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[Motoring News]

The BMW 1 Series Coupe is reminiscent of Munich's idea for the original sports coupe - compact and infinitely chuckable.

And in the 135i Coupe, BMW seems to have stumbled across another formula. The 1 Series design has been somewhat problematic from the start. The original hatchback, which greatly resembles a high-top sneaker, was either loved or hated. When it arrived, the three-door hatchback looked marginally better, but as far as proportion goes, the 1 Series Coupe and the derivative 1 Series Convertible are easiest on the eye.

Of course, one cannot go as far as saying the car is beautiful although it looks a lot better in the metal than it does in pictures.

Granted, it still has that rather droopy front end, but the rear seems to have sprouted from a different machine altogether with its tight shoulder lines, beautifully sloped roofline with the signature Hofmeister Kink and elegantly crafted tail lamp clusters.

Under the bonnet

As the name implies, 135i makes use of the impressive twin-turbo three-litre straight six with direct fuel injection first seen in the 3 Series Coupe.

It's the first time forced induction has been used on a BMW sports coupe since the legendary 2002 Turbo from the 70s. Compared with its single turbocharger, the 135i's powerplant uses two smaller turbos to spool up quicker and practically eliminate turbo lag.

The engine develops 225 kW and a diesel-like peak torque delivery of 400 Nm from as low as 1 300 all the way to 5 000 r/min. It's tractable too, responding with a thrilled surge whenever the throttle is prodded, even when cruising in sixth gear.

An automatic gearbox is offered on 135i, but why anyone would opt for that is a mystery. The slick short-shifting six-speed manual is a delight and the heavier, more laboured clutch action really gives the 135i that little sports car feel.

And with the firepower in its arsenal, one would be justified in believing it’s a pucka sports car. 135i blazes from 0 - 100 km/h in a claimed 5.3 seconds and has a top end limited electronically to 250 km/h.

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