New BMW M135i Coming To Fight Audi S3

Spy Shots / 2 Comments

BMW looks almost ready to unleash its latest Audi rival.

Back in April, we received spy shots of the F40 BMW M135i wearing a quartet of exhaust tips, something typically reserved for the full-fat M models. We now know that BMW will be fitting four tips to M Performance cars and some sort of restyled, possibly squared tips to true M cars. Originally, we thought these tips meant an M140i model was coming to take on the Audi RS3, and according to our spy photographers who have sent us new images, such a thing may still be on the cards. Either way, the lesser sibling of the BMW 2 Series is getting a radical overhaul in the styling department.

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The pictured prototype was caught testing alongside a BMW XM development mule, but that's not our focus for now. What we're interested in is how this hot hatch will be evolving, and according to our sources, we could very well get a high-performance M140i to take on Mercedes-AMG's A45 and Audi's RS3 hatch. According to the rumor mill, this car could have close to 400 horsepower, which would certainly make its relation to the M240i more apparent.

Either way, the headlights will get a new, refined shape with a rounder, slimmer design. Fortunately, the kidney grilles don't appear to be swelling much, and the overall changes to the front end will be minor.

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At the back, we can see the customary roof spoiler and those large exhaust tips that are certain to be framed by a faux diffuser trim element. As for the taillights, it's difficult to see if anything is changing here as the test car has its pre-production lenses on, and the camouflage is proving highly effective in obscuring if these surround a newly shaped taillight design. Nevertheless, we expect new graphics at the very least, while lightly massaged bumpers front and rear will help set this model apart from the 2022 variant.

Inside, we can look forward to a fresh new cabin with iDrive 8 and the deletion of a traditional gear selector lever, with this to be replaced by a toggle-style switch. Should BMW bring it to the US to take on the S3 and possibly the RS3, or is the 2 Series all we need? Let us know your thoughts.

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