticeably increased agility," although details are scant on the exact nature of any revisions. Like the standard 1-Series, the concept is rear-wheel drive, unique in the performance hatchback segment.

The M135i looks the part thanks to styling upgrades all around. The M-inspired front apron has large intakes to ventilate the motor, accessories and brakes. The bespoke rear end treatment emphasizes the car's width and includes a Dark Shadow metallic finish on the lower section. The dual tailpipes are trimmed in dark chrome, and dark side mirror covers and window surrounds complement the muted brightwork. Wheels are 18-inch light alloy with an M-style double-spoke design and are surrounded by flared fenders for a planted stance.

While the M135i is now just a concept, a 1-Series with the M Performance package may eventually arrive on our shores. Only the X6 SUV will likely offer an M Performance upgrade in the US for now. The diesel-powered X3 and X5 SUVs and 5-Series sedan in M Performance guise launch in Europe later this year. When it does arrive on more US-market BMWs, the package will give buyers a milder - yet still truly sporty - upgrade from the standard model offerings.

What it means to you: Just a concept for now, the M135i brings more than 300 horsepower to the 3-door 1-Series with the help of BMW's new M Performance package.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
BMW M135i Concept Preview: Geneva Auto Show - Autotrader