First launched as a five-door hatch and later as a three-door the coupe is the third, but not final, variant in BMW's 1-Series line-up. The addition of a three-litre twin-turbo unit to the rear-drive layout means the 135i is able to compete not only with sporty hot-hatches, but also with out-and-out sports coupes, in terms of looks and performance.
It would be easy to dismiss the 1-Series Coupe as simply a remoulded version of BMW's three-door hatchback model, but that's actually far from the case. Although it uses the same platform BMW has lengthened the body slightly, freeing up more space inside, and introduced a new diesel and petrol engine to the line-up. The three-litre engine in the 135i is the first twin-turbocharged unit to be fitted to a car in the compact segment.
BMW has history when it comes to building potent, compact four-seaters. The 2002 model immediately springs to mind - making way for the 3-Series that has remained extremely popular during the last two decades. There was certainly room in the BMW line-up for a more compact model however, and the 1-Series hatchback slotted into the gap neatly, acting as a premium rival to established family hatchbacks with a hot version - the 130i M Sport - ready to take on performance all-comers.
The 135i M Sport Coupe takes things a step further. BMW believes the model has the potential not only to steal customers away from the family hatch opposition and even claim the odd 3-Series scalp, but also to play rival to established and distinguished sports coupes. The 135i is key to this belief, and looking at the stats it's not hard to see why the manufacturer expects the 300bhp-plus model to make buyers who traditionally opt for a two-seater or two-plus-two think twice.
There is ample room in the back for golf clubs or shopping bags, the rear seats will take adults on short journeys and accommodate kids or young adults with ease and there's certainly no compromise in the comfort stakes for front passenger and driver. All the usual BMW luxuries are included and, as the range-topper, the 135i gets meaty, performance styling as well.
Our verdict on the BMW 1-Series Coupe 135i M Sport
The 135i has the styling, performance and handling to be more than a match for the opposition's two-seater coupes or two-plus-twos but with useable rear seats and a decent boot it also boasts practicality not far off that of a hatchback or small saloon. It's a neatly styled and highly competent middle ground and a trade-off owners will be far from ashamed to have on the driveway.