Behind the Wheel | BMW’s hottest hatchback, the M140i

If you like your hot hatches to have a bit of clout, then the BMW M140i will be right up your street. While rivals come powered by weedy 2.0-litre engines and scamper away at the road surface through their front wheels, the M140i counters with a whacking 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive.

Photography; 2017 BMW M140i Shadow Edition by BMW


That combination makes it a bit of a unicorn in the hot hatch segment, but also a future classic as there will never be another car like it. And that’s a shame, because, quite frankly, it’s excellent.

Press the starter button and the six-cylinder engine barks into life, with a deep, raspy exhaust note you just don’t get in other circa £32,000 hatchbacks. The engine is still turbocharged and develops 335bhp, which is enough to fire you from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds.


Sure, you can go just as fast for less cash in the Ford Focus RS, but the BMW is about more than just raw pace. The thick rimmed steering wheel, the precise manual gearbox and beautifully balanced chassis makes it a hugely rewarding car to drive.

Plant your right foot and the engine spins round to 7,000rpm, with smooth, effortless power delivery. The front end responds precisely to your inputs, while the rear-wheel drive chassis lets you dance the car out of corners.


Adaptive dampers, which offer three different driving modes, can transform the M140i from a tyre smoking lunatic into a soft, comfortable cruiser. Comfort mode puts the suspension into its softest setting enabling you to cover huge distances with ease – try that in the Focus RS or Civic Type R and you’ll be needing a trip to the chiropractors.

The BMW M140i may be one of the oldies in the hot hatch market, but it still has what it takes to cut it.


The M140i, from £32,000, by BMW

Jonathan Burn

Jonathan Burn is a world renowned automotive journalist, and Ape's resident car expert with a deep appreciation for anything that drives fast.