BMW has announced several chassis updates for its Volkswagen Golf R and Audi S3 rival which it says turns both the performance and responsiveness of the M135i xDrive hot hatch “up a notch”.
The brand claims the individual changes amount to “controllable driving characteristics”, with owners now able to “explore the car’s performance limits with confidence – especially when cornering”.
At the heart of this transformation are springs and dampers that have been recalibrated to dial out lean and body roll through bends. These work in tandem with beefed up camber valves that better absorb shocks and compressions caused by surface changes.
The mounts for the trailing and control arms at the rear have also been fettled, and the front axle now incorporates a ‘hydromount’ – a component that attaches the front suspension wishbones to increase high-speed stability.
The mechanical tweaks come less than three years after those working at BMW’s M Division signed off on the car, which uses the same 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol as before for a 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds.
The turbocharged unit is carried over unchanged and continues to deliver just north of 300bhp and 332lb ft of torque. Power is sent to all four corners via an 8-speed automatic transmission, with grip levels increased by the car’s front mounted mechanical limited-slip differential.
Also new is the artificial engine noise that is pumped into the cabin via the speakers. To make this as true to the real thing as possible, the sound changes according to driver behaviour to add “another facet to the rich acoustic experience inside the car”.
The high-quality cabin retains its sports seart, 10.3-inch digital instrument binnacle and identical-sized iDrive infotainment system on top of part-Alcantara sport seats, M-branded steering wheel and pedals.
As standard, the M135i xDrive leaves the factory on 18-inch alloys, although customers have the choice of lightweight 19-inch rims that are offered in a variety of designs.
BMW is also introducing new paint colours to “accompany the performance enhancements and underscore the individual character” of the car. Exclusive to the M135i xDrive, these consist of ‘Sao Paulo Yellow’, ‘Frozen Orange’ and ‘Frozen Pure Grey’ finishes.