BMW Malaysia flew a few of us motoring media representatives across the globe not too long ago to be part of the BMW M Festival 2019 in South Africa and part of the itinerary involved sampling the new F40 BMW M135i xDrive.
The test route planned for us was a 50 km round trip from the Kyalami Circuit to the Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site in the northwestern region of Johannesburg – with plenty of straight roads to unleash all the performance from the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder under its bonnet.
The B48 mill in the M135i xDrive (and the M235i xDrive Gran Coupe) matches the M260 engine in the Mercedes-AMG A 35 in terms of power – 306 hp, but with 450 Nm of torque, the Bimmer edges the Mercedes-Benz by 50 Nm.
There’s no denying the potency of the M135i’s acceleration, credit to the traction from its all-wheel drive system. Its 8-speed automatic transmission was quick to shift and smooth between the gears – sending power (mostly) to the front wheels. First impressions of the M135i xDrive were positive and I reckon it’ll give the AMG A35 we tested in Melaka in December last year a run for its money.