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Here’s the Newest BMW Hot Hatch They Won’t Sell Here

"No, we don't want a 300-hp hot hatch made by BMW." - Americans, apparently.

The fourth-gen BMW 1 Series has been revealed and just like the 1er hatch it replaces, it’s not coming to the U.S. Which is a shame because I think it’s one of the better-looking new Bimmers in recent memory. Reasonable grille, a handsome rear end, and a form factor that’s attractively of the people.

In M135 xDrive form, it’s basically a BMW hot hatch—in that one, a 300-horsepower turbo-four sends power to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch, getting from zero to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds. (For reference, the 312-hp X1 M35i crossover that is sold Stateside hits 60 mph in 5.2.) Quad exhaust tips, 19-inch wheels, and a red stripe atop the steering wheel mark it out as the athletic 1 Series.

Meanwhile, the base 120 uses a 170-hp three-cylinder and hits 62 mph in 7.8 seconds whereas the four-cylinder 120d diesel makes 163 hp and gets to 62 mph in 7.9. All engines now get 48-volt mild hybrid tech as standard.

Upping its hot hatch cred, BMW says it’s made this car more rigid via anti-roll bar mounts that are “highly preloaded” and new shock absorber tech. Front-wheel caster is increased by 20% for the benefit of stability and feedback.


One interesting design quirk I’d like to draw your attention to is the kidney grille which features vertical and diagonal bars inside on standard models. The M135 gets horizontal bars.

In any case, Americans apparently do not like cars like this—or, at least, don’t like ’em enough to make them financially viable for the companies that make them. However, BMW has changed course on this sort of thing before, announcing in April it would finally bring the M5 Touring here after a three-decade geo-block, presumably after seeing the success of the Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E63 Wagon.

With the number of high-ish dollar sport compacts on the market at a bit of a high, I think there’s a case to be made for a U.S.-bound M135.

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