Presented in conjunction with the wide-ranging M Performance rollout in Geneva, the BMW M135i Concept offers a high-profile first look at the second-generation three-door version of the automaker's entry-level 1 Series. The M135i Concept is the first Euro-spec variant to be fitted with a straight-six gasoline engine. In this case, BMW's 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo motivator makes "more than 300 horsepower," in this one-off, giving it an undisclosed output edge over the turbocharged version used in the 1 Series Coupe and Convertible models currently sold in the U.S.
Visually, the new three-door 1 Series has a sportier, more athletic profile than its Gen II five-door counterpart that's already on sale in certain other world markets. Longer, frameless doors, a revised greenhouse and prominent side-body contouring that includes boldly flared rear fenders adds a new sense of dynamic character to this latest 1 Series hatch package.
In M135i Concept form, that curbside snap is further elevated by a host of M Performance elements that bring a more aggressive edge to the fascia treatments and side view. Up front, highlights include LED headlamps, an edgier air dam and larger air intakes while Ferric Grey mirror caps, window surrounds done in BMW Individual High Gloss Shadow Line and custom rocker sills add interest to the car's already more rakish profile. The recast rear of the M135i Concept features a unique lower apron with a Dark Shadow Metallic diffuser that incorporates a pair of dark chrome exhaust outlets while a set of 18-inch M Performance light-alloy wheels complete the look.
To ensure a proper dynamic character, the M135i Concept has been treated to a full M Performance suspension upgrade that also includes a lower ride height and wider track dimensions plus upsized front/rear disc brakes. Market preferences being what they are, there's not much chance we'll ever see any three-door version of the BMW 1 Series in America. More likely the next move here will be to replace the current 240-horsepower/3.0-liter six-cylinder engine in our 128i Coupe and Sedan models with the same 240-horse/2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four introduced in the new 2012 BMW 328i Sedan.