Latest Business Car Manager News: BMW M135i - 316bhp wolf in sheep's clothing

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The new BMW M135i is even more powerful than it looks on the surface. Business Car Manager has a new review released on the new model, details follow.

Blink and it's gone - Porsche-like performance for around £30k. We think business car drivers will love it

BMW M135i M Performance 3dr auto

It’s a 1 Series wearing BMW’s famed ‘M’ badge, but it’s not quite a full-blown ‘M’ car. It’s called the M135i and it’s powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine that develops a stonking 316bhp – that’s in a rear-wheel drive hatchback the same size as a Golf!

Users can go for the excellent eight-speed automatic and they've got a car that can accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. With a price-tag of £31,545 this surely has to be one of the fastest accelerating business cars on sale at around the £30k mark. (The manual costs £29,995.)

Also available as a five-door hatch too.

What’s hot?

•Subtle ‘M’ badges, some larger alloy wheels and an understated bodykit all help the M135i fly under the radar – it’s perfect for turning up at a business meeting. No one will suspect this business car could give a Porsche 911 a run for its money.

•Drivers won’t doubt that from behind the wheel, though. In-gear acceleration feels supercar-quick, and while it may struggle with traction away from the line the M135i still feels brutally fast.

•The engine sounds fantastic, too. There’s a growl from the exhausts when they're accelerating, interrupted – only briefly – by the ultra-quick shifting auto. A six-speed manual comes as standard, though.

•Quicker steering, firmer suspension and uprated brakes make this car a great all-round package. The wheels seem to have reacted before the driver even turns the steering wheel and there’s next-to-no body roll in the bends.

•There aren’t many business cars this fast that can fit five adults and carry 360 litres worth of luggage, but that’s exactly what the M135i is capable of.

•Despite all of its performance the M135i is very easy to live with. It’s refined on the motorway and if the driver sticks it in ‘Comfort’ mode the suspension is actually surprisingly supple. So long-distance business meetings aren’t a chore.

What’s not?

•The fuel economy and CO2 emissions are high (although actually pretty good compared with models boasting this kind of performance). The good news is that the relatively low P11D value means standard rate taxpayers will only pay £1,623 a year in company car tax.

•Drivers might get through some of their consumables quicker than they would in any other car. The tyres, for example, will need changing a little more regularly.

•The danger this car represents to ones driving licence…

Business Car Manager road test verdict

If this review seems a bit heavy on ‘what’s hot?’ and a bit short on ‘what’s not?’ that’s simply because the BMW M135i doesn’t do that much wrong.

This kind of performance simply isn’t available at this price. The major benefit of that is a low P11D value relative to its performance that helps to drastically cut the amount of business car tax one would have to pay – as little as £135 a month.

For a small business owner, they might want to run it privately and then reimburse their business mileage using AMAP rates – but at £443 a month for a personal contract hire lease that’s not exorbitant either: a more sober BMW 520d EfficientDynamics would cost them £40 a month more.

It’s not as though the M135i can be marked down in the corners, either. It feels incredible agile and intuitive to drive but more than that, it’s a huge amount of fun too

Drivers won’t have to worry about seeming too ‘flash’ either. The understated design of the M135i cuts a very different image compared with turning up somewhere in a Porsche.

In short, the M135i is one of the most versatile – and fun– performance cars one can buy, and it even makes a fair amount of sense as a business car.

BMW M135i M Performance 3dr auto – the low down

P11D Value £31,215
Monthly business rental (ex VAT) From £369 a month (3yrs/30,000 miles)
Company car tax bands 2012/13 to 2014/15 26%, 27%, 28%
BIK tax £8,116, £8,428, £8,740
Engine 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder
CO2    175g/km
Power/torque 316bhp/ 450Nm
0-62mph    4.9 seconds
Economy    37.7mpg

Business Car Manager has extensive information on company car tax allowance and business car leasing.

There is also information on business mileage.

For more information, visit Business Car Manager at

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Conrad Swailes
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