You’ve got to hand it to those wacky Germans - they thought it would be a great idea to strap a turbocharged six-cylinder into a car the size of a Corolla.
We give you - the 2017 BMW M140i.
Not just any six-cylinder engine by the way, the pride of BMW‘s engine department - the same (albeit continually improved) 3.0 litre unit that has powered some incredible cars over the years, particularly the legendary M3.
The engine gives you 250kW/500Nm to work with and while you might see some other small cars with sporty credentials getting close to that power output, it’s the torque that makes this car so sweet.
It just has some much low down grunt that where most other cars would require second gear, such as while making a left turn, the BMW just happily pulls away without complaint in third.
Remember, if running a smaller capacity at the same kind of outputs (especially power) it has to work a whole lot harder.
On the highway, to again illustrate the power/torque on tap, I often found myself questioning whether the transmission was in 6th, the willingness to move making me feel more like I was in 4th.
And of course all that grunt comes at low revs, that means it never feels out of breath.
We gave the two-door coupe, the M2, the Car of the Year Award last year, this vehicle, substantially cheaper and more practical, is just as good.
The BMW M140i’s real party trick though is how it has very different personalities - e.g. put it in ‘Eco’ mode and you’d think you were driving a different car.
So, sedate when needed, but more than enough fun if you’re in the mood - for about $60,000 it’s hard not to call this car good value.
Yes, the low profile tyres and BMW suspension can be a little firm, though the trade off in the handling and overall feel is worth it.
You might say that the rear seat is a bit flat and the rear legroom isn’t huge, fair points.
The BMW 1 Series can also be a little hard to get into - the door openings aren’t particularly big and the dashboard/steering wheel tend to encroach, so getting in and out takes a little care and attention.
Cabin storage areas are pretty decently sized, the M140i benefiting from a larger centre console bin thanks to there not being (in the car I drove at least) the BMW phone charging cradle thingy.
Visibility is pretty good, the A pillars are nowhere near as chunky as the larger 3 Series.
Boot space, also, pretty well sized.
So it is a quite easy and fuss free car to live with, there isn’t much even the toughest judge could find to knock points off this car.
Oh, and did I mention the 500Nm?
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 BMW M140i
- Engine: 3.0 litre six-cylinder producing 250kW/500Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed auto
- Safety: Not tested
- Warranty: Three years
- Origin: Germany
- Price: from $59,990